Taliban will not tolerate invasions from neighbours, says Afghan minister

Taliban will not tolerate invasions from neighbours, says Afghan minister

Afghanistan's acting defence minister said on Sunday that the Taliban administration would not tolerate invasions from its neighours after protesting against airstrikes it says were conducted by neighbouring Pakistan.

The Taliban administration blamed Pakistan for airstrikes that officials say killed dozens in Kunar and Khost provinces. A Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the Afghan defence minister, said that Pakistan, which has not confirmed any involvement in airstrikes inside Afghanistan's borders, is a brotherly country. The two countries have faced problems and challenges from both the world and our neighbors, and the invasion by them in our territory in Kunar is a clear example, according to Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, acting Afghan defence minister.

We can't tolerate the invasion. We have tolerated that attack. He said that we tolerated that because of national interests, next time we might not tolerate it.

Pakistan's foreign office spokeswoman said when asked for comment on Yaqoob's comments that Pakistan hoped for longterm engagement with Afghanistan to secure peace.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are brotherly countries. The governments and people of both countries consider terrorism a serious threat and that it is important that our two countries cooperate in a meaningful way in countering cross border terrorism and taking action against terrorist groups on their soil, the spokesperson said.

The Taliban administration's foreign ministry called in Pakistan's ambassador to protest against the strikes. Local officials said the strikes by Pakistani military helicopters killed 36 people.

The UN children's agency head in Afghanistan said 20 children were killed in airstrikes in Kunar and Khost on April 16.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August, there have been numerous standoffs along the 2,600 km 1,615 mile border with Pakistan - drawn by British colonial rulers and disputed by Kabul.

The Pakistan military has increased operations along the Afghan border in recent months because of continuing attacks.