On Friday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani accused Pakistan of providing support to the Taliban and called on Islamabad to use its influence to push for peace.
“Intelligence estimates indicate the influx of over 10,000 jihadi fighters from Pakistan and other places in the last month, as well as, support from their affiliates and the transnational terrorist organizations,” Ghani said at a summit in Uzbekistan.
The Taliban and the Afghan government have been fighting over the Spin Boldak border crossing with Pakistan. On Thursday, Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah Saleh accused Pakistan of giving the Taliban air support in the fighting, which Pakistan denied.
Saleh said Islamabad had issued a warning to the Afghan army that any move to “dislodge the Taliban from Spin Boldak” would be repelled by the Pakistani air force. Pakistan’s foreign ministry denied the charge and said its air force was restricted to protecting Pakistan’s air space.
“Pakistan responded positively to Afghan government’s right to act in its territory. In spite of very close border operations normally not acceded to by internationally accepted norms/standards/procedures, Pakistan took necessary measures within its territory to safeguard our own troops and population,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said.
A report from Afghanistan’s Tolo News said the Afghan government “aborted” airstrikes after warnings from Pakistan that Afghan warplanes were too close to its border. A document obtained by Tolo said the Pakistanis warned the planes not to come within 18 kilometers (11.1 miles) of the border.