Afghanistan claims it has proof attackers trained in Pakistan


Head of Afghanistan's spy agency Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai.— File photo

 KABUL: Afghanistan has handed “undeniable” evidence to Pakistan that it claims shows a recent spate of deadly attacks were planned on Pakistani soil, Afghan officials said Thursday.

Kabul is on edge after militants stormed a luxury hotel, bombed a crowded street and raided a military compound in the past two weeks.

Afghan authorities have blamed the January 20 attack on the Intercontinental hotel and Saturday’s ambulance bombing on the Haqqani Network.

Both attacks have been claimed by the Taliban. The Haqqani leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is deputy chief of the Taliban.

Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, the head of Afghanistan’s spy agency alleged Thursday it was clear that the attacks were “planned from across the border”.

“We asked Pakistan to hand over the culprits of the attacks in Afghanistan and we shared undeniable evidence that the attacks were planned there,” Stanekzai said, a day after meeting with top Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

Afghan Interior Minister Wais Barmak said the Afghans submitted a list of questions during Wednesday’s “constructive” one-hour meeting.

The Pakistani embassy in Kabul said the information provided by Stanekzai was “being examined for its authenticity”.

Pakistani foreign minister Khawaja Asif described the talks with the Afghan delegation as “productive”, a ministry statement said.

Kabul has long accused Islamabad of providing safe havens to leaders of the Taliban and other militant groups.

Pakistan denies the charges, insisting it has eradicated safe havens in the tribal region along the border with Afghanistan.

Earlier this week a foreign ministry spokesman tweeted that in November 2017 Pakistan had handed over 27 suspected Afghan Taliban or Haqqani Network militants. It did not offer further details.

Meanwhile in Kabul anger is growing after attacks, which together killed more than 130 people in the capital, with many people taking to social media to express their grief and rage. — AFP