Islamabad: Pakistan has categorically rejected rumors circulating about a possible role the country may have in the killing of al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri by US forces in Kabul.
After Zawahiri’s death was confirmed by the United States, speculations started to surface about the role of Pakistan in helping the CIA carry out the strike. Many hinted towards the use of Pakistani airspace and airbase for the strike, while others also did not rule out the possibility of provision of ground intelligence by the Pakistani spy agency to the CIA. The recent telephonic conversation between Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa and US Centcom chief, about 48 hours before the CIA drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan raised speculation of Pakistan’s help in the attack.
However, Pakistan brushed aside all talks of its involvement, maintaining that it was an internal matter for Afghanistan to handle. “The killing of Ayman Al-Zawahiri is an internal matter of Afghanistan. No role of any sort played by Pakistan”, said a Pakistani official on the basis of anonymity.
Rumors about the possibility of the drone flying from a Pakistani airbase or the use of Pakistan’s airspace were rejected by the government source. Pakistan’s foreign office also issued a press release, reiterating that Islamabad condemns terrorism in all its forms.
“We have seen the official statements by the United States and media reports regarding a counter-terrorism operation carried out by the US in Afghanistan. Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Pakistan’s role and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism are well-known. Pakistan stands by countering terrorism in accordance with international law and relevant UN resolutions”, read the statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign office.
“The US has many options in the region. However, the drone did not fly from Pakistan or through its air space”, assured the government source.