AFGHANISTAN. Kabul: Pakistan’s interior minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, during an interview with Geo News, said that families of Afghan Taliban reside in his country. “Their families residein the capital city of Islamabad,” he added.
He also said that the Taliban receive medical treatment in Pakistani hospitals.
Months ago, a video of Mullah Baradar, Head of Taliban political office in Doha, Qatar went viral in which he was seen visiting the families of Taliban victims. The video received heavy backlash from people in Afghanistan.
“We thank Pakistan for their help, we are Muslim brothers,” a Taliban Twitter user said.
Afghanistan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib reacted to the Pakistan Interior Minister’s words in a tweet on Monday, saying, “I commend Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid for exposing Pakistani support to Taliban. We need more brave Pakistanis to speak out against the onslaught on Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah Saleh also reacted to this news by Pakistan Interior Minister.
“The Interior Minister of Pak tells BBC Persian that Talibs receive treatment in Pakisani hospitals, maintain cemeteries, Talib leaders are based in Pakistan & their children go to school here. PS: So who are responsible for massacre of Afghans ? Any more evidence needed?,” Saleh tweeted.
Earlier, Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said that the Taliban should not allow other terrorist groups to threaten Pakistan from Afghan territory. Addressing the Taliban, he said, “No terrorist group, including the Pakistani Taliban, should be allowed to carry out anti-Pakistani operations on Afghan soil.”
The Afghan social media construed this as a direct recognition of the Taliban by the Pakistan government.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Defends Taliban
Meanwhile, Sheikh Rashid is not the only Pakistani senior official to make such fond comments on the Taliban. A week ago, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in an interview with TOLO News defended the Taliban for an increase in violence in Afghanistan and blamed other elements like Daesh (ISIS) to be the cause.
Qureshi rejected Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan and said most of their leaders “are in Afghanistan”.
“If you try and create this impression that the violence is high because of Taliban, again, that would be an exaggeration. Why do I say that? Aren’t there other elements over there who are playing the role of a spoiler?”
“Daesh. Like forces within Afghanistan – who came from the war economy. Who want to perpetuate their power, who are not seeing beyond their nose and just want to hang on to power, ” Afghanistan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib reacted.
This week, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comment addressing the Taliban also spiked anger among Afghans.
“Pakistan won’t take military action against Afghan Taliban if they carry out full military takeover of Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in an interview with Arabnews.
This comes at a time when violence is surging in all provinces of Afghanistan as the Taliban advances in capturing districts one after another. Nearly 40 districts fell to the Taliban for the past months.
Pakistan has been accused of backing the Taliban and imposing its “proxies war” in Afghanistan.