Taliban talks peace, urges Pakistan and Iran to show restraint

Amid heightened tensions between Pakistan and Iran, Afghanistan’s Taliban administration has urged the two countries to show restraint.

Taliban spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi on Thursday tweeted, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers the recent violence between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan alarming, and calls on the two neighboring countries to exercise restraint.”

“In light of the region’s newfound peace and stability after protracted imposed wars and instability, both sides should direct efforts towards further strengthening regional stability and resolving disputes through diplomatic channels and dialogue,” he further added.

Tensions between Pakistan and Iran started after Tehran launched airstrikes on Pakistan that it claimed targeted bases for a militant Sunni separatist group. Islamabad angrily denounced the attack as a “blatant violation” of its airspace and said it killed two children.

strike on Pakistan’s restive southwestern Baluchistan province imperiled diplomatic relations between the two neighbors, but both sides appeared wary of provoking the other. Iran and nuclear-armed Pakistan have long regarded each other with suspicion over militant attacks.

The attack also threatened to further ignite violence in a Middle East unsettled by Israel’s ongoing war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Iran launched strikes late Monday in Iraq and Syria over an Islamic State-claimed suicide bombing that killed over 90 people earlier this month.

After the attacks, Pakistan yesterday recalled its ambassador to Tehran.

Iranian state media reports, which were later withdrawn without explanation, said the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard targeted bases belonging to the militant group Jaish al-Adl, or the “Army of Justice.” The group, which seeks an independent Baluchistan and has spread across Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, acknowledged the assault in a statement shared online.

Six bomb-carrying drones and rockets struck homes that the militants claim housed children and wives of their fighters. Jaish al-Adl said the attack killed two children and wounded two women and a teenage girl.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian acknowledged Tehran carried out the attacks in Pakistan while speaking to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He defended the action while repeatedly being told by the interviewer that Pakistan had condemned the attack.

“Regarding Pakistan, none of the nationals of our neighbor, brother and friend Pakistan were the target of Iran’s drones and missiles,” Amirabdollahian said. “We have discussed them with Pakistan’s high-ranking military, security and political officials. Our response is against Iranian terrorists inside Pakistani soil.”

Iran also said Revolutionary Guard forces killed a suspected Jaish al-Adl member in the city of Rask near the Pakistani border. Activists had described seeing drones and aircraft overhead at the site.

As per analysts, a military response from Pakistan is unlikely as the country’s air defense and missile systems are primarily deployed along the eastern border to respond to potential threats from India. Cash-strapped Pakistan also cannot afford a war with Iran. But it might consider taking some measures to respond to such strikes from its western border with Afghanistan and Iran, Pakistani defense analyst Syed Muhammad Ali told AP.

With AP Inputs

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