Afghan Taliban leader hopes Shehbaz’s election as PM will cement bilateral ties

The head of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan, in a statement issued on Friday said he hoped that the election of Shehbaz Sharif as Pakistan’s prime minister would give a boost to bilateral relations.

The message from Mullah Hasan comes amid rising tensions between the two countries over a spike in attacks on Pakistan forces which Pakistan says are being conducted from inside Afghanistan by the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

“On behalf of the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, let me extend my heartfelt congratulations to you on your appointment as the 23rd Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” Hasan, who is the head of the Taliban council of ministers, said.

“Your appointment (as the Prime Minister) is a good and valuable step,” he said, adding that he hoped “it will strengthen bilateral ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan and lead to the development, prosperity and good relations between the two brotherly nations.”

“It is worth mentioning that, on behalf of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, I would like to assure you that good and comprehensive relations between the two brotherly nations and the Muslim neighbouring countries would be further enhanced and strengthened.”

The Taliban leader wished for the prosperity and well-being of the brotherly people of Pakistan.

On Sunday, the Foreign Office said incidents along with Pak-Afghan border had significantly increased in the last few days, wherein Pakistani security forces were being targeted from across the border.

The FO spokesman said Pakistan had repeatedly requested the Afghan Government in the last few months to secure the Pak-Afghan border region and that terrorists were using Afghan soil with impunity to carry out activities inside Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Taliban have said they want to resolve any tension with Pakistan through dialogue.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan territory against other countries, particularly against its neighbours,” said a Taliban commentary posted on Afghanistan’s official news agency Bakhtar following Pakistan’s recent statements that terrorists were using Afghanistan soil against Pakistan.

“As the focus of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s foreign policy is neutrality and non-interference in the affairs of others, the leaders of IEA have repeatedly accentuated that they will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan’s territory against other countries, particularly against its neighbours,” it said.

Talking about Islamabad’s stance that the TTP militants are hiding in Afghanistan and have carried out terrorist attacks against Pakistan from time to time, the Taliban commentary said the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan rejects Pakistan’s claim and has repeatedly called on Pakistan to resolve any problems and misunderstandings through constructive dialogue to ensure greater security in the region.”

“Although the dilemma between the TTP and the Pakistani government is an internal matter, the IEA wants a healthy solution that benefits both the region and the people of Pakistan,” it further said.

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