Afghanistan
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Kabul strongly reacts against Islamabad’s statement on the right to strike terrorists in Afghanistan

On Thursday, the Afghan Taliban’s caretaker administration denied a recent statement by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari that Pakistan reserved the right to attack terrorists inside Afghanistan in self-defence. The Afghan Taliban’s administration urged Islamabad to communicate its concerns to Kabul rather than making “unnecessary claims” in the media.

In response to foreign minister Bilawal’s earlier statement, the Taliban senior spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that such “claims” regarding the existence of terrorist groups like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) “are not in the interest of both countries and people.”

“We refuse Pakistan officials’ allegations about the security situation in Afghanistan, and we call them baseless. The Islamic Emirate does not allow anyone to use the territory of Afghanistan against another country,” Mujahid said on Twitter.

“If there is any concern, it should be shared with the officials of the Islamic Emirate face to face, rather than making unnecessary claims in the media and confusing people’s minds. Such claims are not in the interest of both countries and people,” Mujahid added.

Pakistan repeatedly accused Kabul of not taking severe action against TTP hideouts in the country. At the same time, the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan rejected all allegations and asked the Pakistani officials to hold dialogue with the TTP.

On August 1, 2023, Foreign Minister Bilawal refused to negotiate with the extremists operating out of Afghanistan. Pakistan’s stance is unambiguous. We are neither in favour of appeasing the terrorists nor tolerant of terrorism. We intend to stop these [terror] groups and bring back peace while establishing the authority of the State, the minister said.

Meanwhile, he said Pakistan was ready to support if the Taliban government needed so. “If they [the Afghan authorities] request us for any assistance, I am sure the government of Pakistan will be ready to extend a helping hand to the Afghan interim government – that should also be a preferable option for Pakistan,” he added.