Drone strike on Pakistani soil detrimental to relations with US: Army chief

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Army chief General Raheel Sharif on Wednesday warned the recent US drone strike targeting late Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was detrimental to bilateral relations between the two countries.

The army chief’s reaction came during a meeting with the Ambassador of US David Hale at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, a statement issued by Inter Services Public relations (ISPR) said.

The statement said the situation arising after the US drone strike in Balochistan on May 22 came under discussion.

While expressing serious concerns over the drone strike, COAS said such acts of sovereignty violations are detrimental to relations between both countries and are counter-productive for ongoing peace process for regional stability.

“Pakistan’s efforts, successes and sacrifices in fight against terrorism have been unparalleled,” General Raheel added.

President Barack Obama on Monday confirmed Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a US air strike, hailing his death as an “important milestone” in efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Saturday’s bombing raid, the first known American assault on a top Afghan Taliban leader on Pakistani soil, marked a major blow to the militant movement, which saw a new resurgence under Mansour.

Soon after Obama’s statement, Pakistan summoned the US ambassador to express concern over the drone strike inside its territory, which reportedly killed Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor.

Ambassador David Hale was called in by the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi wherein the latter pointed out that the drone strike was a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, according to a Foreign Office statement.

The attack is also a breach of the United Nation’s Charter that guarantees the inviolability of the territorial integrity of its member states, he added.

Fatemi emphasised such actions could adversely impact the ongoing efforts by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) for facilitating peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban.

 

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