Senior Afghan officials in Pakistan after spate of attacks in Kabul - Pakistan Today

Senior Afghan officials in Pakistan after spate of attacks in Kabul

  • Report says Interior Minister Wais Barmak, NDS chief Masoom Stanekzai in Pakistan to handover evidence related to recent attacks in Afghan capital

  • Afghan envoy ‘surprised’ over FO’s announcement that Pakistan had handed over Taliban, Haqqani suspects to Afghanistan last year

ISLAMABAD: A high-level Afghan delegation comprising the country’s interior minister and the chief of spy agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), on Wednesday arrived in Pakistan to hold talks on bilateral cooperation, hours after Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) announced that the country has handed over more than two dozen suspects belonging to the Afghan Taliban and their affiliated Haqqani Network to Afghanistan last year.

FO Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said that the delegation, comprising Afghan Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak and National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief Masoom Stanekzai, was visiting Islamabad with a message from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and to hold discussions about cooperation.

Dr Faisal said: “Afghan government had requested that a high-level delegation comprising Interior Minister and NDS chief would like to visit Pakistan with a message from Afghan President and for discussions about cooperation between the two countries. Delegation is here and will have talks today.”

Afghan news service Tolo News reported, citing a presidential palace source, that the delegation is to hand over evidence to Pakistan regarding the recent attacks in Kabul. The evidence will be shared with the Pakistan Army, Tolo News claimed, without providing further details.

The report, citing the same source, claimed that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had telephoned President Ghani to offer his condolences.

However, the claim was rubbished by Afghan envoy Omar Zakhilwal, who said: “Not true ─ no phone call has taken place. Following recent horrific terrorist attacks in Kabul, PM Abbasi conveyed a message to President Ghani”, the response to which was a meeting between the delegation and the premier in Islamabad.

At least 11 Afghan soldiers were killed in an attack on a military compound in Kabul on Jan 29 claimed by the militant Islamic State (IS) group ─ the third major assault in the Afghan capital in recent days.

On Jan 27 a Taliban suicide attacker driving an explosives-packed ambulance blew it up in a crowded area of the capital, killing at least 103 people — mainly civilians — and wounding 235 in one of the worst bombings in the city in recent years. The blast was a chilling demonstration of the militants’ ability to penetrate the heart of Kabul despite stepped-up security since a massive truck bomb killed some 150 people and wounded hundreds last May.

The government has blamed Saturday’s attack, which was followed by a national day of mourning, on the Haqqani Network.

IS fighters also attacked Save the Children’s office in Afghanistan’s east on Jan 24. Five people were killed and 26 wounded while the organisation was forced to suspend operations across the country.

On January 20, Taliban fighters stormed Kabul’s landmark Intercontinental hotel and killed at least 25 people, the majority of them foreigners, in an assault lasting more than 12 hours.
But there is still confusion over the true toll from that attack, with conflicting figures given by officials and Afghan media reporting higher numbers.

AFGHAN ENVOY DENIES FO STATEMENT:

On Tuesday night, FO spokesman Dr Faisal had announced that the country had handed over more than two dozen suspects belonging to the Afghan Taliban and their affiliated Haqqani network to Afghanistan last year.

The handover took place in November 2017 just weeks after the maiden visit of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to Kabul. However, the extradition of 27 suspected members of the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network was kept confidential till now, the FO spokesman said.

However, Afghan Ambassador Zakhilwal was astonished that any of such incident had happened.

The Afghan ambassador tweeted that if this indeed happened, it would be a huge step forward in Pakistan and Afghanistan mutual bilateral relations.

“Pakistan continues to push any suspected TTA & HN elements to prevent them from using our soil for any terrorist activity in Afghanistan,” FO Spokesman Dr Faisal said in the tweet.

And added in another tweet that “in this context, 27 individuals suspected of belonging to TTA & HN have been handed over to Afghanistan in November 2017.”

He did not explain as to what prompted the government to make the announcement at this stage. But officials familiar with the development said that Pakistan had to release the information in order to brush aside the impression that it was not doing enough in the fight against terrorism.

On Wednesday, the Afghan government also rejected the report that Pakistan handed over 27 Taliban and Haqqani network prisoners to Afghanistan last year.

“Pakistan has not handed over any members of these groups,” Tolo News reported.

KURRAM AGENCY BLAST WAS PLOTTED IN AFGHANISTAN:

Meanwhile, official sources said that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was reportedly involved in the landmine blast that claimed lives of eight citizens in Kurram Agency on Tuesday.

As per reports, the planning of the blast was carried out in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, an improvised explosive device exploded near Ghoz Garhi area as a van carrying nine people drove by, confirmed senior local government official Basir Khan Wazir.

Earlier, Afghan officials had claimed that the upsurge of atrocities on their land is a direct response to the Trump administration’s suspension of aid for the Pakistani military.

NDS chief Masoom Stanekzai alleged that these were deadly attempts by the Pakistani backers of the insurgency to show they cannot be sidelined.



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3 Comments

  1. Pearl said:

    Tell Afghanistan to arrest the leader of TTP… why the hell are they coming in our country when the leader of TTO is in Afghanistan.

  2. Sarfaraz Ahmed said:

    The strings of the Afghan Government and NDS are connected with New Delhi. But our Foreign Policies and diplomacy is also responsible. A senior Journalist and former Editor of DAWN Karachi (Zahid Hussain) had visited Kabul some two months ago and had a chat with University students and wrote that he did not find anyone with even reasonable views about Pakistan. Senior Army Commanders of Afghanistan are trained in India and easy to understand where their sympathies lie. Naturally, they blame Pakistan for every blast in Kabul like the US Administration. Time to look our own house.

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