Afghanistan not linked with Kashmir issue: Taliban to Pak

Kabul, Aug 9 (IANS) The Taliban has hit out at Pakistan for linking the situation in Afghanistan with Kashmir issue, saying that Kabul should "not be turned into the theatre of competition" between New Delhi and Islamabad.

"Linking the issue of Kashmir with that of Afghanistan by some parties will not aid in improving the crisis at hand because the issue of Afghanistan is not related nor should Afghanistan be turned into the theatre of competition between other countries," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said in a statement cited by Anadolu news agency on Thursday.

This comes after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President and opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif while speaking in the Parliament earlier this week compared the situation in Afghanistan with that of Kashmir.

"What kind of a deal is this that the Afghans enjoy and celebrate peace in Kabul, but in Kashmir, blood is shed? No, this is not acceptable for us," said Sharif.

Voicing unhappiness over the remarks, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai tweeted: "Comments in Pakistan linking peace in Afghanistan to their objectives in Kashmir are indicative of Pakistan viewing Afghanistan as strategic depth. I call on Pakistan government to stop using extremist violence as instrument of policy in the region."

Sharif's remarks were also slammed by Afghan citizens on social media.

Meanwhile, the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul on Thursday said that the rift over Kashmir would not affect the peace drive in Afghanistan.

Addressing a press conference, Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan Zahid Nasrullah Khan, said: "The issue of Kashmir has nothing to do with the violence in Afghanistan and it is unfortunately still unresolved..."

Tensions between India and Pakistan have heightened over New Delhi's decision to revoke Article 370 of its Constitution that granted special status for Jammu and Kashmir.

--IANS

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