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International relations

Pakistan-Taliban drone strike spat keeps ties in downward spiral

Afghan rulers needle Islamabad over killing of al-Qaida chief, cozy up to India

The Afghan Taliban's Acting Minister of Defense Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob accused Pakistan of allowing the U.S. to use its airspace for the drone strike that killed al-Qaida's leader.   © Reuters

ISLAMABAD -- Afghanistan's Taliban rulers and Pakistan's government are at loggerheads, with the U.S. drone strike that killed al-Qaida's chief in Kabul fanning tensions between them.

Experts see a pattern in which Taliban officials are keen to needle Pakistan to bolster their own political legitimacy as well as maintain ties with transnational jihadi militant groups that helped the regime recapture the country last year. The friction adds to the long list of challenges facing Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, but could potentially also open doors for rebuilding ties with Washington.

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