Peace and death: Why Pakistan is enraged over death of Mullah Mansoor?
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2016-05-27 15:05:13

Peace and death: Why Pakistan is enraged over death of Mullah Mansoor?



On Wednesday, Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s de facto foreign minister, told a gathering of top diplomats from Afghanistan, the US and China that the 2015 leak of news that former Taliban leader Mullah Omar had been dead for more than two years “not only scuttled the Afghan peace process, it also let to the splintering of the Taliban”. On Wednesday, Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s de facto foreign minister, told a gathering of top diplomats from Afghanistan, the US and China that the 2015 leak of news that former Taliban leader Mullah Omar had been dead for more than two years “not only scuttled the Afghan peace process, it also let to the splintering of the Taliban”. The strike was admittedly authorised by President Obama and was not carried out by the CIA but by the American Army, unusual in itself. The fact that the strike was outside tribal areas was not only unusual but unique, the Osama bin Laden raid excepted. Members of the Pakistan government were notified after the strike, and took 24 hours to craft a response, which was along the well-trodden path of a condemnation of American violation of Pakistan sovereignty. Mullah Mansoor was a target once it became clear that the rumours that accompanied his accession to the position held by the long-dead Mullah Omar that he was peaceably inclined, were false. He had actively opposed the peace process in his 10 months at the top, and was widely credited with undermining the work of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), which in the last week reiterated that a politically-negotiated settlement was “the only viable option for lasting peace in Afghanistan”. His death is going to add nothing to the possibility of the Taliban, Afghan or any other iteration, of coming to the negotiating table. The collateral damage is the likely demise of the QCG. He was also the probable architect of the current spring offensive in Afghanistan that has seen scores dead and injured — mostly civilians.

How Mullah Mansoor came to lead the Taliban is yet unclear, and at the time of his death, he was still consolidating his grip on an organisation that many within felt should be led by a descendant of Mullah Omar, despite a strong aversion to the creation of ‘dynasties’ within the Taliban more widely. So who now? In terms of profile, Sirajuddin Haqqani who was one of Mansoor’s two deputies is being bruited about. It was he that finagled some Taliban commanders into allegiance with Mansoor, against that is the perception by some commanders that he is “too close to Pakistan” — meaning under the sway or influence thereof — which may not chime with their plans for a complete takeover of the whole of Afghanistan rather than the 50-or-so per cent they control now.The other potential casualty of the Mansoor strike is the never-easy relationship between Pakistan and the US. It is alleged that there was an unspoken agreement that while the peace process was still alive — the QCG — Taliban leaders would move freely between Pakistan and Afghanistan. But did that agreement extend to movements between Pakistan and Iran?It may be perceived that the US has played a double game, a move not unknown on the Pakistan side, presumably as a signal that the gloves are off and there are to be no further blind eyes turned to the many contradictions and ambiguities that there are in Pakistani relations with the various Taliban groups. If so, then American exceptionalism will be extended to targets as they see fit, with Pakistan being informed post-hoc and strikes deeper into Pakistan not impossible to envisage. The Quetta Shura, now deep in discussions about succession, is unlikely to be sleeping in the same beds night-on-night. Is the death of Mullah Mansoor a game changer? Probably not as the die was already cast for the Taliban, which will continue to fight for control of Afghanistan — with or without the support of Pakistan.


Categories:   Pakistan ، Other News ،
Tags:   China ، US ، Sartaj Aziz ، Mullah Mansoor ،
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