ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has categorically rejected reports that its airspace had been used for a US drone strike in Kabul that killed al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The United States killed Zawahiri with a missile fired from a drone while he stood on a balcony at his Kabul hideout on Sunday, US officials said, in the biggest blow to the militants since US Navy SEALS shot dead Osama bin Laden more than a decade ago.
“I would refer you to the statement that we have issued (earlier) on this incident, and that is our stated position. There is no evidence of this action having been undertaken using Pakistan’s airspace, so this is something that I can add to that,” the spokesperson said at the Foreign Office during the weekly media briefing.
In its earlier statement on August 2, the spokesman issued a vague statement on the US drone strike, saying that Pakistan stands by countering terrorism in accordance with international law and relevant UN resolutions.
There was no mention of al-Zahawiri and he had made no mention of Pakistan’s airspace not being used.
“As I said, our statement contains what we had to say. Our (earlier) statement needs to be mentioned in its totality. We said that Pakistan stands by countering terrorism in accordance with international law and relevant UN resolutions. So that’s a very clear statement,” the spokesperson added.
While referring to various UN resolutions on countering terrorism, he pointed out that there are various international obligations under these resolutions.
“Regarding al-Qaeda, I think it is clear that it is a terrorist entity, which is listed under the UN Security Council sanctions regime and states are under obligation to take actions that are prescribed by the UN Security Council.”
“As you know, Pakistan has in the past, taken resolute actions and supported the efforts of the international community in fighting terrorism and particularly, you know, some of the notable success against al-Qaeda was possible because of Pakistan’s role and contribution,” he said.
The first rejection of Pakistan’s airspace having been used came from the Minister of Interior Rana Sanullah on Wednesday.
The Taliban have said the government had no information about al-Qaeda leader “entering and living” in the capital city Kabul and warned the United States to never repeat an attack on Afghan soil.
“The government and the leadership wasn’t aware of what is being claimed, nor any trace there,” Suhail Shaheen, the designated Taliban representative to the United Nations, who is based in Doha, said in a statement.
“Investigation is underway now to find out about the veracity of the claim,” he said, adding that the results of the investigation would be shared publicly.