Pakistan's conflict with the Taliban turned in the wrong direction on Friday, when Pakistani helicopters were reported to have flown across the border to start an attack on several areas in the provinces of eastern Khost, as well as Kunar.
Afghan provincial officials have claimed that over 40 civilians were killed in a Pakistani attack, among them were several children.
The Pakistani military advised the “government of Afghanistan” (the Taliban) to “secure the Pak-Afghan Border region and take stern actions against the individuals involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan.”
Based on information from Pakistani officials, the strikes were initiated in retaliation for the murder of 7 Pakistani soldiers, who died at the at the hands of “terrorists operating from Afghanistan.”
“Unfortunately, elements of banned terrorist groups in the border region, including TTP, have continued to attack Pakistan's border security posts, resulting in the martyrdom of several Pakistani troops,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said.
“TTP” refers to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, and is sometimes referred to as the “Pakistani Taliban,” a militant group whose declared goal is to topple Pakistan's Islamist administration that governs Pakistan to be replaced by the Islamic “caliphate.”
The TTP in response to the airstrikes is accusing Pakistan of cowardice and war crimes.
“We want to tell the Pakistani army that every war has a principle and Pakistan has violated every principle of war up to date. We challenge the Pakistan army to fight us in the battlefield instead of bombing oppressed people and refugee camps,” an TTP spokesperson said on Saturday.
Its “Foreign Ministry ” on Saturday requested a Pakistani ambassador to denounce the strikes on Khost and Kunar, sending an official letter of protest to the Pakistani government.
“All military encroachments including those in Kunar and Khost provinces must be prevented as acts as such will deteriorate bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Deterioration of relations will have dire consequences,” declared the Taliban militant organization's “foreign minister,” Amir Khan Muttaqi.
“The defeat of the United States eight months ago was a good lesson to aggressors who want to disrespect Afghanistan's territory and freedom,” in a statement released by the Taliban.
On Sunday, the Afghan Mission in the United Nations condemned the Pakistani strikes for violating international law and in violation of the U.N. charter, and the territorial integrity of Afghanistan.
“Pakistan's rockets have claimed the lives of scores of civilians in Afghanistan's eastern provinces over the past 20 years. Killings of civilians and assault on territorial integrity have no justification,” the Afghan statement to the U.N. said.
Pakistan went through a change of the leadership in the last week of this month, when the country's Prime Secretary Imran Khan was removed by the parliamentary vote of no confidence. He was replaced by Shehbaz Sharif, who is the younger cousin of the former Khan's successor Nawaz Sharif.
Khan was a former athlete and aristocratic child who was himself an open Islamist as a prime minister. He welcomed the Taliban overthrow of Afghanistan in August 2021 as victory against and against the “mental slavery” of the West. Shehbaz Sharif is a more business-oriented politician, who has stated that he wants to have a more “positive” relationship with the U.S. and Europe.