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Taliban accuses Pakistani airstrikes of killing Afghan civilians

A wounded boy receives treatment at a hospital following Pakistani airstrikes, in Khost, Afghanistan, on April 16, 2022. (AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Taliban-led Afghanistan accused Pakistan of airstrikes that killed dozens of Afghan civilians in Khost and Kunar provinces and warned of “bad consequences” if such attacks continue, according to spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed.

The Taliban strongly condemned the “brutal” attacks and called on Pakistan “not to test the patience of Afghans on such issues,” Mujahed said in a WhatsApp message sent to reporters, adding that similar incidents could “stoke enmity” between the neighboring nations.

Dozens of Afghans were killed or wounded in airstrikes in the early hours of Saturday, local news channel Tolonews reported, citing residents of the provinces. The attacks prompted hundreds of civilians in northeastern Khost that borders Pakistan to pour into the streets and chant anti-Pakistan slogans later on Saturday.

The statement marks the first direct warning from the Taliban amid an uptick in tensions between the two countries since the former swept to power last August in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Washington has previously accused Pakistan of militarily and financially supporting the Taliban in the war in Afghanistan over the past two decades.

The Taliban Foreign Ministry summoned Pakistan’s ambassador in Kabul, Mansoor Ahmad Khan, to protest the attacks.

Islamabad has not commented on the alleged attacks. The country has beefed up military strikes against Pakistani Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, which operates across the porous borders with Afghanistan and seeks to overthrow Pakistan’s government.

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