Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, has admitted in a recent interview that the dead bodies of Afghan Taliban are taken to Pakistan, their wounded receive medical treatment, and they reside in the country along with their families.
In an interview with Pakistan’s Geo News, he named some specific places and some in suburbs of Islamabad, the country’s capital, where the Taliban militants live.
“Taliban families live here, 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.
The Afghan Taliban has not yet officially responded to the Pakistani Interior Minister’s remarks.
Relations between Kabul and Islamabad has strained as a result of some accusations exchanged between top government officials of the two neighboring countries in recent months.
Earlier Pakistani media outlets quoted Sheikh Rashid who has called on Afghan Taliban saying “our expectation from the Afghan Taliban is that they will not allow TTP [Tehreek-e-Pakistan Taliban] and other elements to carry out any activity which causes harm to the lives and property of Pakistani people.”
The government of Pakistan has long blamed an open border with Afghanistan which facilitates the militant groups and other illegal movements between the two countries.
Sheikh Rashid, however, stated that so far 88 percent of fencing across the Pak-Afghanistan border has been completed which is expected to finish by the end of next month.
In response to Mr. Rashid remarks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that TTP has neither established in Afghanistan nor its militants operate from Afghanistan.
The ministry asserted the Afghan government fight against all terrorist groups, including TTP, in line with its national security policy which does not distinguish between the terrorist groups. According to the MFA, the TTP is against peace, stability, and welfare in Afghanistan and in the region.
These come as senior Afghan government officials have repeatedly accused Pakistan of supporting and harboring the Taliban. They have frequently said the Taliban leaders and their families reside in Pakistan.
Moreover, Afghan security and defense officials have said the time and again the Taliban transfer their dead bodies to Pakistan and receive medical in the country’s hospitals.
The Pakistani officials, however, denied such allegations in the past.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said on Sunday that Pakistan will shut its border if the Taliban take control of it. He predicted the situation in Afghanistan will get worse after the US withdrawal and might force Afghans to flee to Pakistan.
“We can’t take more, we will have to shut our border, we have to safeguard our national interest,” he said
In reaction to Qureshi’s remarks, the MFA called via statement issued today, June 28, on the neighboring countries to stop using Afghan refugees to pressure the Afghan government.
The Afghan government continue to work for repatriation of the Afghan refugees in line with the existing bilateral cooperation platforms, including Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity, the ministry said in its statement.