FO rejects Vice President Saleh’s allegation of providing air support to Afghan Taliban

  • Such statements undermine Pakistan’s sincere efforts to play its part in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution, says foreign ministry
Published July 16, 2021

The Foreign Office (FO) has rejected Kabul's allegations of providing air support to Afghan Taliban at Chaman, saying that such statements undermine Pakistan’s sincere efforts to play its part in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution.

In a statement on Friday, the FO said that Pakistan responded positively to Afghanistan government’s intention of carrying out an air operation inside its territory opposite the Chaman sector of Pakistan.

"Inspite 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," FO said.

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"We acknowledge Afghan Government’s right to undertake actions on its sovereign territory. However, as alleged by the Afghan Vice President, Pakistan Air Force never communicated anything to the Afghan Air Force. Such statements undermine Pakistan’s sincere efforts to play its part in an Afghan owned and Afghan led solution.

"Pakistan lately rescued 40 ANDSF all ranks who fled to Pakistan and returned them to GIORA with respect and dignity, with a declared offer to ANDSF to provide all logistical support as requested," the FO said.

The statement contended that Pakistan remains committed to peace in Afghanistan and shall continue to endeavour towards this end irrespective of the detractors.

"It is, however, important that at this critical juncture, all energies are focused on achieving an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan," FO said.

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The statement by the FO comes following Saleh's statement that the PAF was supporting the Taliban and warning the Afghan forces from acting against it.

"The Pakistan Air Force has issued official warning to the Afghan Army and Air Force that any move to dislodge the Taliban from Spin Boldak area will be faced and repelled by the Pakistan Air Force.

"Pak air force is now providing close air support to Taliban in certain areas," Saleh said in a tweet on Thursday.

Earlier in the week, the Taliban had captured the strategic border crossing of Spin Boldak along the frontier with Pakistan. A Pakistani official said fighters had taken down the Afghan government flag from atop the Friendship Gate at the border crossing between the Pakistani town of Chaman and the Afghan town of Wesh.

After heavy fighting between Taliban and Afghan forces around Wesh, Pakistan sealed parts of its border with Afghanistan.

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However, on Thursday, Pakistan opened the border crossing in Chaman for three hours to allow citizens to return to their countries.

“Around 800 Afghans, including patients, crossed into Afghanistan through Friendship Gate, while some 160 Pakistanis, who were stranded in Wesh, were allowed to enter Pakistani territory,” Dawn quoted a senior official of local administration as saying.


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