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EditorialMystery shrouding drone strike controversy

Mystery shrouding drone strike controversy

The fact remains hidden behind a shroud of mystery that which country had provided airspace to the US drone strike in Kabul targeting al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was allegedly killed in the attack in July. The controversy became fresh after Afghan Taliban’s Acting Minister of Defense Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob has accused Pakistan of providing airspace for the particular strike.  However, Pakistan’s foreign office has vehemently denied the charge and termed it conjectural allegations in the absence of any solid evidence.

The blame game is going on while the US is playing the role of a silent observer after putting the two neighbouring countries into a new conflict. The more worrisome fact is that drones have been seen hovering over Kabul quite lately as claimed by the Afghan Taliban leader. The use of drones by the US has been protested not only by Afghanistan but Pakistan also. Still Washington is using its technological might while making an assertion that it has the right to protect its state from any possible threat at any cost. But the price for this adventurism is being paid by the masses of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The consequences of this sort of warfare have neither brought any good in the past nor would it act as deterrence in the future. So it is in the interest of the US to quit this policy of putting regional peace in danger.

Besides it is not clear that which state has been facilitating these drone operations. Afghan Taliban are still ill-equipped to protect their border against any aerial threat while their intelligence also lacks resources to find facilitators of drone strikes. Given the past experiences, they are relying on the perception that all such strikes originate from Pakistan. Islamabad on the other hand has repeatedly denied the charge but failed to further clarify the situation. How can be it possible that Pakistan is totally ignorant about the facilitator of drone strike in Afghanistan if it has not allowed the US to use its airspace. It is an established face that no drone can directly fly from the US to hit its target in Afghanistan without a short stay or ground support. Speculations arise that either such operations are being carried out with the help of a central Asian state most probably Tajikistan or Pakistan. The mystery will end if Pakistan or the US discloses the facilitator state of recent drone strikes. Alternatively, Pakistan is an easy target for receiving flack from the Afghani Taliban and the media. Already relations are becoming tense between both neighbouring countries due to a surge in attacks by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who mostly come from across the border. Despite Afghan Taliban’s reliance on Pakistan in terms of refugees, trade and economic stability, a trust deficit does exist due to Pakistan’s alleged covert support to the US. Islamabad needs to do away with its dual policies which have caused a considerable loss in the past. In order to bridge the widening trust deficit both neighbouring countries need to boost intelligence sharing not only to combat cross-border terrorism but also bring to an end to the new controversy of US drones using Pakistan’s airspace.

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