The basic principle to follow was peace and reconciliation. But instead the ‘Monroe doctrine’ seems to have been followed along with the United States’ strategy of ‘fight and talk’ in the recent case of drone strike against the Taliban Chief. The Foreign Office (FO) spokesman says that the drone attack was violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. It happened in Pakistan’s territory along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Islamabad wanted to remind the world that the fifth meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) held on May 18, had reiterated that a politically negotiated settlement was the only viable option for lasting peace in Afghanistan. While Pakistan was making a sincere effort for the Taliban to return to the negotiations table to end the long war in Afghanistan, the US secretary of state John Kerry had in a statement said that the Taliban Chief Mullah Mansour was a continuing imminent threat to the United States. This perception was perhaps the background of the drone attack and what was going on around in politics and diplomacy.

John Kerry is reported to have telephoned and himself informed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of a US drone strike that ‘likely killed’ Mullah Mansour. This ‘likely killed’ kept the Foreign Office waiting for confirmation of what had happened in reality in the remote area of the Afghan-Pak border. At the critical juncture, while four nations (United States, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan) were engaged making peace in Afghanistan a reality, the drone strike ordered by the US president is a set-back to the efforts of the QCG; particularly the sincere in-put of China and Pakistan.

The current scenario seems to be the result of frustrations of the American troops in Afghanistan under frequent attacks. Whatever the motive behind drone attack it does not help to promote peace in Afghanistan. Furthermore, it is a blow to the Pak-US relations which were already sour. Pakistan has gone through hard times during 15 years after (Nine Eleven) 9/11 and the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan. It is unfortunate that the United States military commanders and generals had duplicated their military strategy evolved for Iraq and wrongfully applied it to Afghanistan in spite different circumstances and situation. Thus everything was messed up in Kabul and around, playing with destiny of poor hapless people who already stood divided.

Biases of the US leadership against Pakistan are worrisome for the people and government. The situation is utterly unpleasant because of America’s tilt in favour of India, specially, in the field of defence. It is a matter of regional security and peace wherein the United States’ action makes India a regional policeman. In context of Pak-US-Afghan relations, references to Indian attitude and approach, specially towards neighbours, would not be out of place. Indian blame game, pressures and problems for Pakistan are an endless head-ache for our people and the government on western as well as Eastern borders. India has set up its military posts in Afghanistan that spread terrorism against Pakistan all along the Pak-Afghan boundary. India also exports terrorism to Pakistan’s Baluchistan and Sindh province.

What more can Pakistan do in response to ever increasing demands and pressures from the United States to “do more” fight against and eliminate various militant groups. For the last many years Pakistan has been engaged in military operations against militants, terrorists, extremists, criminal and miscreants in spite of country’s limited resources. One hundred thousand plus Pakistanis (civil and military personnel) lost their lives in various operations and war against terror. Counter-terrorism operations are continuing in most parts of Pakistan, including the Tribal Areas. This however does not mean that we close our eyes to real emerging situations which could mar our relations with the United States. We should maintain friendly relations with the US for strengthening bilateral ties and cooperation in areas of common interests with mutual respect.

There could be no compromise on sovereignty. The American drone attack on Pakistan’s territory is clear violation of sovereignty; a betrayal of our trust and sincere eagerness for Afghan peace process. Agreed that we need more effective intelligence services to remain alert to threats to our sovereignty and challenges confronting the state. We also need to admit that without our intelligence agencies having shared information many foreign agencies could not have succeeded in their overt and covert action and measures for specified goal achievement.

Mullah Mansour’s death may have consequences in different shades for people in different spheres as well as for the fate of the Afghan Taliban. They may split in splinter groups weakening the main body or gain strength and pose greater threat to the Afghan government in future. In the ultimate analysis, the Afghan peace process suffers a set-back. The United States may not gain anything out of the situation emerging after the death of the Taliban Chief.

Who really controls the Afghan Taliban is a question that involves consideration of valid assumptions, perceptions, beliefs, biases, prejudices, love and hate. Different quarters may have different perceptions which may change with situation. The Afghan Taliban have to be given an opportunity to come back to the mainstream of the society, they have to be motivated to join the peace process.

The Afghan government has to take the initiative to take the Taliban in confidence to start talks for the peace process. A way forward is needed to make possible what we have been hearing about the Afghan owned and Afghan led process. Pakistan is interested in the exercise for the simple reason. Peace in Afghanistan is essential for security and peace in Pakistan. The need is to build trust and make peace possible. Americans will leave one day. The real stake holders are Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The drone strike would derail the peace process between Afghanistan and Afghan Taliban that are being led by Pakistan. Lasting peace in Afghanistan could only be secured if some settlement is reached between Kabul and the Taliban. Peace talks are the only way forward to end conflict and to make diplomacy meaningful.