Noushki drone attack case registered against US officials

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QUETTA: Pakistani officials on Sunday registered a case against American officials for the US drone strike that killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Noushki area of Balochistan earlier this month.

The FIR, however, does not mention any US officials by name.

The FIR, a copy of which is available with Geo News, was lodged at the Levies police station in Mal Noshki area of Balochistan, some 30 kilometers from the site of the drone attack, on behalf of Mohammad Qasim, a brother of driver Mohammad Azam who was allegedly bringing the militant commander in his taxi from Iran to Pakistan.

Driver Mohammad Azam also perished in the missile attack.

The complainant has sought legal action against US officials, who he said claimed responsibility for the attack through the media.

The FIR has been lodged on different counts including murder, terrorism and laws that deal with explosives.

Muhammad Qasim complained that he was informed on May 21 at 3:00 pm that the vehicle was blown up in an explosion that killed his brother and passenger Wali Muhammad, a false identity assumed by Mansour.

The May 21 strike targeting Mansour was perhaps the most high-profile US incursion into Pakistan since the 2011 raid to kill Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, sparking a protest by Islamabad that its sovereignty had been violated.

On Wednesday, the Afghan Taliban confirmed Mansour’s death in the US drone strike, and named one of the slain Taliban leader’s deputies to succeed him as chief of the militant group.

A statement said that Maulvi Hibatullah Akhundzada was unanimously voted by the Taliban leadership.to be appointed as the successor of Mullah Mansour.

“Hibatullah Akhundzada has been appointed as the new leader of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) after a unanimous agreement in the shura (supreme council), and all the members of the shura pledged allegiance to him,” the Taliban said in the statement.

Akhunzada, believed to be around 60 years of age and a member of the powerful Noorzai tribe, was a close aide to the Taliban’s founding leader Mullah Omar and is from Kandahar, in the south of Afghanistan and the heartland of the militant movement.

The statement added that Sirajuddin Haqqani and Mullah Omar’s son Mullah Yaqoob have been appointed deputy supreme leaders of the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan officially confirmed Mansour’s killing on Thursday.

“According to the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mansour was traveling under a fake identity,” said Sartaj Aziz, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs.

“It has been confirmed that it was Mullah Mansour who was killed in the drone strike. We are still waiting for DNA test results of the body, and the body will not be given to anyone until the DNA results are received.”

Pakistan said that Mansour’s killing had proven to be a setback for talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, and for peace in the region as a whole. “Drone strikes have added to the complexity of the Afghan conflict,” said.

Aziz said that Pakistan had protested over the attack to the US, and that it was also raising the issue in the United Nations. “Drone attacks are an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty,” he said.

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