Afghan acting Minister of Defence alleges that American drones use Pakistan airspace to fly in
Is Pakistan letting US drones to fly into Afghan airspace? The Afghanistan administration suspects this has been happening. Going by an allegation voiced by the Taliban’s acting defence minister, neighbouring Pakistan has allowed American drones to make use of the nation’s airspace so as to fly into Afghanistan.
A serious charge levelled against Pakistan, indeed. But Pakistani officials have rubbished the Taliban’s statement. Pakistan had denied such a charge, post the US air strike in Kabul recently.
However, according to Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the acting Minister of Defence in the current Taliban regime in Afghanistan, American drones have indeed been entering Afghanistan, and they have taken the Pakistan route to fly in.
Stop letting US to use Pak airspace, says Taliban
Asking Pakistan to stop using its airspace against Afghanistan, the acting Minister of Defence said that the Taliban government has received information that the US drones are entering through Pakistan to Afghanistan, and that they are making use of Pakistan’s airspace to do that.
Dismissing Yaqoob’s charge as “conjectural allegations”, the Pakistan foreign ministry said that the Taliban statement is “highly regrettable. The foreign ministry has been quoted as saying that “…such conjectural allegations are highly regrettable and defy the norms of responsible diplomatic conduct” and that there has been no evidence of such an act. It went on to add that Pakistan has always reaffirmed its belief in the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, and also pointed out that it “condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”
Drone strike had killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri
It needs to be remembered here that after a drone strike by the United States in Kabul which led to the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, fingers were pointed at Pakistan for its involvement. Then too Pakistan had clarified that it wasn’t involved at all, nor did it have any advanced knowledge of such a strike. The United States had carried out the drone strike in Kabul deploying a couple of missiles.
However, the Taliban firmly believes that Pakistan has been permitting the US to use its airspace to carry out drone attacks on Afghan terrain. These allegations could blow over forcing Pakistan on the back foot. Fears of tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan has grown manifold, at a time when Taliban is mediating talks between the Pakistan government and the Pakistan Taliban. The tensions between the two will also hit the economic horizon in Afghanistan as it largely depends on Pakistan in matters of trade.