Taliban deny Pakistan’s claim that Afghans are responsible for attack that killed Chinese dam engineers

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File photo of police officers investigating the scene of the suicide bombing on a highway in Shangla, a district in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on March 26, 2024. | Photo credit: AP

The Taliban Defense Ministry on Wednesday rejected Pakistan’s allegations that Afghans were involved in an attack on Chinese engineers, as ties between the neighbors deteriorate amid rising insecurity.

Pakistan’s military had said at a news conference on Tuesday that a suicide attack in Pakistan’s northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in March, which killed five Chinese engineers, was planned in neighboring Afghanistan and that the bomber was an Afghan national.

“Afghans are not involved in such matters,” said Mufti Enayatullah Khorazmim, the spokesman for Afghanistan’s Taliban-led Ministry of National Defense.

“Blaming Afghanistan for such incidents is a failed attempt to distract from the truth of the matter and we strongly reject it,” he added.

A suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers working on a dam project in northwestern Pakistan in March, killing six people.

“The killing of Chinese citizens in an area of ​​Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under tight security by the Pakistani army shows the weakness of Pakistani security forces,” Khorazmim said.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have deteriorated

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have deteriorated in recent months. Islamabad says Kabul is not doing enough to tackle militant groups targeting Pakistan. Pakistan carried out airstrikes on militants in Afghan territory in March.

Last year, Pakistan deported nearly 3,70,000 undocumented Afghan nationals, saying the majority of suicide bombings against its security forces were carried out by Afghans, a charge Kabul rejected.

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Pakistan’s military spokesman said on Tuesday that the safety of 29,000 Chinese nationals in Pakistan, many of whom are working on infrastructure projects, is the top priority for security institutions.

The Taliban are also seeking economic ties with China, the first country to formally appoint an ambassador to Kabul under the Taliban, and join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China’s $65 billion investment in development and infrastructure.

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