Taliban accuses Pakistan of providing airspace for US drones in Afghanistan
Kabul, Afghanistan - Taliban defense minister Mullah Yaqoob Mujahid on Sunday accused Pakistan of providing its airspace for US drone operations in Afghanistan and called on the neighboring country to stop doing so.
"They [the US aircraft] are using Pakistani airspace to reach us. We demand Pakistan not to use its airspace against us," he told reporters during a televised press conference in Kabul.
Yaqoob is the son of late Taliban founder Mullah Omar and considered to be the second most powerful Taliban military leader.
He said the country's radar system was destroyed when the Americans withdrew from Afghanistan last year, but intelligence sources suggested that US drones were entering through Pakistan, which Yaqoob called a "clear violation."
Washington and Islamabad have not reacted to the comments.
Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden announced that a US drone strike killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul’s diplomatic enclave. The Taliban condemned the attack and said their leadership was not aware of his presence.
Yaqoob told reporters on Sunday the Taliban was still investigating the killing of al-Zawahiri.
The Taliban, who are accused of maintaining ties with al-Qaeda, retook power during the chaotic withdrawal of the US-led NATO forces in August 2021. Since then, no country has officially recognized their de facto government.
Cover photo: Ahmad SAHEL ARMAN / AFP