On Thursday, National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf dismissed allegations that Pakistan was providing support to the Taliban in Panjshir, the last holdout Afghan province where the group defeated resistance forces earlier this month, citing a “fake news network” created by India and a “bogey” created by previous Kabul governments.
On September 7, protests were staged in Kabul in response to the Taliban’s takeover of Panjshir, with demonstrators condemning Pakistan’s alleged involvement.
During an interview on CNN’s Connect the World, Yusuf was questioned about these allegations, and journalist Becky Anderson mentioned anti-Taliban troops in Afghanistan, as well as Iran’s foreign ministry denouncing “foreign interference” in the war-torn nation.
“Did the Pakistani army support the Taliban attack on anti-Taliban forces in Panjshir using drones and/or other weaponry?” asked Anderson.
“It’s preposterous is all I can say,” replied Yusuf.
Pakistan had been claiming that “project Afghanistan” was failing due to the country’s internal issues, some of which he blamed on a corrupt leadership, according to the NSA.
Despite this, he claims, the world sees Pakistan as a problem.
“This was scapegoating by previous governments in Kabul which, unfortunately, the international community started believing because they didn’t want to talk about their own failures,” he said.
In response to accusations that Pakistan was aiding the Taliban with drones in Panjshir, the NSA brought out a piece of paper containing pictures of Indian TV stations that he said were disseminating false information about Pakistan.
Pointing to an image on the paper, he said: “This is mainstream Indian media showing an American jet flying over Wales in the United Kingdom and presenting it as Pakistan doing something in Panjshir.”
He went on to say that India had spent millions of dollars in “creating a fake news network [against Pakistan]”.
Some Twitter users said the picture Yusuf was displaying was of a Pakistan Air Force aircraft shot down by opposition fighters in Panjshir. However, it was revealed that the photo was taken in the United States in 2018.
Anderson also pressed Yusuf on Pakistan’s role in the creation of the new Taliban administration, citing the ISI chief’s recent travel to Pakistan.
At that, Yusuf asked, “Why did the CIA director go to Afghanistan much before my ISI chief went there?”
The ISI head had visited Afghanistan and would go again, he added, since Pakistan shared a border with Afghanistan and needed to work with the new administration to ensure the border was safe.
Yusuf also said that other countries have requested Pakistan’s assistance in evacuating their citizens from Afghanistan, and that collaboration was required there as well.
He dismissed the allegations of Islamabad’s participation as a conspiracy theory, claiming that they lacked logic since the ISI head was interviewed by the media during his visit, contradicting his claim to be on a “secret mission.”
“Pakistan has the right to defend its national security,” he said, adding that it would continue to do so by engaging in Afghanistan.
He went on to say that the world needs to get beyond conspiracy theories and work together to help ordinary Afghans.
Yusuf then rejected Islamabad’s participation in the establishment of Afghanistan’s new administration, claiming that the nation was a sovereign state.