Pakistan on Wednesday hit out angrily at a leaked NATO report accusing its spies of secretly aiding the Afghan Taliban, saying that pre-dawn air strikes killed at least 20 local Taliban fighters.
Taliban captives said Islamabad was using a web of intermediaries and spies to provide strategic advice to the Taliban on fighting US and NATO troops.
“This is frivolous, to put it mildly. We are committed to non-interference in Afghanistan and expect all other states to strictly adhere to this principle,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told AFP.
A senior security official condemned the leak, as reported by the BBC, which also broadcast a documentary “Secret Pakistan” last year accusing parts of Pakistan’s intelligence service of complicity with Taliban militants.
“The report is not available, leaks not worth commenting,” he told AFP.
A meeting Wednesday between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar was likely to be overshadowed by the NATO report, despite being billed as an effort to get relations back on track.
“We are also committed to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process,” Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Wednesday’s talks follow reports that Islamabad and Kabul are keen to open peace talks with the Taliban in Saudi Arabia, separate to US talks in Qatar.
Both countries are wary of being sidelined from American peace efforts, focused first on securing an exchange of prisoners with the Taliban.
Security officials told AFP that Pakistani warplanes carried out pre-dawn air strikes killing at least 20 Taliban insurgents on Wednesday and that there were reports that a key TTP commander was among the dead.
The officials said jets bombed four hideouts in Orakzai belonging to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commanders Mulla Tufan and Moinuddin at around midnight (1900 GMT Tuesday).
“Bases of TTP commanders Mulla Tufan and Moinuddin were destroyed. Reportedly, commander Moinuddin, along with more than 20 terrorists, have been killed,” one of the officials told AFP.