Just a day after Islamabad announced it handed over Taliban and Haqqani network suspects to Kabul in 2017, Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal on Wednesday was astonished that any of such incident happened.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Tuesday announced that Pakistan handed over more than two dozen suspects belonging to the Taliban and their affiliated Haqqani network to Afghanistan last year.
Pakistan hands over 27 Taliban, Haqqani network suspects to Kabul
The handover took place in November 2017 just weeks after the maiden visit of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to Kabul. However, the extradition of 27 suspected members of the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network was kept confidential till now.
However, with Dr Omar Zakhilwal expressing surprise over the news, it seemed that even he was not aware of the move. The Afghan ambassador took to the Twitter on Wednesday and said if this indeed happened, it would be a huge step forward in Pakistan and Afghanistan mutual bilateral relations.
"Pakistan continues to push any suspected TTA & HN elements to prevent them from using our soil for any terrorist activity in Afghanistan,” he said in a tweet yesterday.
Pakistan continues to push any suspected TTA & HN elements to prevent them from using our soil for any terrorist activity in Afghanistan— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@DrMFaisal) January 30, 2018
And added in another tweet that “in this context, 27 individuals suspected of belonging to TTA & HN have been handed over to Afghanistan in November 2017.”
In this context, 27 individuals suspected of belonging to TTA & HN have been handed over to Afghanistan in November 2017— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@DrMFaisal) January 30, 2018
He did not explain as to what prompted the government to make the announcement at this stage. But officials familiar with the development told The Express Tribune that Pakistan had to release the information in order to brush aside the impression that it was not doing enough in the fight against terrorism.
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On Wednesday, the Afghan government also rejected the report that Pakistan handed over 27 Taliban and Haqqani network prisoners to Afghanistan last year.
“Pakistan has not handed over any members of these groups,” a credible source told TOLOnews.
Following the string of terrorist attacks over the last few days in Kabul, Islamabad has been again accused by senior Afghan officials for providing shelter to the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network.