ISLAMABAD — Afghanistan’s Taliban have blocked earthquake-related relief assistance from Pakistan over a controversial social media post by the country’s prime minister amid an already strained bilateral relationship, VOA learned Thursday from highly placed official sources.
A senior Taliban official, speaking on condition of anonymity while not being authorized to discuss the matter publicly, confirmed that Pakistani Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s post on X (formerly Twitter) was behind their refusal to accept the aid.
The controversy started after a strong 6.3-magnitude quake struck parts of the western Afghan province of Herat. Islamabad immediately announced it would urgently dispatch a transport plane loaded with 5,000 winterized tents, 15,000 blankets, food items, medical supplies and a team of medical doctors for victims of the deadly calamity.
The National Disaster Management Authority prepared the consignment, sharing details on its official website. Hours later, Kakar claimed in a post on X that the aid was being dispatched at the request of the Taliban government, even though Kabul has to date formally not asked foreign countries to send relief.
Kakar also posted inaccurate details of the items his government had planned to send to Afghanistan.
“I have instructed @NDMAPk to send maximum support to the affected,” the prime minister wrote, adding, “Afghanistan government has specifically asked for sending medical team, field hospital, 50 tents and 500 blankets. … all the requested items are being dispatched in the afternoon today, with more relief goods to follow,” Kakar added.
But the Pakistani plane has since not taken off, and neither side has officially cited reasons for the delay.
“Although no such request was made and our government was ridiculed for it,” the Taliban official said in written comments shared via a Whatsapp messaging platform when asked about their refusal to accept Pakistani aid. He criticized Kakar’s statement as “irresponsible” and advised the Pakistani leader to be extremely careful while issuing statements about Afghanistan.
A top Pakistani official privy to the matter questioned the Taliban assertions when asked to explain why Islamabad could not send the relief goods to Afghanistan.
“Kabul neither says yes nor a no; they have made a formal request for assistance and told us that they will let us know when to send,” the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to interact with the media publicly.
Source : VOA News