Pakistan backs Afghan govt's right to undertake actions on its territory

Rejects Afghan VP’s accusations against PAF supporting Taliban: Heavy fighting for control of Spin Boldak breaks out

By: News Desk      Published: 10:48 AM, 16 Jul, 2021
Pakistan backs Afghan govt's right to undertake actions on its territory
Stranded people gather as Pakistani troops stand guard at the border town of Chaman after the Taliban claimed they had captured the Afghan side of the border crossing of Spin Boldak.–AFP

The Foreign Office has said that Pakistan acknowledged the Afghan government's right to undertake actions on its sovereign territory, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

In a statement issued on Friday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said the Afghan side conveyed to Pakistan its intention of carrying out air operation inside its territory opposite the Chaman Sector of Pakistan. He said Pakistan responded positively to the Afghan government's right to act in its territory. In spite of very close border operations normally not acceded to by internationally accepted norms and procedures, Pakistan took necessary measures within its territory to safeguard its own troops and population.

The Foreign Office also strongly rejected the allegations of Afghanistan’s Vice-President Amrullah Saleh against the Pakistan Air Force trying to help the Taliban.

The spokesperson said Pakistan remains committed to peace in Afghanistan and shall continue its endeavours towards this end irrespective of the detractors.

Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said it is however important that at this critical juncture, all energies are focused on achieving an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan.

The Afghan vice-president Thursday had accused the PAF of warning Afghan security forces that it would retaliate against any move to dislodge Taliban fighters in the strategic border region of Spin Boldak.

The Foreign Office said the “Pakistan Air Force never communicated anything to the Afghan Air Force”. He said such statements undermine Pakistan's sincere efforts to play its part in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution.

The FO said Pakistan “acknowledged the Afghan government’s right to undertake actions on its sovereign territory”. “However, as alleged by the Afghan Vice President, Pakistan Air Force never communicated anything to the Afghan Air Force,” it said.

Pakistan lately rescued 40 Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) ranks, who fled to Pakistan and returned them to Afghanistan with respect and dignity, with a declared offer to ANDSF to provide all logistical support as requested.

“We remain committed to peace in Afghanistan and shall continue to endeavour towards this end irrespective of the detractors,” the FO said.

The FO said that it was important “at this critical juncture” that all energies were focused on achieving an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan.

Afghan forces fighting to retake border crossing

Afghan forces clashed with Taliban fighters Friday after launching an operation to retake the key Spin Boldak border crossing with Pakistan, police said.

"The Afghan forces are fighting against the Taliban, who have taken shelter in civilian homes," Jamal Nasir Barakzai, police spokesman for southern Kandahar province, told AFP.

Afghan forces were in the main bazaar of the border town, residents said. "There is heavy fighting," said Mohammad Zahir, a resident of Spin Boldak.

The crossing fell to the Taliban earlier this week, part of a widespread offensive launched by the insurgents in early May when the US forces began their final withdrawal from the country.

The border point provides direct access to Pakistan's Balochistan province.

 

With inputs from Agencies.