KABUL – Pakistan, once a covert supporter of the Taliban, has now expressed growing frustration towards them for allegedly sheltering terrorists responsible for deadly attacks against its forces.
In a bold rebuke on Saturday, Pakistan’s defense minister, Khwaja Asif, accused Taliban administration of providing safe havens to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants, and declared that Pakistan will no longer tolerate such actions.
Asif asserted that Afghanistan should act like a responsible neighbor and abide by the Doha agreement, expressing concern that terrorists who have caused bloodshed in Pakistan are finding refuge on Afghan soil. He also highlighted the longstanding history of Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan with full rights but argued that it is now imperative for Afghanistan to stop harboring those who carry out attacks on Pakistan.
The warning comes in the wake of a recent surge in attacks, with as many as 12 soldiers killed in Balochistan on July 13 alone, making it the deadliest toll of troops in the province. Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan, a newly-formed militant group, claimed responsibility for one of the attacks, further complicating the situation.
While Pakistan had issued similar warnings earlier in the year, the response from the Afghanistan Taliban had been dismissive. However, the latest statement from Pakistan’s defense minister makes it clear that they are prepared to use all available resources to protect their land and citizens from the threat posed by terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan.
The situation adds complexity to the already delicate dynamics between Pakistan and the Taliban, as the TTP, a separate militant group allied with the Afghan Taliban, continues to carry out attacks, posing a significant challenge to both countries’ security and stability.