The Taliban’s powerful interior minister warned Pakistan against using military force to target a militant group in Afghanistan, signaling a possible shift in stance by an influential faction within the government in Kabul.
(Bloomberg) — The Taliban’s powerful interior minister warned Pakistan against using military force to target a militant group in Afghanistan, signaling a possible shift in stance by an influential faction within the government in Kabul.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, widely seen as a close collaborator with Pakistan’s powerful spy agency, made the comments after Pakistani leaders threatened to target militants operating in Afghanistan for their role in a suicide bomb attack killing more than 60 people. Islamic State, another militant group, claimed responsibility.
“If they want to solve the issue through force in Afghanistan, the two nations that have a lot in common, will be harmed,” Haqqani said on Monday at a public gathering in reference to Pakistan.
He added Islamabad should look at having discussions with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, a local offshoot in Pakistan and one of the militant groups responsible for surge of attacks in the South Asian country.
Haqqani’s warning reinforces comments made by other Taliban leaders including Defense Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob on ties with Pakistan. Haqqani’s views are especially important given he brokered a cease-fire last year between Pakistan and the TTP, which was later cut short.
Then-foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari warned in early August of Pakistan targeting the TTP militants inside Afghanistan after the suicide bomb attack struck a rally by Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl, a coalition partner in the previous government led by Shehbaz Sharif.
The TTP has been emboldened by the Taliban taking power in Afghanistan two years ago, with the group carrying out the most militant attacks on Pakistani soil last year since 2018. In January, it killed at least 100 people in a suicide bombing in the northwestern city of Peshawar — one of the deadliest attacks in its history.
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