The Afghan Taliban’s defense ministry issued a strongly worded albeit ‘diplomatic’ rebuke to Pakistan, after Pakistani interior minister Rana Sanaullah told a private news channel that Pakistan would be well within its rights under international law to strike TTP targets and safe havens inside Afghanistan.
Pakistan Interior Minister, Rana Sanaullah says under international law Pakistan is well within right to hit Pakistani Taliban (TTP) in their safe havens and bases including in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/90vm020DTL
— The Khorasan Diary (@khorasandiary) December 31, 2022
“We have the prerogative to exercise our rights under international law”, Rana Sanaullah said. When asked whether Pakistan could attack TTP havens inside Afghanistan, the interior minister said that the decision would be taken at the appropriate time and with a clear context.
In response, the Taliban’s defense ministry called Rana Sanaullah’s statement “baseless and provocative”, claiming that TTP’s bases are in Waziristan inside Pakistan. The Taliban communique said that statements like Rana Sanaullah’s would only damage “good relations” between the “brotherly neighboring countries”.
اعلامیه وزارت دفاعی ملی در پیوند به گفته های اخیر وزیر داخله پاکستان
وزارت دفاع ملی ، گفته های اخیر وزیر داخله پاکستان را، در باره حضور تی تی پی در افغانستان و به حملهی احتمالی به آنان در داخل افغانستان، تحریک آمیز و بی اساس می داند… pic.twitter.com/gZpCyykGGZ
— د ملي دفاع وزارت – وزارت دفاع ملی (@MoDAfghanistan2) January 1, 2023
The Taliban statement ended with a warning that “Afghanistan is not without its owners” and that the Taliban were “ready to defend the country’s territorial integrity & independence, as we have better experience than anyone in defending our country”.
The TTP announced that it had carried out over 300 attacks across Pakistan during 2022. Pakistan’s military is coming under increased pressure to deal with the return of militants, especially in the tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.