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RFE/RL Gandhara

Afghanistan Expresses Concern Over Videos Of Taliban Leaders Visiting Members in Pakistan

By RFE/RL December 25, 2020

The Afghan government has expressed "great concern" over video footage released in which Taliban leaders are apparently meeting their members in Pakistan.

"The overt presence and activities of Afghan insurgent elements and their leaders in Pakistani territory clearly violate Afghanistan's national sovereignty," the Afghan Foreign Ministry said in a statement on December 25.

"We urge the Pakistani government not to allow its territory to be used by insurgents and elements who insist on continuing the war and bloodshed," the statement added.

Afghanistan has repeatedly accused Pakistan of providing support and safe havens to the Taliban, a claim denied by Islamabad.

Kabul says the presence of the Taliban leadership and their sanctuaries in Pakistan poses a serious challenge to achieving sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan.

This week, video footage emerged on social media showing Taliban deputy leader Abdul Ghani Baradar among a group of people apparently in the Pakistani city of Karachi in which he said that the group makes all decisions related to the Afghan peace process after consulting its leadership based in Pakistan.

The Taliban confirmed Baradar's visit to a hospital in Pakistan during a Taliban delegation's trip to the country in mid-December. The group said Baradar had met with patients and Afghan refugees.

Another video showed Taliban leader Mullah Fazal Akhund, also the group's peace negotiator, meeting Taliban members in a training camp at an undisclosed location, which is said to be in Pakistan.

Violence in Afghanistan has skyrocketed in recent months even as the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators try to hammer out a peace deal that could put an end to decades of war.

The peace talks in the Gulf state of Qatar were suspended earlier this month, three months after they began. They are expected to resume in January.

With reporting by dpa and Tolonews

Source: https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/afghanistan-videos- -taliban-leaders-visiting-pakistan -concern-expressed/31019021.html

Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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