‘Afghan Land Will Not Be Used Against Pakistan’

The Taliban have reiterated their commitment to addressing Pakistan’s security concerns in the wake of the capture of Panjshir province, the last stronghold of resistance against the new regime in Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a press conference on Monday that Pakistan’s concerns on various issues were “justified” and added that, “the issues on which Pakistan is concerned will be resolved. Our land will not be used against Pakistan.”

He also urged Pakistan to keep borders open for the Afghans. “A Pakistani delegation came to Afghanistan to discuss the law and order situation. The delegation talked to us about security and other issues. Pakistan is requested to keep the borders open for the Afghans,” he said.

This assurance to Pakistan comes after Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said in Islamabad that the suicide bombers in the recent Gwadar and Quetta terrorist incidents had been identified and added that they had come from Afghanistan.

The Taliban spokesperson also assured residents of Panjshir that they would be safe, but warned them to refrain from launching any insurgency. He also said that the new government would be announced as soon as some technical issues were resolved.

TTP issues warning to Pakistani media

The proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has issued a warning to national media, asking journalists to refrain from calling them a “terrorist outfit.”

In a statement released on social media, TTP spokesman Mohammad Khurasani reportedly said that they were monitoring media coverage which was labelling the TTP with “hateful” titles, such as “terrorists and extremists.”

“Such terms show a partisan role of media and journalists,” the spokesman said.

The TTP became known as a terrorist outfit after it launched attacks on civilians and was banned by the Pakistani government. The TTP, a group of various militant outfits, was formed in 2007 and the federal government declared it a proscribed organisation in August 2008. Baitullah Mehsud was the first chief of the TTP who was killed in a US drone attack in 2009.

In 2014, under the National Action Plan, the government banned other offshoots of the TTP and stopped media from what it called “glorification of militants.”

Several Pakistani journalists have been assassinated, wounded and kidnapped in the war against terrorism across the country, with at least 30 killed in militancy and acts of targeted killing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone.