Afghan Vice-President Amrullah Saleh has claimed that the Pakistani airforce is helping the Taliban in their nationwide offensive. He said that the Pakistani airforce is providing aerial support to the Taliban on the ground, adding that the Pakistani authorities have warned the Afghan airforces of serious repercussions if they attack the Taliban stronghold in Spin Baldok.
Amrullah Saleh has been a vocal critic of the Pakistani authorities for orchestrating the nationwide Taliban offensive in Afghanistan. “Can Taliban convince a single Afg including themselves that they aren’t puppets of Rawalpindi’s GHQ ? They are just a kill & destruction squad in the hands of Pak which badly needs a victory to overcome the crisis of identity & self confidence. Watch Pak media to verify this”, Saleh said in a tweet.
Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Saleh claimed that the Pakistani airforce has threatened the Afghan airforce of serious repercussions if they attacked the Taliban stronghold in Spin Baldok, the town straddling the Afghan side of the Pak-Afghan border which the Taliban acquired on Wednesday morning. Spin Baldok-Chaman crossing is the second busiest crossing into Afghanistan and accounts for most of the trade between both countries. Experts argue that this crossing will yield significant revenue to the Taliban in terms of taxes and customs.
Saleh said in the tweet that the Pakistan airforce has warned the Afghan airforce of launching an offensive against the Taliban. “Pak air force is now providing close air support to Taliban in certain areas”, he said. Saleh added that the Pakistani forces have threatened their Afghan counterparts to back off or face missiles.
Pakistani authorities have not yet addressed the accusations.
Amrullah Saleh has been very critical of the Pakistani authorities – the military establishment in particular – and their alleged role in assisting the Taliban in Afghanistan. He has called the Taliban “puppets of the GHQ” and accused Pakistan of pulling the strings.
He once said in a tweet that the Pakistani authorities are maintaining a semblance of a mediator, but there is no sincerity in their efforts. “Every time US asks/puts pressure on Pak to bring Talibs to meaningful negotiations ISI openly goes to Qatar to persuade them to ‘talk’. Then Talibs from Qatar come to Islamabad to take permission from their leaders. It is really funny. Why doesn’t ISI summon them from Pesh/Queta”, he said.
In another tweet, the Afghan vice-president said that he can see a sense of schadenfreude among the Pakistani ruling elite as the Taliban overrun district after district in Afghanistan. “As the Talibs have made some advances I see euphoria & excitement in statements of Pakistani leaders, particularly elements of the deep state/establishment.They are once again mistaking the battle 4 war & a group with a nation. They are once again losing Afg & propping a proxy”, he said.
Many argue that Pakistan, on its part, has not done enough to bring peace and stability to the region. The Taliban leadership in the past has been known to travel in and out of Pakistan through the permeable Pak-Afghan border without much resistance. Taliban leadership has come to Balochistan for medical treatment and recruiting soldiers for their army.
As the Taliban were relentlessly blitzkrieging through Afghanistan in the past few days, their admirers and supporters on this side of the border could not contain their excitement and euphoria. In Quetta, Balochitan’s capital, Taliban apologists held a massive rally. They marched on the roads, burnishing the Taliban flag and raising pro-Taliban slogans. The police and other law enforcement agencies – which are quick to act when it comes to protests organized for Baloch missing persons – did not raise a finger to put an end to the pro-Taliban rally.
A similar rally was also carried out in Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.