Afghan officials slam Pakistan for harboring Taliban

Following the admission by Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed about the presence of Afghan Taliban in Pakistan, and that their families live in the country, including on the outskirts of Islamabad, Afghan officials Tuesday slammed Pakistan for harboring members of the group.

In response to Ahmed’s revelations, First Vice President Amrullah Saleh implied that Afghanistan has long suspected this and asked what “more evidence [is] needed.”

“The Interior Minister of Pakistan tells BBC Persian that Taliban receive treatment in Pakistani hospitals, maintain cemeteries, Talib leaders are based in Pakistan and their children go to school there,” Saleh wrote on his Twitter.

Saleh asked in this case “who are responsible for the massacre of Afghans?”

“Any more evidence needed?” Saleh tweeted.

Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib also reacted to Ahmed’s remarks but praised him for his honesty.

“I commend Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid for exposing Pakistani support to Taliban. We need more brave Pakistanis to speak out against the onslaught on Afghanistan,” Mohib tweeted.

Pakistan’s interior minister said Sunday that the families of Taliban live in his country, including in areas around the capital, Islamabad, and that members of the insurgent group receive medical treatment in local hospitals.

The admission by Ahmed came during an interview aired by a privately-owned Pakistani television channel, Geo News.

This is a significant departure from Islamabad’s consistent rejection of allegations leveled by Afghan leaders that the Taliban use Pakistani soil to direct and sustain insurgent activities in Afghanistan.

“Taliban families live here, in Pakistan, in Rawat, Loi Ber, Bara Kahuh, and Tarnol,” Rashid told the Urdu-language network citing the names of Islamabad suburbs. “Sometimes their dead bodies arrive and sometimes they come here in hospitals to get medical treatment,” he said.

Rashid remarks however sparked an outcry among Afghans on social media.

Many Afghans slammed Pakistan for their support of the Taliban with one social media user stating: “Curse on Pakistan, which has no gift for Islamic countries except destruction.”

Another user said Pakistan runs the global terrorism system.

“This time people will choose death over migrating to Pakistan [in the event of a civil war],” another user wrote.

Recently the acting interior minister Abdul Satar Mirzakwal confirmed that there have been reports of government military tanks being moved across the border to Pakistan following the fall of districts in Afghanistan.

Mirzkwal warned that if security forces detect movement of this type the air force will target the tanks.

Afghan officials have however for years accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to the Taliban and said more recently that it is because of this that the Taliban have been able to ramp up attacks across the country.