Taliban accuses Pakistan of allowing U.S. drones to use its airspace

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KABUL, Aug. 28 (Reuters) – The acting Taliban defense minister said on Sunday that Pakistan had allowed US drones to use its airspace to access Afghanistan, which Pakistan’s foreign minister denied.

Pakistani authorities have previously denied involvement in or advanced knowledge of a United States drone strike in Kabul in July that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Afghan acting defense minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob told a news conference in Kabul that US drones had entered Afghanistan via Pakistan.

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“According to our information, the drones are coming to Afghanistan through Pakistan, they are using Pakistan’s airspace, we ask Pakistan, don’t use your airspace against us,” he said.

A spokesman for the US Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari told Reuters that he had carried out checks after the airstrike and was told that Pakistani airspace was not being used. He said he would check again after Sunday’s allegations, but expected the position to be the same.

“I really don’t believe this is a time when I want to argue with anyone or make accusations… to be honest, I’m focused on flood relief,” Bhutto-Zardari said in an interview. referring to deadly floods in Pakistan that have left millions of people homeless.

“The Afghan regime has promised not only to its own people but also to the international community that they will not allow their land to be used by terrorists,” he said.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it took note of Yaqoob’s comments with “deep concern”.

“In the absence of any evidence, as the Afghan minister himself acknowledges, such suspicions are deeply regrettable and defy the standards of responsible diplomatic conduct,” the statement said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the Taliban have “grossly violated” a 2020 agreement on the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan by harboring and harboring Zawahiri.

The Taliban said they are investigating the July airstrike and have not found the body of the al-Qaeda leader.

Yaqoob’s comments could exacerbate tensions between Afghanistan and its neighbor at a time when the Afghan Taliban is brokering talks between Pakistan and a Pakistani militant group of the Taliban.

Afghanistan, which is experiencing an acute economic crisis, is also heavily dependent on trade with Pakistan.

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Reporting by Mohammad Yunus Yawar; Additional reporting by Jonathan Landay and Charlotte Greenfield; Writing by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Catherine Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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