Pakistani minister believes Afghanistan not involved in recent terrorist attacks

Pakistani minister believes Afghanistan not involved in recent terrorist attacks

Human Rights Minister Riaz Pirzada says there are 'misunderstandings' between two countries

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – In a stark contradiction to Pakistan's official view, the country's human rights minister does not believe Afghanistan's interim government is responsible for recent terrorist strikes.

His remarks are contradictory to a series of latest statements by the government and the powerful army chief accusing Kabul of allowing militant groups to use its soil to carry out terrorist attacks inside Pakistan. Kabul, for its part, denies the charge.

Riaz Hussain Pirzada told a local broadcaster Dawn News in an interview that the continuous war of words between the two countries is the result of "misunderstandings."

The program is expected to air on Tuesday night.

Pakistan's Army Chief Gen. Asim Munir said on Monday that the alleged involvement of Afghan nationals in a fresh spate of terrorism in the country is "detrimental" to regional peace and stability, as well as a "deviation" from the 2020 Doha agreement.

“Terrorism has no place in Pakistan, and the involvement of Afghan nationals in terrorist incidents in Pakistan is detrimental to regional peace, stability, and deviation from the Doha peace agreement by the interim Afghan government,” he said.

The Foreign Ministry also claimed on Monday that the terrorists who carried out a brazen attack on a military cantonment in the southwestern Zhob district last month were "Afghan nationals."

"A few things are taking place beyond (their) knowledge, but as far as the Taliban are concerned… even today, their defense minister’s statement has come up with a statement that they would not allow any person to commit any act against Pakistan and that this is not jihad," he made reference to a recent statement by the Afghan Taliban's Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhunzada that was conveyed to Afghan forces by interim Defense Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob last week.

In a thinly veiled reference to Pakistan's archrival India, he said "Payments are made through your neighboring country and Afghanistan is named behind these actions as people have been bought there for 20 years after a lengthy war and these helpless people are being exploited."

The Afghan leadership is "quite honest with Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and Pakistan," he said.

The blood of Pakistanis and Afghans is "the same," he said, emphasizing the sociocultural and linguistic ties between the two neighbors.

“So, I do not think Afghanistan would be this disloyal to Pakistan. I do not accept this,” he said.

Pirzada also described the Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies as a "powerful war army, without which the country would have drowned by now."

Islamabad is believed to have a degree of influence over the Afghan Taliban, but in contrast to its expectations, the South Asian country has seen a dramatic uptick in terrorist attacks since they returned to power two years ago.

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