KABUL – Taliban officials revealed on Wednesday that dozens of Pakistani militants affiliated with the Islamic State group have either been killed or arrested in Afghanistan over the past year. This disclosure comes just days after Islamabad accused Afghan people of participating in suicide attacks within its borders.
Recent times have seen escalating tensions between the neighboring countries due to a surge in suicide bombings in Pakistan. Islamabad has asserted that these militants often receive support from their Afghan counterparts.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson for the Taliban government, informed AFP on Wednesday that 18 Pakistani citizens had been “neutralized by our Afghan forces” within the last year. These individuals were identified as members of the Islamic State and were found to be implicated in various explosive attacks and assaults. Mujahid further added that numerous others were currently held within Afghan detention facilities.
Mujahid’s statement expanded upon a late Tuesday announcement, which emphasized that responsibility for “security lapses within any country in the region” should not be attributed to the Taliban authorities. The announcement noted, “Rather than pointing fingers at Pakistan, the Afghan government has bolstered its security measures.”
This occurrence marks the first instance in which the Taliban authorities have publicly attributed attacks in Afghanistan to Pakistanis.
Islamabad asserts that militants perpetrating assaults in Pakistan operate from safe havens located in Afghanistan, often with the assistance of Afghan citizens.
On Monday, General Syed Asim Munir, the military chief, cautioned against the involvement of Afghan nationals, as it “undermines regional tranquility, stability, and deviates from the Doha Peace Agreement.” This agreement facilitated the withdrawal of US-led forces from Afghanistan after a two-decade-long presence.
Consistently, the Taliban authorities have pledged to prevent foreign militants from utilizing Afghan soil to orchestrate attacks abroad—a fundamental component of the peace agreement.
In a speech aired by Afghan state media last week, the defense minister warned security units against engaging in combat beyond Afghanistan, labeling it as a form of warfare that lacked religious sanction, contrary to the teachings of Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada.