Afghan president slams Pakistan for allegedly harbouring Taliban

February 02, 2018

The Afghan president slammed Pakistan on Friday, blaming it for a wave of massive deadly attacks that have ravaged his nation recently and accusing Islamabad of harbouring the Taliban.

The government is under growing public pressure to improve security in the Afghan capital after three major attacks in the past two weeks demonstrated the ability of militants to strike at the heart of the country.

Since January 20, militants have stormed a luxury hotel, bombed a crowded street and raided a military compound in Kabul, killing more than 130 people.

In a televised speech to the nation, Ashraf Ghani alleged the “centre of Taliban terrorism is in Pakistan” and demanded that authorities in the neighbouring country “show some concrete action to rid their territory of insurgents.”

Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal had earlier today reiterated Islamabad’s assertions that there are no terrorist safe havens anywhere in Pakistan, adding that the country would never allow its soil to be used against any other country.

Examine: 3 major attacks in 7 days — is the US security strategy in Afghanistan working?

Ghani, flanked by Afghanistan’s top Islamic clerics, also urged those among the Taliban who wanted to talk peace with the government to separate themselves from those who want only to fight.

“The Afghan nation is waiting for clear action” from Pakistan, said Ghani, adding that so far Afghanistan got only promises of cooperation from Islamabad.

President Ghani said 11 people have been detained over the terrorist attacks, but gave no further details.

“People will not forget. Even if it takes a hundred years, the Afghans will take their revenge.”

Officials would submit a new security plan for Kabul on Sunday, Ghani said, speaking inside the heavily fortified presidential palace — eight months after a devastating truck bomb in the city triggered a similar move.

His remarks came a day after Afghan officials said they had handed “undeniable” evidence to Pakistan that they claimed showed the recent attacks were planned on Pakistani soil.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the Intercontinental Hotel on January 20 and the street bombing last Saturday.

The Pakistani embassy in Kabul said the information was “being examined for its authenticity”.

Kabul, along with Washington, has long accused Islamabad of providing safe havens to leaders of the Taliban and other militant groups. Pakistan denies the charges, insisting it has eradicated safe havens in the tribal region along the border with Afghanistan.

On Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it stands with Afghanistan “in fighting the menace of terrorism”.

The ministry’s statement noted that Pakistan has erected 975 security posts along the porous border with Afghanistan, while Kabul set up only 218. It called for more border security from Kabul, saying insurgents in Afghanistan have carried out 417 attacks in Pakistan in 2017.

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