Pakistan’s government has categorically rejected what it says are ‘baseless accusations’ concerning recent terrorist incidents in Afghanistan, without mentioning from where the allegations were being hurled.
“The public blame-game is contrary to the spirit of the understanding between leadership of the two countries to address issues through close coordination amongst relevant agencies,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said in a tweet on Friday, hinting that some Afghan officials might have blamed Pakistan without raising the issue at an agreed upon platform.
While Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson didn’t categorically name the source of the allegations, he was likely hinting at Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS).
Following a major Taliban attack on July 18 which targeted the police HQ in Kandahar, NDS publicly blamed Pakistan and said the attack was planned and coordinated from Pakistan.
Following the claim, next day NDS also released an audio tape which it claimed purports to show one of the attackers in the Kandahar police HQ compound in contact with a Taliban commander based in Pakistan. The authenticity of the audio tape could not be independently verified.
Last month, the top leadership of the two neighbouring countries decided not to use public forums to hurl accusations or give ‘hostile’ statements against each other in order to build trust, improve bilateral relations and continue with the Afghan peace process.
The decision was taken during the visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to Islamabad, where he held wide-ranging discussions with Prime Minister Imran Khan and the country’s military leadership.
“Pakistan condemns all acts of terrorism in Afghanistan and hopes that both sides would continue working constructively for durable peace in Afghanistan and the region,” the spokesperson of Pakistan Foreign Office said in another tweet.
Sarwar Ahmadzai, President Ghani’s Adviser on National Security, had also hinted that attempts were being made to disrupt the bilateral ties, which he mentioned were on a positive trajectory.
“Certain elements want to disrupt relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Ahmadzai said in a joint press conference along with Pakistan’s Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Shehryar Afridi in Islamabad earlier in the day.
He, however, expressed confidence that the ongoing reconciliation process in Kabul – in which Islamabad has played a pivotal role – would prove successful in restoring peace in his war-torn country.
Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have remained tense for years largely because of the trust deficit.
While Islamabad blamed Kabul for hosting militants responsible for carrying out attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan also routinely accused the eastern neighbour of providing safe haven to the Taliban.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday departed for the United States (US) on a commercial flight. Since assuming office, this is Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first visit to the US. During his visit, Afghan peace process is supposed to be a central issue in talks between US and Pakistani officials.