Kabul urges Islamabad to 'avoid provocative statements'

Afghan Taliban spokesman says 'hurtful statements not favourable to anyone'

News Desk January 03, 2023
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid. Photo: Anadolu Agency

Expressing dismay, the Afghan Taliban have urged Pakistan to "refrain" from making statements that "hurt the feelings, stability and trust" between the two countries.

A statement issued by the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid stated that "Afghanistan seeks good diplomatic relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan", adding that good diplomatic ties were crucial to development.

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However, the spokesman said that "Islamabad's statements over Afghanistan are undesirable", as he stressed that "the Islamic Emirate would not allow its land to be used to spread militancy and distability against a neighbouring country".

Simultaneously, he said that "we demand that Islamabad take measures to control unrest, militancy and the law and order situation".

"Afghanistan is trying to stabilise its own law and order situation and carries a similar positive approach towards its neighbours," the statement added vowing to "continue the same approach in the region" in the future.

It may be noted that on Monday the Taliban regime in Kabul had angrily reacted to a statement of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah in which he said that Pakistan could carry out cross-border military action against the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which has been using its safe havens in Afghanistan as a springboard for its new terror campaign.

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Sanaullah, who believes the TTP has between 7,000 and 10,000 foot soldiers, had warned in a TV interview last week that the Pakistani forces could target the TTP sanctuaries in Afghanistan’s border regions, if Kabul did not listen to requests for action against them.

“Afghanistan is our brotherly country and we will first talk to them to dismantle the TTP hideouts… but if they don’t then the international laws give you the right to target those who attack you,” Sanaullah had said while speaking in an Express News show.

In Kabul, the Ministry of National Defense had later said it considers Sanaullah’s claim about the presence of TTP in Afghanistan and his threat of possible attack inside Afghanistan as “provocative and baseless”.

“It damages the good relations between the two neighbouring and brotherly countries with such claims by Pakistani officials despite the existence of evidence indicating that the (TTP) centres are inside Pakistan,” the defense ministry had said in a statement posted on its official Twitter handle.

Meanwhile, official sources have said that consultations have been ongoing for several days on how to tackle the TTP, which has stepped up terrorist attacks in recent months.

Since the Afghan Taliban takeover, over 420 terrorist attacks have been recorded. In the last three months alone, while the TTP claimed responsibility for 141 attacks.

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The attacks were carried out despite the fact that the TTP announced a ceasefire in June that lasted till November 28. Officials say that the TTP has used the ceasefire and peace talks to regroup.

There has been growing realisation in official circles that the policy to seek a peace deal with the TTP has failed and hence requires a new strategy. Against this backdrop, there is a possibility that the NSC will discuss the launch of a targeted operation against the TTP in certain areas of K-P.

There are reports that the TTP terrorists are present in big numbers in certain districts of K-P. Most of them are those who were allowed to return as part of a confidence-building measure during the moribund peace process.


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