Afghan Taliban warns Pakistan after reports of air, ground access to US troops

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The Afghan Taliban has issued a warning to Pakistan after reports that Islamabad is granting air and ground access to US troops emerged.

Earlier it was reported that Pakistan has allowed the US military to use its airspace and given ground access so that it can support its presence in Afghanistan, according to a Pentagon official.

David F. Helvey, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee last week that the United States would continue its conversation with Pakistan because it had a critical role in restoring peace to Afghanistan, Dawn newspaper reported.

“Pakistan has played an important role in Afghanistan. They supported the Afghan peace process. Pakistan also has allowed us to have overflight and access to be able to support our military presence in Afghanistan,” Helvey was quoted as saying by the Pakistani newspaper.

Reacting to the report, Taliban urged the ‘neighbouring countries not to allow anyone to do so.’

In a statement, the militant group said, “God forbid, if such a step is taken once again, it will be a great and historic mistake and disgrace, that will be inscribed in history.”

Adding that the “Muslim and Mujahid nation” of Afghanistan will “not remain silent before such “heinous and provocative acts”, “rather, it will fulfill its religious and historical responsibilities in the same way as it has performed throughout history.”

The Afghan militia further said, “As we have repeatedly assured others that our soil will not be used against security of others, we are similarly urging others not to use their soil and airspace against our country. If such a step is taken, then the responsibility for all the misfortunes and difficulties lies upon those who commit such mistakes.”

Taliban has not named Pakistan in its statement, but referred to reports that Pakistan was allowing air and ground access to US troops.

Pakistan has however denied any such reports, Foreign Office Spokesperson of Pakistan, Zahid Hafeez Chaudri denied media reports about the presence of a US military or air base inside Pakistan, saying such baseless speculations must be avoided.

In a series of tweets, Chaudhri stated: “There is no US military or airbase in #Pakistan; nor is any such proposal envisaged.”

He added, “Any speculation on this account is baseless and irresponsible and should be avoided.”

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