By RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal
January 2, 2023
The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan has accused Islamabad of endangering bilateral relations after Pakistani Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah suggested last week that Kabul wasn’t doing enough to counter the activities of the militant Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group.
The Taliban’s Defense Ministry in Kabul issued a statement on January 1 saying the TTP’s hideouts are inside Pakistan, not Afghanistan.
It said that “such claims by Pakistani officials harm relations” and any issues can be “resolved through understanding.”
Continuing the war of words, Pakistani leaders on January 2 stated that no country will be allowed to shield militants who conduct attacks inside the country, without specifically mentioning Afghanistan, AP reported.
Pakistan’s National Security Committee vowed “zero tolerance for terrorism in Pakistan” and said extremists will be dealt with using the “full force of the state.”
The Taliban-led Afghan government that took over after the U.S.-led withdrawal of international troops and the UN-backed Afghan government’s collapse in mid-2021 is not officially recognized by any country.
But it hosted the talks between Pakistani officials and TTP representatives that resulted in an abortive cease-fire last year.
Pakistan regards the TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, as a terrorist group.
Sanaullah suggested to local media that Islamabad could be forced to take unilateral action against the TTP inside Afghanistan.
The TTP walked away from a monthslong truce with Islamabad in November, saying the Pakistani Army had failed to fulfill unspecified pledges.
Pakistan blames the TTP for at least 250 attacks that killed more than 400 people in Pakistan between August 2021 and August 2022.
With reporting by AP
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