By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - Afghanistan on Saturday condemned the Friday’s deadly attack at a mosque in a remote area of Pakistan that reportedly killed a brother of the Taliban chief Mullah Hebatullah.
The attack took place at a time when the U.S. and Taliban are believed to have been inching closer to a deal following marathon rounds of talks in the Qatari capital, Doha.
Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the presidency in Kabul, said such a deadly attack at a sacred place such as mosque is condemnable. “[…] But this incident near the city of Quetta [in Pakistan] indicates the Taliban leadership is based in Pakistan, they have their bases and are roaming around freely there,” he told a news conference.
Islamabad has not yet commented on the Afghan claims; however, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday said his country will continue to facilitate ongoing Afghan peace talks.
According to Afghan Islamic Press news agency, the Taliban chief’s younger brother Hafiz Ahmadullah was among the four people killed during Friday prayers in remote town of Kuchlak near Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, while the Taliban have not commented on the bombing.
Sediqqi said Afghanistan hopes the future deal between the U.S. and Taliban would ensure a comprehensive ceasefire, beginning of face-to-face talks with the government and a condition-based withdrawal of the American troops.
Amrullah Saleh, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s proposed deputy for this year’s elections, has dubbed the incident as a matter of internal rift among the Taliban insurgents.
Saleh said Washington is set to ink a separate deal with the Afghan government reiterating longstanding support and cooperation.
* Islamuddin Sajid in Islamabad contributed to this story.