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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Taliban Accuses Pakistan Of Allowing U.S. Drones To Use Its Airspace

Pakistan's military did not immediately respond to Mujahid's comments but has previously denied allowing the country's airspace to be used

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AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN: Afghan Defense Minister Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid on Sunday accused Pakistan of providing airspace for US drones to enter his country, characterizing the incursions as a continuation of Washington’s “invasion”.

Mujahid’s comments came less than a month after US President Joe Biden announced the killing of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Kabul.

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Even now, US drones were seen flying over Kabul, Mujahid said.”Our information shows that they (US drones) are entering Afghanistan from Pakistan and using Pakistan’s airspace,” Mujahid told reporters when asked where the drones were coming from.

“We demand that Pakistan does not allow its airspace to be used against us,” he added.

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Pakistan’s military did not immediately respond to Mujahid’s comments but has previously denied allowing the country’s airspace to be used, most recently over the Zawahiri case.

The deployment of these drones to Afghanistan is “still a clear invasion of Afghanistan and its airspace by the Americans,” Mujahid said.

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“They are doing this shamelessly. We condemn this illegal act and demand that the American people put an end to it.”

The United States led the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan that toppled the first Taliban government after the hardline Islamist group refused to extradite late al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks.

The July drone strike that killed Zawahiri, bin Laden’s successor, was the first known US attack on a target in Afghanistan since Washington withdrew its forces from the country on August 31 last year.

Mujahid said authorities are investigating Biden’s claims that Zawahiri was killed.“We’ll share the details when it’s done,” he said. Officials have not confirmed Zawahri’s presence in Afghanistan or acknowledged his death.

Tensions have risen along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border since the Taliban seized power on August 15 last year, with Islamabad saying the militant groups carry out regular attacks from the neighbouring country.

The Taliban government denies harbouring Pakistani militants but is also angered by the fence Islamabad is building along their 2,700-kilometer border known as the Durand Line, which was drawn in colonial times.

Ties between the two countries were further strained when Pakistani military airstrikes in eastern Afghanistan killed and wounded dozens in April.

Also Read: Pakistan Appeals to World for Relief Funds amid Flood Devastation

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