Pakistan has rejected the Taliban’s claims about Islamabad’s airspace being used for the US strike that killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in July.
The reaction comes after the Taliban blamed the Pakistani government for allowing its airspace to be used by US drones.
Acting Defence Minister of Afghanistan, Mullah Yaqoub, on Sunday said that illegitimate use of drones to patrol Afghanistan’s airspace is a transgression of the country’s borders.
The statement was made during a press conference held on Sunday noon by Mullah Yaqoub and the Chief of Staff of the Taliban’s military forces, Khaama Press reported.
“Our information shows that they (US drones) are entering into Afghanistan from Pakistan, using the airspace of Pakistan,” Mr Mujahid told reporters when asked where the drones were coming from, as per Dawn newspaper.
During the Press Conference, the Taliban’s acting Defence Minister strongly claimed that US used Pakistan’s airspace as a medium to enter and attack Afghanistan.
Previously, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a CIA drone attack in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, according to US President Joe Biden, who broke the news in a live broadcast.
According to the US, two Hellfire missiles fired from a drone killed the al-Qaeda chief while causing little damage elsewhere, preventing non-combatant fatalities.
The Taliban’s acting Defense Minister’s remarks come at a point of time when the terror group has mediated peace talks between the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), aka Pakistani Taliban, and the government of Pakistan.
TTP, popularly known as Pakistan Taliban, recently set alarm bells ringing in Islamabad after the outlawed group reappeared in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Swat valley.
Taliban militants reportedly had occupied hilltops of Swat district’s Matta subdivision a few months ago, creating panic in several neighbouring districts.
The Taliban’s unexpected appearance led to anger among the people and caused damage to tourism as the day Taliban were reported to have arrived in the valley.
Talks between the two sides began in October 2021 to seek a political solution to the issue. The talks that were held at the request of the Afghan Taliban led to a one-month ceasefire in November. However, the truce could not last long as differences emerged soon.
The ongoing peace talks between the TTP and Pakistan government reached a stalemate as the outlawed group refused to give in on its demand for the reversal of the merger of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Despite a series of meetings between the two sides in recent weeks to break the impasse, there has also been a stalemate over the issue of TTP laying down arms in case of a peace deal.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)