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Taliban-Pakistan tensions zoom with founder Mullah Omar’s son stepping into the fray

Taliban-Pakistan tensions zoom with founder Mullah Omar’s son stepping into the fray

The Taliban’s defence minister Mullah Yaqoob has warned Pakistan not to attack inside Afghanistan again. Referring to the recent air and drone strikes in Kunar and Khost regions of Afghanistan, the son of Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taliban  said:  “We can't tolerate the invasion. We have tolerated that attack. We tolerated that because of national interests, next time we might not tolerate it. We are facing problems and challenges from both the world and our neighbours, the clear example is invasion by them in our territory in Khost and Kunar."  Mullah Yaqoob, read out the riot order to Pakistan at a ceremony in Kabul commemorating the anniversary of the death of his father, Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Mullah Yaqoob put his forces on alert, when he  asked his fighters deployed on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to be vigilant and be ready for any eventuality. He also warned Pakistan not to aggravate the situation by fencing on the Durand Line- the disputed border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Piqued by Mullah Yaqoob’s warning, Pakistan lashed out by warning  the Afghan Taliban in clear terms to take firm action against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)—a terror group that has been targeting Pakistani forces across the Durand Line by adopting guerrilla warfare tactics. In response Paksitan has carried out air strikes on Afghan soil, apparently targeting TTP strongholds.

 The Pakistanins warned their one-time proteges, now turned rogue, to be ready to  face  consequences as the situation on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border Durand Line has been worsening, “which is very alarming.” 

The back and forth between the two has escalated after the TTP killed three Pak soldiers on Saturday to avenge the Pakistani airstrikea. On April 14, seven Pakistani soldiers were killed  in a similar  attack. After that targeting, Pakistan carried out air strikes in Kunar and Khost provinces of Afghanistan to eliminate the terrorist hideouts.

“Our demand is clear that these groups must be eliminated or dealt with in a manner that they never pose threat to us again," Express Tribune quoted a Pakistani army official as saying. 

Pakistan in recent months has been increasingly frustrated by the Taliban government's reluctance to distance from TTP and other groups.

According to Pakistani watchers, it appears that after several months of failed efforts to deal with TTP, Islamabad's patience with the Taliban government is running out fast. After the Taliban's August takeover, Pakistan hoped the Taliban would restrain the TTP out of gratitude for Pakistan’s help and support for the insurgency. But the Taliban did the opposite, by enabling the TTP’s buildup of a credible war machine in Afghanistan.

Also Read : TTP hits back–kills 3 soldiers to avenge Pak airstrikes in Afghanistan.

According to Pakistani officials, because of their “behaviour”, the world has not recognised the Taliban regime and "it only makes their (Taliban) case difficult as far as the recognition is concerned," said the official. 

Also Read : Pak-Afghanistan rift widens with the Taliban’s refusal handover TTP militants after air strikes