Photo: BNA

Taliban Refutes Pakistani Defense Minister’s Remarks as Baseless

VANCOUVER, CANADA – Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesperson, says that comments made by Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the Pakistani Defense Minister, are “baseless” and “an evasion of responsibility.”

Mujahid, speaking to Afghanistan National Radio, the state-run media under Taliban control today, March 28, stated that Pakistani authorities make such statements to hide their own failures.      

Mr. Mujahid said that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has been operational in Pakistan for two decades and is a domestic problem of Islamabad’s.    

In response to a suicide attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan’s Minister of Defense, Khwaja Mohammad Asif, said that the sources of his country’s probelms of terrorism lie in Afghanistan.

The Taliban spokesperson condemned the recent suicide bombing that killed six individuals. Mujahid reiterated that the Taliban sees itself as a victim of ISIS and other terrorist factions.

On Tuesday, March 26th, a suicide bomber targeted a convoy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, claiming the lives of five Chinese citizens and a Pakistani driver. The convoy was en route from Islamabad to Dasu, where a major hydroelectric dam project, spearheaded by a Chinese company, is underway.

A day after the attack, the Pakistani Defense Minister stated that despite constant demands from Islamabad and Kabul’s knowledge of the problem, the Taliban have largely remained unwilling against groups who fight against the Pakistani government.      

He added that due to the increasing terrorist incidents in Pakistan, there is a need for fundamental changes in border situations to halt the movement of terrorists.     

Pakistan holds the TTP primarily responsible for the surge in terrorist activities, alleging that the group’s leaders and members find sanctuary in Afghanistan, orchestrating and executing attacks on Pakistani soil from across the border.

Relations between Islamabad and Kabul have strained in the last one year mainly over the issue of TTP, an ideological off-shoot of the Afghan Taliban that fights against the Pakistani government.

Although Taliban rejects claims that TTP leaders reside within its borders, it has tried to broker some sort of a peace agreement between the government in Islamabad and the insurgent group. The efforts have not resulted in any progress, making the relationship between two strategic partners surprisingly the most contentious one the Taliban has to navigate.