The Pakistani government has called for a credible investigation into Saturday’s deadly Taliban attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul that left at least 43 people dead and many more wounded.
Reacting to the attack, the Pakistani ministry of foreign affairs rejected allegations by some Afghan circles that Pakistan-based militants were behind the attack.
“We reject the knee jerk allegations by some Afghan circles that point the finger at Pakistan for the terrorist attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. There is a need for a credible investigation into the attack, including into reported security lapses,” said Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal.
Widespread condemnation poured in on Sunday after at least 43 people were killed when six Taliban attackers went on an overnight rampage through the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Saturday.
India, US and the UN were quick to condemn the attack, which was "one of the biggest" attacks to hit Kabul in recent months.
“I condemn in the strongest terms last night’s heinous attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. Such violence has no place here or anywhere in the world. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims. I also commend the bravery and quick response of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
The US Embassy is in close contact with Afghan authorities, who are continuing to investigate the incident,” the US embassy in Kabul said in a statement.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemned the attack on the Intercontinental Hotel that left dozens of people dead and wounded.
“The Intercontinental Hotel was scheduled to hold a technology conference on Sunday, organized by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Also at the hotel, guests had gathered for a wedding ceremony,” said UNAMA in a statement.
“There is simply no justification for this egregious attack, which is specifically prohibited by International Humanitarian Law and may amount to a war crime,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
Indian foreign ministry has also condemned the attack.
"We express our sincere condolences to the families of those killed in this heinous attack and wish speedy recovery to the injured," the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said, in a statement.
"Reports about attack having being carried out by terrorists of internationally proscribed Haqqani Network are a matter of serious concern and bring to fore once again the need to effectively deal with safe havens and sanctuaries that these terrorists find in our shared neighbourhood," the statement added.
This comes at a time that Pakistan has been under mounting pressure by the international community over its controversial role in the fight against terrorism.
On January 1, US President Donald Trump also criticized Pakistan over its support to terrorism.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” Trump said via twitter.
On January 15, a high level delegation from the UN Security Council arrived in Kabul where it held discussions with the Afghan political leadership on the situation in the country.
Ghani shared evidence with the UN Security Council members over training, financing and activities of terrorist groups, including Daesh, outside Afghanistan, according to a statement by the Presidential Palace.
At the meeting Ghani said he wants more pressure put on Pakistan to ensure stability in Afghanistan. He said joint efforts are required to move forward with the Afghan peace process.
The president said efforts are underway to improve relations with Pakistan but “there has been no sign of cooperation from Pakistan’s side”, the statement read.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack on the hotel.
The Intercontinental Hotel was attacked once before by the Taliban, in June 2011, when a suicide bomber killed 21 people, including 10 civilians.
The raid on Intercontinental Hotel was the latest in a long series of attacks by Taliban insurgents which have underlined the city’s precarious security situation and the ability of militants to mount high profile operations in the capital.