News Desk: The coming weeks and months will reveal the exact role the United States envisions for Pakistan in Afghanistan after the U.S. military withdrawal is complete.
In a major development, the Afghan Taliban have warned their neighbors against allowing the United States military to operate bases on their soil.
“We urge neighboring countries not to allow anyone to do so,” the Taliban said in a statement.
“If such a step is taken again, it will be a great and historic mistake and disgrace,” the group said, adding that they would “not remain silent in the face of such heinous and provocative acts.”
The statement comes amid speculations that Pakistan may allow the United States to use its soil for counterterrorism operations after American troops complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by September this year. Last week, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific affairs, David F Helvey, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that Pakistan has allowed the U.S. military to use its airspace to support its presence in Afghanistan in the past.
“Pakistan had always allowed overflights and ground access to the U.S. to facilitate its military presence in Afghanistan and would continue to do so,” reported Pakistan’s newspaper Dawn, citing its sources.Earlier this week, Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, told the Senate that Pakistan would not offer its military bases to the U.S. for future counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan.
On Monday, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson rejected reports claiming that the U.S. operates military bases in Pakistan as “baseless and irresponsible speculations.”