Afghan Vice-Prez Saleh Accuses PAF of Supporting Taliban; Pakistan Denies
Taliban fighters had captured a critical crossing on the Pakistan border on Wednesday.
Afghan Vice-President Amrullah Saleh took to social media late on Thursday, 15 July, and accused the Pakistan Air Force of warning Afghan security forces of retaliation in case any move against the presence of Taliban fighters in the border region of Spin Boldak was made.
The former head of intelligence made claims of Pakistani support to Taliban and said:
Responding to backlash on his serious claims, he asserted that he is ready to provide evidence and wrote:
What Pakistan Said
However, as per reports, Pakistan on Friday formally rejected Saleh's allegations, saying that 'Pakistan Air Force never communicated anything to the Afghan Air Force,' a Pakistani news publication reported.
A statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO) said that such allegations, 'undermine Pakistan’s sincere efforts to play its part in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution' for restoring peace in the war-torn country, Dawn reported.
"Pakistan responded positively to [the] Afghan Government’s right to act in its territory. In spite of very close border operations normally not acceded to by internationally accepted norms/ standards/ procedures, Pakistan took necessary measures within its territory to safeguard our own troops and population."Statement by the Foreign Office
The FO further added that Pakistan remained 'committed to peace in Afghanistan and shall continue to endeavour towards this end irrespective of the detractors', Dawn reported.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in a joint press stakeout with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, said, "We discussed the political situation in Afghanistan...People of Afghanistan have suffered for last 40 years. As our neighbours, we feel they are our brothers and there should be peace there."
He added, "We will try and have a summit so that we can stop what looks like a civil war."
Rebutting the response, Saleh tweeted on Friday, "Those familiar with this pattern, Afghan or foreign, know exactly that issuing a statement of denial is just a pre-written paragraph."
US Special Rep Offers Comments
The United States Special Rep for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, later in the day said that the US is pursuing a peace process.
"We think there's no military solution. They haven't reached political agreement," ANI quoted him as saying.
He added, "We're active in terms of building support, engaging ourselves with the UN, neighbours, big powers, our allies, and developed countries that have resources to assist post-peace Afghanistan."
Stating that the US is now focussing on support for the Afghan security forces, economic assistance, diplomatic assistance and humanitarian assistance after the withdrawal of the US forces, ANI reported.
"Forces are leaving, but the US isn't leaving Afghanistan. The US will remain engaged to support the peace process and the security forces of Afghanistan until peace is achieved," Khalilzad said.
President Joe Biden had announced US troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of war in April.
With Taliban's recent attack and seizure operations on Afghan regions, Taliban fighters had captured a critical crossing on the Pakistan border on Wednesday, Hindustan Times reported.
The crossing connecting to Balochistan's Chaman on Pakistan's side, is a crucial revenue source for the Afghan government and an important post for cross-border travel and trade.
(With inputs from Associated Press Pakistan, Dawn and HT)
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