ISLAMABAD: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday condemned last week’s deadly attack on the Pakistan Air Force base in Badhaber, on the edge of Peshawar, and said Afghanistan will never allow its land to be used against Pakistan.
“The Afghan president condemned the attack on the air force base and extended his heartfelt condolences on the demise of civil and military personnel in the incident,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
“The Afghan president said Afghanistan will never allow its land to be used against Pakistan by anyone,” it added. The condemnation came after Ghani telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif days after the deadly assault that had left 43 – including 14 attackers – dead.
Heavily armed Taliban terrorists dressed in uniforms of a paramilitary force attacked the PAF camp in Badhaber on Friday in the deadliest assault since the government introduced a new national counterterrorism plan following the methodical killings of schoolchildren at the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014.
A splinter group of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), led by Khalifa Mansoor, alias Omar Naray, claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to journalists. Chief military spokesperson Major General Asim Bajwa said the TTP group had planned, executed and operated the attack from Afghanistan.
In a knee-jerk reaction on Saturday, Kabul rejected Pakistan’s claim that the attack was planned and controlled from Afghanistan. A statement from the Afghan presidential palace said it never had and never would allow its territory to be used against other states.
“Afghanistan, as a victim of terrorism, feels the agony and pain of terrorism, and commiserates in that spirit with the victims of yesterday’s attack in Peshawar.” It invited Pakistan to engage in ‘joint and sincere efforts’ to eliminate terrorism.
Islamabad and Kabul regularly accuse each other of supporting militants who cross the porous border to carry out attacks and of giving sanctuary to them. Afghanistan in particular accuses Pakistan of supporting Afghan Taliban insurgents, while Pakistan has been demanding Afghanistan hand over TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah, who is believed to be hiding in eastern Afghanistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2015.