The Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani may have written a scathing reply to the New York Times editorial accusing Pakistan of shirking it’s duty, but the death of Mullah Mansour near Quetta brings his otherwise rational critique into question. After Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar, Mullah Mansour becomes the third top Taliban commander to be found on Pakistani soil - and crucially not by Pakistani authorities. Pakistan may be fighting tooth and nail against the militant menace, but these are the figures that stand out - especially in the international arena.

The death of the Taliban leader at the hands of a US drone operating inside Pakistan brings up all sorts of issues; the most immediate being the future of the Afghan Taliban. Mullah Omar’s death led to the Taliban breaking up into several factions as Mullah Mansour consolidated control; it is likely that we will witness a similar scramble for the top position followed by similar disintegration of the group. For the Afghan government this is good news, Mullah Mansour had launched a fierce offensive and had managed to make substantial gains against the afghan forces, a disunited Taliban will be a weaker threat.

Yet no one can say with any certainty what direction the militant group will take. Splinter groups weaken the main body and might give the government a more negotiable group of people to work with, but at the same time splinter groups can be more violent and difficult to counter than the main group - as the case of Jamat-ul Ahrar demonstrates. A similar uncertainty grips the peace process; no one knows what stance the successor might take. On the face of things, the death of a commander on whom the ISI had documented influence in the past may be considered a blow, but even with him at the helm the talks have been underwhelming so far.

One thing that is certain however is the negative connotations that will follow for the Pakistani government. The United States Congress didn’t mince words when blaming Pakistan for an inadequate crackdown on the Haqqani network and this incident will go a long way in confirming their theories - no matter how uninformed they are. Yet this goes beyond foreign conceptions of Pakistan; hard questions must be asked of our own military and government. Why is it that top militants are found safe and sound on Pakistani soil? How can foreign agencies - such as CIA or NDS - have better intelligence about the Taliban in Pakistan than the ISI does? Does it not look hard enough or just looks elsewhere? One incident may be an anomaly - three is a pattern.