Monday, April 15, 2024

Taliban condemn airstrikes by Pakistan, claim 8 killed

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Afghanistan’s Taliban said on Monday that Pakistan carried out two air strikes in Afghan territory, killing five women and three children, with a spokesman condemning the strikes as a violation of sovereignty.

The strikes came as the neighbours have traded blame over responsibility for recent militant attacks in Pakistan, which says they were launched from Afghan soil, although Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban deny this.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan does not allow anyone to compromise security by using Afghan territory,” Zabiullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Taliban administration, said in a statement.

The strikes killed five women and three children in the eastern border provinces of Khost and Paktika, he added.

“Last night at around 3 am, Pakistani planes bombed the houses of civilians,” said the IEA spokesperson. He added that the bombings resulted in the deaths of six civilians, including three women and three children in Paktika, with an additional two women losing their lives due to the collapse of a house in Khost province.

The Paktika province is located near Pakistan’s South Waziristan district while Khost is situated near North Waziristan.

“The person named Abdullah Shah, who the Pakistani side claims was targeted in the incident, is in Pakistan, on the other hand, there is a tribe living on both sides of this region who have daily trips and close relationships,” claimed Mujahid.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns these attacks and calls this reckless action a violation of Afghanistan’s territory, said the Taliban spokesperson and warned that the interim government of Afghanistan, which has a “long experience of freedom struggle against the superpowers of the world”, does not allow anyone to “invade its territory”.

Read Army officers, 5 soldiers martyred in Waziristan terror attack

The spokesperson also urged the new government to stop the “continuation” of wrong policies which “benefit others” and spoil the relationship between the two nations.

Mujhahid warned of potentially dire consequences stemming from such incidents, cautioning that the repercussions could spiral beyond Pakistan’s control, “Such incidents can have very bad consequences which will be out of Pakistan’s control,” said the spokesperson.

The Taliban further stressed that the IEA “will not tolerate” any actions that jeopardize the safety of individuals within its borders.

The airstrikes occurred just one day after President Asif Ali Zardari pledged retaliation following the deaths of seven soldiers, including two officers, in a terrorist assault on a security forces’ post in North Waziristan.

A lieutenant colonel and a captain were among seven soldiers martyred in a terrorist attack in North Waziristan’s Mir Ali on Saturday.

As per the ISPR, troops foiled the initial attempt of intrusion into the army installation in the wee hours of the day however, a group of six terrorists rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into it, later carrying out multiple suicide bombings.

The attacks led to the collapse of a portion of a building, resulting in the martyrdom of five brave soldiers.

The martyred soldiers included Havildar Sabir, a resident of district Khyber; Naik Khurshid, a resident of district Lakki Marwat; Sepoy Nasir, a resident of Peshawar; Sepoy Raja, a resident of Kohat; and Sepoy Sajjad, a resident of Abbottabad.

During the ensuing clearance operation, the Pakistan army troops led by Lieutenant Colonel Syed Kashif Ali, engaged and gunned down all the six terrorists. However, 39-year-old Lt Col Ali, a resident of Karachi, and 23-year-old Captain Muhammad Ahmed Badar, a resident of Talagang, embraced martyrdom.

Terrorists of Hafiz Gul Bahadur group targeted

Pakistan’s foreign office confirmed the development, saying this morning Pakistan carried out intelligence-based anti-terrorist operations in the border regions inside Afghanistan.

“The target of today’s operation was the terrorists belonging to Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group, which along with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is responsible for multiple terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, resulting in deaths of hundreds of civilians and law enforcement officials. The latest attack took place on 16 March 2024 at a security post in Mir Ali in North Waziristan and claimed the lives of seven Pakistani soldiers,” it said in a statement.

Over the past two years, Pakistan has repeatedly conveyed its serious concerns to the interim Afghan government over the presence of terror outfits including TTP inside Afghanistan. These terrorists pose a grave threat to Pakistan’s security and have consistently used Afghan territory to launch terror attacks inside Pakistani territory.

Pakistan accords prime importance to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan. It has, therefore, always prioritised dialogue and cooperation to confront the terrorist threat. “We have repeatedly urged the Afghan authorities to take concrete and effective action to ensure that the Afghan soil is not used as a staging ground for terrorism against Pakistan. We have also called on them to deny safe havens to TTP and to hand over its leadership to Pakistan,” said the FO.

Pakistan has great respect for the people of Afghanistan. However, certain elements among those in power in Afghanistan are actively patronising TTP and using them as a proxy against Pakistan. Such an approach against a brotherly country, which stood with the people of Afghanistan through thick and thin, manifests shortsightedness. It ignores the support extended by Pakistan to the people of Afghanistan over the last several decades. We urge these elements in power to rethink the policy of siding with Khwarij terrorists shedding the blood of innocent Pakistanis and to make a clear choice to stand with the people of Pakistan.

Terrorist groups like TTP are a collective threat to regional peace and security. “We fully realise the challenge Afghan authorities face in combating the threat posed by TTP.  Pakistan would therefore continue to work towards finding joint solutions in countering terrorism and to prevent any terrorist organisation from sabotaging bilateral relations with Afghanistan,” it maintained.

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