The Taliban militant group has issued a warning to Pakistan after reports of increased military cooperation between American and Pakistani forces.
In an apparent reference to Pakistan, the Taliban in a statement on Wednesday urged the neighboring countries not to allow air and ground access to US troops in the wake of their withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“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.”
“Muslim 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 statement assured that the Afghan soil will be used as a launchpad for attacks against any other country.
“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.”
A Pentagon official has said Pakistan has allowed the US military to use its airspace and given ground access so that it can support its presence in Afghanistan.
David F Helvey, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee last week that the United States would continue to hold dialog on Afghanistan with Pakistani armed forces, which play a significant role in restoring peace to the war-torn country.
“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.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudri said in an official statement on Monday that any speculation in regard to US military bases or air bases in Pakistan was both "baseless and irresponsible."
"There is no US military or air base in Pakistan, nor was any such proposal envisaged. Any speculation on this account is baseless and irresponsible and should be avoided,” the statement read.
All foreign troops were supposed to have been withdrawn by May 1, as part of an agreement that the US had reached with the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha, last year. But US President Joe Biden last month pushed that date back to September 11.
The Taliban warned that the passing of the May 1 deadline for a complete withdrawal “opened the way for” the militants to take every counteraction they deemed appropriate against foreign forces in the county.