ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday termed as "against the spirit of friendly relations" the recent remarks by the Taliban's Deputy Foreign Minister Sher Abbas Stanikzai, in which he had called on Pakistan not to “interfere” in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
Stanikzai's statement this week referred to the concern shared by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif regarding the threat posed by militant groups operating from the neighboring country during the latter's address with the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 23.
In response, Pakistan's foreign office on Friday stressed the need for Afghan interim authorities to take necessary steps to address international expectations and concerns.
“This is very unfortunate and unacceptable. We have noted with concern, these recent remarks,” Pakistan foreign office spokesperson, Asim Iftikhar Ahmed, said at a weekly press briefing.
"We consider such statements as against the spirit of friendly relations between our two brotherly countries"."
Stanikzai had said that they condemned the Pakistan prime minister’s statement and that no one had the right to "interfere" in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
“Obviously there is no interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. To the contrary, our Afghan friends are well aware of Pakistan’s support and advocacy for Afghanistan, for the international community to engage positively and constructively with Afghanistan, given the serious challenges, the economic situation and the humanitarian situation that is faced by the Afghan people,” Ahmed said.
“I think it is very clear that it is in the interest of the people of Afghanistan that Pakistan has been advocating constructive international engagement. We have played our role in this regard.”
In his UNGA address, PM Sharif had said that Pakistan shared the key concern of the international community regarding the threat posed by "major terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan, especially ISIL-K and TTP as well as Al-Qaida, ETIM and IMU."
“They all need to be dealt with comprehensively, with the support and cooperation of the Interim Afghan authorities. In turn, the international community should address Afghanistan’s dire humanitarian needs,” he had said.
Also on Friday, Pakistan condemned a “terrorist attack” on an educational institute in the Afghan capital of Kabul, which killed at least 19 people.
"The government and people of Pakistan extend their profound and heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and pray for early recovery of the injured," Islamabad said in a statement.
"We stand in complete solidarity with our Afghan brethren in the fight against the scourge of terrorism."