Photo: Taliban Ministry of Interior

Pakistan Seeks Taliban’s Help in Capturing Perpetrators of Attack on Chinese Nationals

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Pakistan formally asked the Taliban for assistance in apprehending the perpetrators of the March 26 terrorist attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which claimed the lives of five Chinese citizens.

In a statement released on Thursday, May 30, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan announced that under the special direction of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, a delegation led by Deputy Interior Minister Muhammad Khuram Agha visited Kabul on May 30.

The statement indicates that the Pakistani delegation engaged in detailed talks with Taliban authorities regarding the attack on Chinese nationals and shared their findings with the regime in Kabul.

“The Afghan side also agreed to examine the findings of the investigation and expressed their resolve to work with Pakistan to bring the investigation to its logical conclusion,” the statement reads.

Five Chinese engineers, including a woman, and a Pakistani driver were killed when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into their convoy near Besham city in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The incident occurred on March 26, as the convoy was on its way from Islamabad to Dasu, the location of a significant hydroelectric dam being constructed by a Chinese company, roughly 170 miles from Islamabad.

Following the deadly attack, Beijing urged Islamabad to promptly initiate an investigation and “swiftly” apprehend the perpetrators to ensure they face justice. There are over 29,000 Chinese nationals in Pakistan, most of them working on infrastructure projects. Islamabad says the security of Chinese nationals is the top priority for its security forces.

No group or individuals have claimed responsibility for the attack. However, Pakistani security authorities previously said that they had arrested eleven individuals in connection with the attack. They allege that the attack was planned and facilitated in Afghanistan, with the suicide bomber identified as an Afghan national.

According to a report from Pakistani media outlet Geo News, the vehicle used in the attack, loaded with explosives, was assembled in Afghanistan and then transported into Pakistan through the Chaman border crossing, linking Pakistan’s Balochistan province with Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.

However, the Taliban have rejected Pakistan’s claim, asserting that Pakistan is attempting to divert attention from the truth and cover up its shortcomings in providing security for both foreign nationals and its own citizens.

“The killing of Chinese citizens in an area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which is under tight security cover of the Pakistani army shows the weakness of the Pakistani security agencies or cooperation with the attackers, in both cases the responsibility rests with the Pakistani government,” said Mufti Enayatullah Khorazmi, spokesperson for the Taliban Ministry of Defence.

Relations between Pakistan and the Taliban have soured over recent months, mainly due to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a militant group that shares ideological, operational, and personal alignment with the Afghan Taliban have escalated their violence against Pakistan’s security forces and civilians.

Pakistan claims that members of the militant groups are hiding in Afghanistan, receiving training and advanced military weapons to launch cross border attacks and destabilize the region. The country has consistently demanded the regime in Kabul to take decisive actions against the militant group and surrender them to Islamabad.

The Taliban authorities, however, have denied their ties with the militant group in the past, saying that they are not responsible for the recent security incidents in Pakistan. Taliban officials argue that Pakistan’s internal issues are not their responsibility.