22:35 GMT12 August 2020
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    Islamabad will ramp up security in Balochistan, possibly providing cover to the remaining elements of the Taliban still present in the province, attempting to shield them from further US drone strikes, according to the US-based intelligence analysis company Stratfor.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Pakistan will enhance security to protect the Taliban against further US drone strikes in the wake of an attack that killed the movement’s leader, the US-based intelligence analysis company Stratfor said on Tuesday.

    On Monday, President Barack Obama confirmed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a US drone strike carried out in Pakistan on Saturday. Islamabad said Washington’s unauthorized attack violated the country’s sovereignty.

    "Islamabad will also ramp up security in Balochistan, possibly providing cover to the remaining elements of the Taliban still present in the province, attempting to shield them from further US drone strikes," Stratfor stated in an analysis.

    According to Stratfor, Pakistan will try to strike a balance between projecting a firm posture to appease its domestic political base while not entirely alienating Washington because it relies on US military aid.

    In a sign that the trust deficit has widened between the two countries, the analysis noted, US Secretary of State John Kerry did not inform Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif about the strike on Mansour until after it occurred, "demonstrating that Washington does not have faith in Islamabad's reliability in coordinating such high-level strikes."

    The attack on Mansour comes at a precarious moment in the US-Pakistani bilateral relationship, the analysis added, highlighted by the US House of Representatives recently passing legislation to cut off $450 million in military aid to Pakistan until it prosecutes a more vigorous strategy against militants within its borders.

    Mansour had been the Taliban's top commander since the group's longtime leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was confirmed dead by the Afghan government in July 2015.

    US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters on Monday that the United States did not see any indications that Mansour was willing to join the reconciliation process in Afghanistan before he was killed by a US drone strike.


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