Afghan officials claim recent attacks were planned on Pakistani soil
Anti-Pakistan protests erupt in Kabul
Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul says info provided by Stanekzai ‘being examined for its authenticity’
KABUL: A day after meeting with top Pakistani officials in Islamabad, Afghanistan’s spy agency chief Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai on Thursday alleged that the recent attacks in the war-torn country were “planned from across the border [Pakistan]”.
“We asked Pakistan to hand over the culprits of the attacks in Afghanistan and we shared undeniable evidence that the attacks were planned there,” Stanekzai told reporters in Kabul in presser, flanked with Afghan Interior Minister Wais Barmak.
Kabul is on edge after militants stormed a luxury hotel, bombed a crowded street and raided a military compound in the past two weeks.
Afghan authorities have blamed the January 20 attack on the Intercontinental hotel and Saturday’s ambulance bombing on the Haqqani Network. Both attacks have been claimed by the Taliban. The Haqqani leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is deputy chief of the Taliban.
Afghan Interior Minister Wais Barmak said the Afghans submitted a list of questions during Wednesday’s ‘constructive’ one-hour meeting, asking among other things what action Pakistan would take against Taliban leaders and training centres on their soil.
The Pakistani embassy in Kabul said the information provided by Stanekzai was “being examined for its authenticity”. However, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif described the talks with the Afghan delegation as ‘productive’, a foreign ministry statement said.
A senior official privy to the development told a local media outlet that the Afghan delegation indeed shared “certain information” regarding the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul.
“Pakistan has always said that it is willing to cooperate with Afghanistan to defeat our common enemy,” the official said, adding Islamabad would investigate the ‘evidence’ shared by Afghanistan.
News agencies further quoted Afghan officials as saying that Pakistan had agreed to take “practical steps” to act on the information, but the Pakistani embassy in Kabul said the information provided by Stanekzai was “being examined for its authenticity”.
On the other hand, Tolo News quoted the embassy statement as saying: “Pakistan has not given any commitment to give reply to the information received from the NDS Chief Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, during his trip to Islamabad, yesterday [Wednesday].”
“We expect action, not just talk,” Stanekzai added. “We have all options on the table to secure the national interests of Afghanistan,” Stanekzai said, without elaborating.
The Afghan officials said some of the latest evidence came from confessions by captured militants. They said they told the Pakistani side that some of the militants had been trained at madressahs in Balochistan’s Chaman area.
ANTI-PAKISTAN PROTESTS IN KABUL:
Meanwhile, in Kabul, anger is growing after attacks, which together killed more than 130 people in the capital, with many people taking to social media to express their grief and rage.
In response to the recent spate of deadly attacks in Afghanistan, protestors in Kabul asked the Afghan government to sever ties with Pakistan until Islamabad stops supporting the Taliban, reported ToloNews.
Protestors accused Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistani army of collaborating with militant groups and assisting them in carrying out attacks against the Afghans.
Protestors also raised deep concerns over what they described as negligence and weakness on the part of the government in preventing such attacks.
Nearly 200 people have been killed over the past month in attacks claimed by the Taliban and a militant Islamic State (IS) group affiliate. Afghan authorities say they detained one of the gunmen who attacked a military academy on Monday, killing 11 people in an assault claimed by IS.
Kabul, along with Washington, has long accused Islamabad of providing safe havens to leaders of the Taliban and other militant groups. Pakistan denies the charges, insisting it has eradicated safe havens in the tribal region along the border with Afghanistan.