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Pakistan offended by Afghan Taliban’s statements

The recent comments made by the Afghan deputy foreign minister have been referred to as "against the spirit of amicable relations" by Pakistan.

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The recent comments made by the Afghan deputy foreign minister have been referred to as “against the spirit of amicable relations” by Pakistan, who also emphasised the necessity for the interim Afghan government to take the required actions to allay international expectations and worries.

The opinions were given by Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar in response to a question regarding Sher Abbas Stanikzai’s statement at the weekly media briefing held here on Friday. A week prior, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had expressed concern on behalf of the international community regarding the threats posed by terrorist groups operating out of the neighbouring country during a speech to the UN General Assembly.

Stanikzai, the Taliban’s leader, claimed on September 27 that Islamabad was “getting millions of money” from Washington to permit American drones to fly over Afghanistan in response to the PM’s address, which had drawn severe criticism from the Taliban.

“How long can we tolerate this?” he asked a gathering in Kabul. “If we rise against this, no one will be able to stop us.”

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In response to the question about his comment, the FO spokesman said: “This is very unfortunate and unacceptable. We have noted with concern, these recent remarks. We consider such statements as against the spirit of friendly relations between our two brotherly countries. Pakistan’s role in facilitating peace in Afghanistan, and our efforts to strengthen bilateral ties are well known, and they are acknowledged widely.”

“We believe that for the success of positive engagement, it is important that the interim Afghan authorities take necessary steps to address international expectations and concerns. For its part, Pakistan will continue to pursue positive engagement with Afghanistan for peace, prosperity, and progress of the two countries and the wider region.”

The FO spokesman responded to the claim that there was meddling in Afghanistan’s internal matters by saying, “Obviously, there is no interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. On the contrary, given the tremendous difficulties, the economic condition, and the humanitarian scenario that the Afghan people are facing, our Afghan friends are well aware of Pakistan’s support for Afghanistan and advocacy for that country within the international community.