Following the recent killing of Al-Qaeda Chief Ayman al-Zawahiri by the US, speculations are rampant over Pakistan possibly providing airspace for the US drone that took out the wanted Al-Qaeda leader.
Multiple international reports are emerging claiming that Pakistan allowed the US to use its airspace to carry out a drone attack in Afghanistan. South China Morning Post quoted security analysts as saying that Islamabad gave Washington permission to let its drone traverse Pakistani airspace.
Moreover, an image of Al Jazeera news with the headline “Pakistan provides airspace for US military flights to and from Afghanistan” is also going viral.
Absolutely Yes pic.twitter.com/dj8SlzbKif
— Azhar Mashwani (@MashwaniAzhar) August 3, 2022
یہ کیسے ہو سکتا ہے؟ کیا پاکستانی قوم اسکی اجازت دے گی؟ pic.twitter.com/Og78XnHiyY
— Imran Khan (@ImranRiazKhan) August 3, 2022
US using Pakistani airspace?
Sunday, the United States killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a CIA drone strike in Kabul. Ayman al-Zawahiri was Osama Bin Laden’s successor and had a $25 million reward on his head. He was hit by two hellfire missiles as he stepped onto the balcony of a Taliban-controlled safe house in Kabul.
According to the US, the presence of Zawahiri in Afghanistan was a breach of the Doha agreement signed by the Afghan Taliban. In that Doha agreement, the Afghan Taliban agreed to cut ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
Important to note that the drone strike comes almost a year after the US withdrew all its troops from Afghanistan. Therefore, the latest strike is important because it indicates that the US has the horizon capability to take out high-value targets and importantly without having any US footprints on the ground in Afghanistan.
The drone strike put into question how the US managed to launch the airstrike and from where. There were speculations that Pakistan might have played a role in taking out the al-Qaeda chief. However, anonymous Pakistani sources strongly rejected the rumors that the drone might have flown from Pakistan and that the US used the country’s airspace.
Despite the rejection, reports continue to emerge that the US used Pakistan’s airspace. An official statement from Pakistan’s military authorities is urgently required to clarify the matter since the US using Pakistani soil and Pakistani air space has been a contentious issue ever since foreign forces left Afghanistan in August last year.