KABUL : Pakistan rejected reports that said it helped the Taliban offensive against resistance forces in Afghanistan’s Panjshir valley as a “mischievous propaganda campaign”. Pakistan foreign spokesperson Asim Iftikhar issued a statement and “categorically rejected these allegations as part of a mischievous propaganda campaign.” “These malicious allegations were part of a desperate attempt to malign Pakistan and to mislead the international community,” he said in the statement.
Iftikhar reiterated that Pakistan is committed to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
The Pakistan military assisted the Taliban offensive in Panjshir with at least 27 helicopters filled with Pakistan Special Forces and also backed the group by drone strikes against the resistance forces, news agency PTI reported citing United States Central Command. Pakistan spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence’s chief Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed also visited Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar a day before the ‘fall’ of Panjshir, though both sides claim that discussions were held regarding the refugee crisis and closed borders at Spin Boldak.
The Taliban said on Monday they seized Panjshir, one of the provinces which was not in their control, after a long drawn fight with the resistance front. Panjshir resistance fighters later, however, claimed that the Taliban have not ‘completely’ captured Panjshir. The National Resistance Front (NRF) leader Ahmad Massoud said that the senior leaders are safe and also called for a “national uprising”.
Panjshir was a centre of resistance during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and during the Taliban’s previous period of rule, between 1996 and 2001 and the rugged mountain valley is home to at least 200,000 citizens.
Meanwhile, Pakistan on Friday said that the international community has a ‘collective responsibility’ to help Afghanistan. The nation’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said it sent a plane carrying food and medicines to Kabul and will also send more aid in the future. He also said that Pakistan wants the international community to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets so that the nation led by the Taliban can use the money to revive the economy.