Taliban deny Pakistan’s interference

Spokesperson says group acting with ‘complete freedom’


News Desk September 07, 2021
A delegation of Afghan Taliban meets Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday. PHOTO: FO/FILE

The Taliban on Tuesday rejected allegations that Pakistan was interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, saying the group “acted with complete freedom”.

“The interference of Pakistan is a rumour that has been spread about for 20 years... we don’t allow interference,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said while addressing a news conference in Kabul.

Mujahid added that the group acted with “complete freedom” and defeated those countries which “had been occupying” Afghanistan.

“From the outset, we fought for the sake of Islam and this country [Afghanistan].”

The spokesperson said certain elements were trying to create rifts between Afghanistan and Pakistan. “We have sacrificed for the defence and for the people of this country and will not allow any interference.”

A day earlier, Mujahid had reiterated that Pakistan’s concerns on various issues were justified and the group would address those concerns.

The Taliban’s assurance to Pakistan came after Interior Minister Shiekh Rashid said in Islamabad that the suicide bombers in the recent Gwadar and Quetta terrorist incidents had been identified, adding that they had come from Afghanistan.

At the news conference in Kabul, Mujahid said that as a neighbour, Pakistan’s concerns on various issues were justified.

“The issues on which Pakistan is concerned will be resolved. Our land will not be used against Pakistan.”

He urged Pakistan to keep its borders open for the Afghans. “A Pakistani delegation came to Afghanistan to discuss law and order. The delegation talked to us about security and other issues. Pakistan is requested to keep the borders open for the Afghans,” he said.

Read Taliban assure Pakistan of addressing security concerns

Also on Tuesday, the Taliban fired shots into the air to disperse crowds of women who had gathered for a rally in the capital, the latest protest since the group swept to power last month.

General Mobin, a Taliban official in charge of security in the capital, told AFP he had been called to the scene by Taliban guards who said that “women were creating a disruption”.

“These protesters are gathered based only on the conspiracy of foreign intelligence,” he claimed.

Tuesday's demonstration comes after the Taliban claimed total control over Afghanistan a day earlier, saying they had won the key battle for the Panjshir Valley, the last holdout of resistance against their rule.

Located just north of the capital Kabul, Panjshir is one of the smallest of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.

It is of strategic importance, providing the main route out of Kabul to the north where important cities like Mazar-e-Sharif and Kunduz are located.

It is populated largely by ethnic Tajiks, a sizeable minority group in Afghanistan. The Taliban are mainly drawn from the largest ethnic Pashtun group.

The region's mountainous, rugged terrain and deep central valley give defenders a significant advantage, forcing attackers to traverse steep mountain passes or enter through the mouth of the valley, where they have to face off against foes commanding higher ground.

(With input from agencies)

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