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Air strikes

Taliban says it hit back at Pakistan military after air strikes in Afghanistan kill 8

Taliban says it hit back at Pakistan military after air strikes in Afghanistan kill 8
Taliban security near the Pakistani border in Khost, Afghanistan, 14 August 2023. EPA-EFE/STRINGER

KABUL, March 18 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Taliban said on Monday that Pakistan carried out two air strikes on its territory, killing five women and three children, and its security forces launched heavy weapons at the Pakistani military in retaliation.

The strikes came as the neighbouring countries trade blame over who is responsible for a recent spate of militant attacks in Pakistan. Pakistan says the attacks were launched from Afghan soil, and Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban deny this.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan does not allow anyone to compromise security by using Afghan territory,” Zabiullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Taliban administration, said in a statement. The strikes killed five women and three children in the eastern border provinces of Khost and Paktika, he added.

In another statement, the Taliban defence ministry said it had targeted Pakistani troops at the border in response to the air strikes.

Pakistan’s army and foreign office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the strikes, which come after unknown militants attacked a military post in Pakistan on Saturday, killing seven security forces.

Though it was not immediately clear what prompted that attack, the Pakistani government and security officials say such attacks have risen in recent months, many of them claimed by the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and launched from Afghan soil.

The Afghan Taliban have denied that they allow their territory to be used by militants.

“Pakistan shouldn’t blame Afghanistan for the lack of control, incompetence, and problems in its own territory,” Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said in the statement.

“Such incidents can have very bad consequences which will not be in Pakistan’s control.”

(Reporting by Mohammad Yunus Yawar in Kabul and Charlotte Greenfield in Islambad; Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by YP Rajesh and Clarence Fernandez and Miral Fahmy)

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