In an airstrike conducted by the Afghanistan Air Force on Friday, 112 members of the Taliban group including 30 Pakistanis affiliated to Al-Qaeda network were killed.
The Afghanistan Ministry of Defense confirmed the development in a statement. “112 Taliban terrorists including 30 Pakistani affiliated to Al-Qaeda terrorist network for Indian subcontinent, were killed and 31 others wounded in airstrikes conducted by AAF at the outskirts of Lashkargah city, Helmand provincial center, yesterday,” the ministry tweeted Friday afternoon.
The Afghanistan MoD added that 6 enemy vehicles, 2 motorbikes and a stockpile of the Taliban’s weapons, ammunition & equipment were also destroyed in the airstrikes. In a series of tweets today, the ministry said over 400 more Taliban militants were killed in the AAF strikes.
As the United States inches closer to a full troop drawdown from Afghanistan under a peace deal signed with Taliban in February 2020, the latter has ramped up violent attacks in the country.
Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah Saleh claimed that Pakistan provided “close air support” to the Afghan Taliban after the armed group took over Spin Boldak, a key border crossing between the two countries. Saleh alleged on Thursday that the Pakistan had “issued official warning to the Afghan Army and Air Force that any move to dislodge the Taliban from Spin Boldak area will be faced and repelled by the Pakistan Air Force.”
In a statement, Islamabad rejected the allegations and stated that “Pakistan’s Air Force was restricted to protecting the Pakistani air space.”
“The Afghan side conveyed to Pakistan its intention of carrying out air operation inside its territory opposite Chaman Sector of Pakistan. Pakistan responded positively to Afghan Government’s right to act in its territory. In spite of very close border operations normally not acceded to by internationally accepted norms/standards/procedures, Pakistan took necessary measures within its territory to safeguard our own troops and population,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.
The statement said that Pakistan acknowledged the Afghan government’s “right to undertake actions on its sovereign territory.”’
Islamabad recently completed 90% of a fencing project under which it is building a border with Afghanistan in an attempt to thwart Taliban incursions into Pakistan.