Pakistan carries out airstrikes inside Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan carried out airstrikes inside Afghanistan on Monday in retaliation to the killing of seven soldiers in a recent attack on a security check post that authorities blame on militants based across the border.
Kabul denounced the strikes as a violation of Afghanistan’s territorial integrity and warned that such reckless acts could lead to dire consequences which would then not be in Pakistan’s control.
“The Islamic Emirate strongly condemns the attacks and describes these as non-serious actions and violation of Afghanistan territory,” Zabihullah Mujahid, Afghanistan’s Taliban govt spokesperson, said. “Pakistan should not blame Afghanistan for their problems and failure to control violent incidents. There will be bad consequences for such acts,” he warned.
The spokesperson stated that at “around 3 am, Pakistani aircraft bombarded civilian homes” and that three women and as many children were killed in Barmal district of Afghanistan’s Paktika province and two women were killed in Khost. Paktika shares a border with Pakistan’s South Waziristan district while Khost province is located next to North Waziristan.

A later statement from the Afghan foreign ministry said it had summoned Pakistan’s charge d’affaires and also sent him a letter of protest.
Confirming the airstrikes, Pakistan’s foreign affairs ministry said intelligence-based anti-terrorist operations were carried out Monday morning in the border regions inside Afghanistan.
“Targets of the operation were terrorists belonging to the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group, along with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), militant outfits responsible for multiple terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, resulting in deaths of hundreds of civilians and law enforcement officials,” the ministry said.
“Over the past two years, Pakistan has repeatedly conveyed its serious concerns to Kabul over the presence of terror outfits, including TTP, inside Afghanistan. These terrorists pose a grave threat to our security,” the foreign office said. “We have repeatedly urged Afghan authorities to take concrete and effective action to ensure that their soil is not used as a staging ground for terrorism against Pakistan,” the foreign office statement read, blaming certain elements among those in power in Afghanistan for actively patronising TTP and using the group as a proxy against Pakistan.
The strikes come a day after Pakistan vowed to retaliate to attacks on its forces. Jaish-e-Fursan-e-Muhammad, a militant group led by Hafiz Gul Bahadar, had claimed responsibility for the deadly attack in North Waziristan. Security officials claim the Gul Bahadur group operates from the Afghan side of the border, mostly from Khost, while Paktika has been a TTP stronghold.

“The Pakistani side is saying that (militant) Abdullah Shah was targeted in the strikes but he lives on the Pakistani side. Members of the same tribe live on both sides and routinely move across the border,” Mujahid posted on his X account.
Separately, the Pakistan military said eight terrorists, including a high-value target, were killed in an intelligence-based operation in North Waziristan on the “night (of) March 17/18”.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistan army’s media affairs wing, asserted that the “recent wave of terrorism in Pakistan has the full support and assistance of Afghanistan” but did not comment directly on the strikes, the first since 2022, when Pakistan targeted militant hideouts in Afghanistan.
“The Afghan interim government is not only arming terrorists but also providing safe haven for other terrorist organisations as well as being involved in incidents of terrorism in Pakistan,” it stated.
“With the help of the Afghan Taliban and the supply of modern weapons, there has been an increase in incidents of terrorism in Pakistan,” ISPR said.

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