Pakistan to look into Afghanistan's 'undeniable evidence'

KABUL: Pakistan agreed to look into the ‘evidence’ shared by Afghanistan, claiming that the recent string of attacks in Kabul were planned on its soil, officials said — a day after the Afghan interior minister and spy chief held crucial talks with Pakistani authorities.
A senior official familiar with the knowledge of discussions held at the Prime Minister Office on Wednesday confirmed to media that the Afghan delegation indeed shared ‘certain information’ regarding the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul.
“Pakistan has always said that it is willing to cooperate with Afghanistan to defeat our common enemy,” the official said, adding Islamabad would investigate the ‘evidence’ shared by Afghanistan.
“Pakistan would not hesitate for a minute to act if recent attacks in Kabul had any linkages with this side of the border,” the official maintained.
Afghan Interior Minister Wais Barmak and chief of National Directorate of Security (NDS) Masoom Stanekzai visited Islamabad on Wednesday and held talks with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other senior authorities.
Talking to reporters in Kabul, the Afghan intelligence chief said they had handed ‘undeniable’ evidence to Pakistan about the use of its soil for the recent terrorist attacks.
Stanekzai claimed that evidence showed that the attacks were ‘planned from across the border.’
“We asked Pakistan to hand over the culprits of the attacks in Afghanistan and we shared undeniable evidence that the attacks were planned there,” Stanekzai said.
Afghan Interior Minister Wais Barmak said the Afghans submitted a list of questions during Wednesday’s ‘constructive’ one-hour long meeting, asking among other things what action Pakistan will take against the Taliban leaders and alleged training centres on their soil.
Although there was no reaction from the Freign Office, the Pakistani embassy in Kabul said the information provided by Stanekzai was “being examined for its authenticity”.
“Pakistan has not given any commitment to give a reply to the information received from NDS Chief Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, during his trip to Islamabad, yesterday,” the embassy statement said.
Nearly 200 people have been killed during the last month in attacks claimed by the Taliban and a militant Islamic State (IS) group affiliate. Afghan authorities say they detained one of the gunmen who attacked a military academy on Monday, killing 11 people in an assault claimed by IS.
“The Taliban, with these actions, cannot call themselves a political organisation,” Stanekzai said.
“They are a terrorist organisation.”
“We expect action, not just talk,” he added.
Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua will lead a high-powered delegation to Kabul on Saturday to carry forward the discussions.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif visited the Afghan embassy in Islamabad to convey condolences over the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, resulting in the loss of precious human lives, infrastructure and a number of people.
He was received by the Afghan Ambassador Hazrat Omer Zakhilwal. The foreign minister signed the condolence book and offered Fateha for those who have lost their lives. He also expressed sincere wishes for the early recovery of the injured.
Asif said Pakistan strongly condemns terrorism in all forms and manifestations.
He said both Afghanistan and Pakistan were victims of terrorism and added that there was a need for close cooperation between the two countries to fight this common threat.
The foreign minister added that it was encouraging that a high-level Afghan delegation which visited Islamabad yesterday had productive talks with the Pakistani side and it was agreed to work together to strengthen mutual trust and bilateral engagement.
Afghan Ambassador Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal thanked the foreign minister for his condolences over the recent brutal terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.
Agreeing with the foreign minister about the need for strengthening bilateral engagement, he said the cooperation should be focused on upholding “our mutual commitment for not letting use of our respective soils against each other”.