Friday Jul 16, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Friday roundly rejected outlandish claims made by Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh a day earlier, who had taken to Twitter to accuse Pakistan of providing air support to the Taliban.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) clarified that the PAF had "never communicated anything to the Afghan Air Force", adding that such statements undermine Pakistan's sincere efforts for an Afghan-owned and led solution.
The foreign office further clarified that the Afghan side conveyed to Pakistani authorities their intentions to carry out an air operation in its territory, which is opposite to the Chaman sector in Pakistan.
"We acknowledge Afghan Government’s right to undertake actions on its sovereign territory," stressed the Foreign Office.
"Pakistan responded positively to Afghan Government’s right to act in its territory. In spite of very close border operations normally not acceded to by internationally accepted norms/standards/procedures, Pakistan took necessary measures within its territory to safeguard our own troops and population," added the FO.
The MoFA also clarified that recently, Pakistan rescued 40 Afghan National and Defence Security Forces (ANDSF) "with a declared offer to ANDSF to provide all logistical support as requested".
Pakistan said it remained committed to peace in Afghanistan "irrespective of the detractors".
Islamabad said it was important for all parties to work for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan.
Saleh had claimed on Twitter that the PAF had said it would repel any attempt by the Afghan Air Force to dislodge the Taliban from the Spin Boldak area.
Two days earlier, the Taliban took control of the Spin Boldak border crossing with Pakistan, as it mounts sweeping offensives across the war-torn country as the US and foriegn forces prepare to withdraw by end of August.
"The (Taliban) Mujahideen have captured an important border town called Wesh in Kandahar," Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, had said in a statement.
"With this, the important road between (Spin) Boldak and Chaman and Kandahar customs have come under Mujahideen control."
A Pakistan security force personnel had confirmed the Taliban had taken control of the crossing. The Afghan defence ministry said it was checking developments.
"The Taliban has taken control of the Afghan side of the Chaman-Spin Boldak border crossing," the Pakistani security source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"They have raised their flag and removed the Afghan flag."