[pjw] NEWS: Pakistan says US drone strike aimed at Taliban leader illegal (Reuters 5/24)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Thu May 26 16:55:35 EDT 2016

Oh how I miss the old days when someone had to actually commit a crime 
before they could be arrested, tried and jailed. But I guess I still have 
that pre-9/11 mentality. Now the US just has to believe that a person 
was posing an imminent threat and they can assassinate them. Mind you, 
this does not even rise to the same kind of imminent threat that police 
officers use to justify shootings, when a person might be standing there 
in front of them with a weapon in hand. Just words, likely intercepted by 
drones or spies or internet snooping, if they existed at all.

The US used a drone strike on Saturday to (possibly) kill the head of the 
Afghan Taliban, based on this flimsy excuse. It's more likely they are 
trying to force the Taliban to the negotiating table. I'm not sure that 
killing anyone who refuses to negotiate is the best motivator for that 
person's successors to come to the table.

Interestingly, this is only ("only") the third drone strike in Pakistan 
all year, with the first two being on January 9 and February 22. (more 
info at http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com ). There were 13 in 2015, 25 
in 2014, 27 in 2013, and 50 in 2012.

Anyway, here's the article from Reuters.
dan h
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

| Tue May 24, 2016 6:50pm EDT
Pakistan can't confirm Taliban leader is dead, criticizes U.S. drone strike
    ISLAMABAD | By [99]Asad Hashim and [100]Syed Raza Hassan

    ISLAMABAD Pakistan's interior minister said on Tuesday he could not
    confirm that Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour had been
    killed in a U.S. drone strike, and described Washington's
    justification for the attack as "against international law".

    U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that Mansour had been
    killed in the drone strike, and the Pentagon said separately that
    Mansour was plotting attacks that posed "specific, imminent threats"
    to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

    On Tuesday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters
    that the body recovered on Pakistani soil, near the Afghan border, was
    charred beyond recognition, adding that DNA samples would be tested
    against a relative who had come forward to claim the body.

    "The government of Pakistan cannot announce this without a scientific
    and legal basis," Khan told a news briefing.

    He did not identify the relative or say whether he or she claimed to
    be related to the Taliban leader or someone else.

    Two U.S. officials told Reuters that U.S. intelligence and military
    agencies used multiple streams of intelligence, including human
    intelligence and electronic surveillance to locate and identify the
    car carrying Mansour.

    That enabled multiple drones operated by the Joint Special Operations
    Command to incinerate the car when it reached an empty stretch of road
    in a remote area where there was little danger of causing civilian

    "There were multiple forms of intelligence attributed to tracking him
    down," a U.S. official said.

    Khan rejected the U.S. argument that it could launch attacks across
    borders in order to protect its interests.

    "For the U.S. government to say that whoever is a threat to them will
    be targeted wherever they are, that is against international law," he
    said. "And if every country in the world adopts this rule, it will be
    the law of the jungle."

    Pakistan and the United States have been uneasy allies in the war
    against the Taliban and other Islamist militants in the region.

    Critics in Afghanistan and the United States accuse Pakistan of
    allowing the Afghan Taliban's leadership to take shelter on its
    territory, something that Islamabad has denied.

    The militant movement has made territorial gains and carried out a
    series of deadly attacks across Afghanistan since NATO forces
    officially wound down their combat mission at the end of 2014,
    undermining the Western-backed government in Kabul.

    Recent events echo those in 2011, when U.S. special forces raided a
    building in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad that killed longtime al
    Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, infuriating and severely embarrassing


    Khan said the car was destroyed on Pakistani territory but was fired
    "from another country", presumably Afghanistan, where more than 10,000
    U.S. and coalition troops remain.

    Khan added that Pakistani authorities were also investigating a
    passport bearing the name of Wali Muhammad, which was found near the
    burned out shell of the car believed to have been the target of the
    drone attack.

    He confirmed the passport in question had been used to travel from
    Pakistani airports multiple times, and that it held valid visas for
    Iran, Dubai and Bahrain.

    If the travel document proves to have been used by Mansour himself, it
    would raise fresh questions about how the Taliban leader was able to
    move freely in and out of Pakistan and whether he had help from the
    country's security apparatus.

    Khan on Tuesday disputed that elements of Pakistan's security
    apparatus supported the Taliban leadership.

    "If (Mansour) was availing Pakistani intelligence agency support and
    help, would he be traveling like this?," he asked, referring to
    reports that the target was alone with a single driver.

    The circumstances surrounding the killing remain murky, including how
    the U.S. verified it was Mansour who was killed in the attack and how
    any documents could be recovered from the fiery scene.

    "You could not see a spot of paint ... that's how bad it was hit,"
    Khan said. "How was a passport lying just a few yards away? So first
    we have to establish that, whether he was actually using it."

    The Taliban have not issued any official statements on Mansour since
    Saturday's drone strike.

    However, Taliban officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have
    said Mansour is dead and a council is meeting to choose a successor,
    the second such leadership shura in a year after the death of the
    movementÕs founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, was confirmed in 2015.


    Authorities in Quetta, the Baluchistan capital, showed a copy of the
    recovered passport, which has a photo bearing a strong likeness to the
    officially released Taliban picture of Mansour, to a Reuters reporter.

    They also noted that it bore an exit stamp from Iran's land border
    with Pakistan dated May 21, the day of the drone strike.

    Pakistani immigration records show that the Wali Muhammad passport was
    used at least 18 times since 2006 to travel internationally, two
    senior officials in the Federal Investigation Agency, which manages
    borders, told Reuters.

    One of the officials in the southwestern province of Baluchistan said
    the passport was used mostly over the land border with Iran and from
    the airport in the southern city of Karachi, with the last exit from
    Karachi en route to Dubai on March 31, 2015.

    The second official reviewed computerized records of the passport and
    said there were "18 travel events" from Karachi airport starting in
    2007, with the last arrival at Karachi on April 2, 2015.

    A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry was quoted on state media
    denying that such an individual had crossed the border from Iran to
    Pakistan at the time in question.

    Authorities in the United Arab Emirates did not respond to questions
    on whether Mansour might have entered Dubai using an assumed name or
    whether there was any record of a Wali Muhammad visiting.

    (Additional reporting by Gul Yousufzai in QUETTA, Idrees Ali and Mark
    Hosenball in Washington.; Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Mike
    Collett-White and Alan Crosby)

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