Islamabad, Jun 28 (PTI) In a rare admission, a top Pakistani minister has said that the families of Afghanistan's Taliban militants reside in Pakistan, including in popular suburban areas of the national capital, and sometimes the members of the insurgent outfit receive medical treatment in local hospitals.
Islamabad has been consistently rejecting allegations levelled by Afghan leaders that the Taliban use Pakistani soil to direct and sustain insurgent activities in Afghanistan.
In an interview aired by private Pakistani TV channel Geo News on Sunday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said, 'Taliban families live here in Pakistan -- in areas like Rawat, Loi Ber, Bara Kahu and Tarnol.' The areas mentioned by the minister are well-known suburban areas of Islamabad.
'Sometimes their (fighters) dead bodies arrive and sometimes they come here to hospitals to get medical treatment,” Rashid told the Urdu-language network.
Pakistan is often accused of hosting and supporting the Afghan Taliban militants who have been fighting the Afghanistan government for about the last two decades. It is rare for a top Pakistani minister and senior politician to accept it.
In the same interview, Rashid said that former military dictator Pervez Musharraf believed in the efficacy of drone attacks to target rebels in areas which were inaccessible to Pakistani forces.
The Taliban has intensified attacks against Afghan government forces since May 1 when the US-led international forces formally began their withdrawal from the country.
Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan ruled out hosting American bases in Pakistan for military action inside Afghanistan, fearing it might lead to his country being 'targeted in revenge attacks' by terrorists.
In an opinion piece in The Washington Post newspaper, he wrote, “If Pakistan were to agree to host US bases, from which to bomb Afghanistan, and an Afghan civil war ensued, Pakistan would be targeted for revenge by terrorists again.' PTI SH SCY AKJ SCY SCY