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Pakistan conducts airstrikes inside Afghanistan, eight people killed

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Islamabad/Kabul, March 18: Pakistan on Monday carried out airstrikes inside Afghanistan that killed eight civilians, including three children, Afghan Taliban said, amidst a war of words between the two neighbours for a spate of recent militant attacks in restive Pakistani cities. A senior Afghan interim government official on Monday confirmed that strikes in the Afghanistan provinces of Paktika and Khost along the Pakistan border have taken place. There was no immediate reaction from the Pakistani side. Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson of the Afghan rulers, alleged in a statement that Pakistani aircraft had carried out the airstrikes, the Dawn newspaper reported from Kabul. At “around 3 am, Pakistani aircraft bombarded civilian homes” in Khost and Paktika provinces near the border with Pakistan, said Afghan interim government spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, claiming that all eight people killed were women and children. Mujahid said that Pakistani planes had bombed the Laman area in Paktika’s Barmal district. Alleging that “houses of common people were targeted”, he said three women and three children were killed in Paktika and a house collapsed while two women were killed in Khost, where a house was destroyed as well. “The Islamic Emirate strongly condemns the attacks and describes these as non-serious actions and violation of Afghanistani territory,” Mujahid said.
The spokesperson asked Pakistan to stop blaming Afghanistan for its problems and failure to control violent incidents. “Such acts can lead to dire consequences which will not be in control of Pakistan,” he warned.
The strikes come a day after President Asif Ali Zardari vowed retaliation following the killing of seven soldiers, including two officers, in a terrorist attack on a security forces’ post in North Waziristan. Offering the funeral prayers of the two officers, Zardari on Sunday said that the blood of the martyrs would not go in vain and the country would avenge the deaths. The president said Pakistan would not hesitate to strike back if attacked by anyone at borders or inside its territory. Pakistan had hoped that the Afghan Taliban after coming to power in Kabul in 2022 would stop the use of their soil against Pakistan by expelling the TTP operatives. However, Islamabad says Kabul has refused to rein in the TTP. (PTI)

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