Pakistan on Monday said it will share crucial evidence of involvement of Afghanistan-based Taliban militants in the deadly terror attack on its air force base in Peshawar with the neighbouring country but decided against lodging a strong protest.
The decision was taken at a high level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and attended by Cabinet ministers, army chief, intelligence chiefs and other civil and military officials.
“Pakistan will only share evidences with the Afghan government and will actively pursue the case instead of lodging a protest,” said a source, who attended the meeting that came three days after Taliban militants stormed an air force base in Badhaber that killed at least 42 people, including 23 air force personnel.
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“Due to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s weak writ, Pakistan’s protest with Afghanistan on Badhaber attack will be more harmful than beneficial,” the source added.
A statement issued at the end of the meeting indirectly mentioned the sharing of evidence with Afghanistan.
“The meeting reviewed overall security situation in the country, sharing of evidences with Afghanistan, border management strategy with Afghanistan and implementation of National Action Plan (NAP),” the statement said.
Last night, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that initial probe into the attack proved terrorists’ contacts within Afghanistan.
“There are evidences that terrorists had telephonic contacts within Afghanistan. Since Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan leadership is in Afghanistan, the possibility of terrorists’ contacts within Afghanistan cannot be ruled out,” he said while speaking to a private TV channel.
At least 42 people, including 23 air force personnel, were killed last Friday when heavily-armed Taliban militants donning military uniforms stormed a Air Force base near Peshawar and a mosque inside the compound.
The security forces killed 13 attackers in the bloody gun battle that followed.
Pakistan maintains that the attack was planned by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants hiding in Afghanistan, though Kabul has denied the charges.
It is the second major attacked for which Afghanistan was blamed after deadly Peshawar school attack in December, resulting in killing of 150 people, mostly students.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan routinely accuse each other of terrorist attacks executed on their soil.