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Kandahar Airstrike ‘Aborted’ Over Pakistan’s Warning: Sources

Sources say that an operation by three A29 aircraft of the Afghan Air Force on Taliban targets in Spin Boldak, Kandahar, on Thursday, was aborted after “receiving warning” from Pakistan’s forces.

A conversation a copy of which was sent to TOLOnews by government sources shows that Afghan Air Force was warned that they are getting “closer to the border,” but an Afghan military official claims that they were warned not to get closer as much as 18 kilometers to the international border point in Chaman and Spin Boldak.

A military analyst said that military aircraft should not get as close as 10 nautical miles (18.5 kilometers) to another country’s border when conducting an operation based on international laws.

This comes as First Vice President Amrullah Saleh in a tweet on Thursday said that “Pakistan air force has issued an official warning to the Afghan Army and Air Force that any move to dislodge the Taliban from Spin Boldak area will be faced and repelled by the Pakistan Air Force.”

He said that “Pakistan air force is now providing close air support to Taliban in certain areas.”

But Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said that it rejects “allegations” by First Vice President Amrullah Saleh and says it took "necessary measures within its territory to safeguard our own troops and population."

“The Afghan side conveyed to Pakistan its intention of carrying out air operation inside its territory opposite Chaman Sector of Pakistan. Pakistan responded positively to the Afghan Government’s right to act in its territory,” the ministry said.

It added: “In spite of very close border operations normally not acceded to by internationally accepted norms/standards/procedures, Pakistan took necessary measures within its territory to safeguard our own troops and population.”

“We acknowledge Afghan Government’s right to undertake actions on its sovereign territory,” the statement said. “However, as alleged by the Afghan Vice President, Pakistan Air Force never communicated anything to the Afghan Air Force. Such statements undermine Pakistan’s sincere efforts to play its part in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution.”

In response to the statement by the Pakistani government, Saleh in a tweet called the statement “a statement of denial” and “a pre-written paragraph.”

This also comes two days after Taliban fighters claimed that they had seized control of the Spin Boldak crossing area between Afghan and Pakistan territory.

Spin Boldak crossing is one of the key strategic locations in Kandahar province, which is adjacent to Pakistan.

Video released by the Taliban on social media showed the group's white flag flying in place of Afghanistan’s national flag above the Friendship Gate.

This new development takes place as Pakistan has announced that it will hold a peace conference on Afghanistan in the coming days.

The meeting was originally scheduled for July 17. But it was postponed due to a trip by prominent Afghan political leaders to Doha where they are set to meet with Taliban leaders about ending the current conflict.

The Taliban recently seized some other major border crossings, in Herat, Farah, and Kunduz provinces.

Kandahar Airstrike ‘Aborted’ Over Pakistan’s Warning: Sources

Pakistan responded positively to the Afghan Government’s right to act in its territory, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry says.

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Sources say that an operation by three A29 aircraft of the Afghan Air Force on Taliban targets in Spin Boldak, Kandahar, on Thursday, was aborted after “receiving warning” from Pakistan’s forces.

A conversation a copy of which was sent to TOLOnews by government sources shows that Afghan Air Force was warned that they are getting “closer to the border,” but an Afghan military official claims that they were warned not to get closer as much as 18 kilometers to the international border point in Chaman and Spin Boldak.

A military analyst said that military aircraft should not get as close as 10 nautical miles (18.5 kilometers) to another country’s border when conducting an operation based on international laws.

This comes as First Vice President Amrullah Saleh in a tweet on Thursday said that “Pakistan air force has issued an official warning to the Afghan Army and Air Force that any move to dislodge the Taliban from Spin Boldak area will be faced and repelled by the Pakistan Air Force.”

He said that “Pakistan air force is now providing close air support to Taliban in certain areas.”

But Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said that it rejects “allegations” by First Vice President Amrullah Saleh and says it took "necessary measures within its territory to safeguard our own troops and population."

“The Afghan side conveyed to Pakistan its intention of carrying out air operation inside its territory opposite Chaman Sector of Pakistan. Pakistan responded positively to the Afghan Government’s right to act in its territory,” the ministry said.

It added: “In spite of very close border operations normally not acceded to by internationally accepted norms/standards/procedures, Pakistan took necessary measures within its territory to safeguard our own troops and population.”

“We acknowledge Afghan Government’s right to undertake actions on its sovereign territory,” the statement said. “However, as alleged by the Afghan Vice President, Pakistan Air Force never communicated anything to the Afghan Air Force. Such statements undermine Pakistan’s sincere efforts to play its part in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution.”

In response to the statement by the Pakistani government, Saleh in a tweet called the statement “a statement of denial” and “a pre-written paragraph.”

This also comes two days after Taliban fighters claimed that they had seized control of the Spin Boldak crossing area between Afghan and Pakistan territory.

Spin Boldak crossing is one of the key strategic locations in Kandahar province, which is adjacent to Pakistan.

Video released by the Taliban on social media showed the group's white flag flying in place of Afghanistan’s national flag above the Friendship Gate.

This new development takes place as Pakistan has announced that it will hold a peace conference on Afghanistan in the coming days.

The meeting was originally scheduled for July 17. But it was postponed due to a trip by prominent Afghan political leaders to Doha where they are set to meet with Taliban leaders about ending the current conflict.

The Taliban recently seized some other major border crossings, in Herat, Farah, and Kunduz provinces.

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