| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Taliban accuses Pakistan of allowing U.S. drones to use its airspace

The Taliban’s acting defence ministry said on Sunday that Pakistan has enabled American drones to enter its airspace to access Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan has recently refuted in the aftermath of a US air strike in Kabul.

At a news conference in Kabul, acting Defense Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob warned reporters that American drones were infiltrating Afghanistan through Pakistan.

“According to our information the drones are entering through Pakistan to Afghanistan, they use Pakistan’s airspace, we ask Pakistan, don’t use your airspace against us,” he said.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pakistani authorities have denied involvement in or advanced knowledge of a drone strike the United States said it carried out in Kabul in July that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Yaqoob’s comments could exacerbate tension between the neighbouring nations at a time when the Afghan Taliban is mediating talks between Pakistan and a Pakistani Taliban militant group. Afghanistan also relies heavily on trade with Pakistan as the country experiences an economic crisis.

The Taliban said it is investigating the July air strike and that it has not found the Al Qaeda leader’s body.

  • Reuters