ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - Afghanistan and India Sunday refuted allegations they are the source of terrorist attacks in Pakistan and instead questioned counterterrorism credentials of their South Asian neighbor.
The strong rebuttal comes a day after Islamabad accused New Delhi of running some 66 militant training camps on Afghan soil to plot “terrorism” to destabilize Pakistan and hurt its economic partnership with China.
The Pakistani government, in a nationally televised news conference, presented what it said was “irrefutable evidence” to substantiate the charges.
“The so-called claims of ‘proof’ against India enjoy no credibility, are fabricated and represent figments of imagination,” Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a statement issued Sunday.
“We call upon Pakistan to end its support to cross-border terrorism…. Concocting documents and peddling false narratives will not absolve Pakistan of such actions,” Srivastava said.
He reiterated long-running Indian allegations that Pakistan trains Islamist militants and helps them infiltrate into Indian-administered Kashmir to foment separatist violence in the Muslim-majority region.
“The incessant infiltration of terrorists and induction of weapons to fuel terror activities continues unabated,” alleged Srivastava.
Pakistan, which administers one-third of Kashmir, denies the accusations, saying they are an attempt by the neighboring country to cover up alleged human rights abuses being inflicted on Kashmiris.
The two nuclear-armed rival nations have fought several wars and low-intensity conflicts over Kashmir since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. India and Pakistan claim the region in its entirety and it remains the primary source of bilateral military tension and acrimony.
Officials in Afghanistan also rejected allegations that its territory or citizens were being used for carrying out subversive activities against Pakistan.
In a statement Sunday, the foreign ministry said that Afghanistan itself is a major victim of terrorism. Kabul, it said, is “committed to a policy of combating all forms of terrorism…and will never allow Afghan territory to be used for destructive activities against other countries.”
The statement noted that as the Afghan government is preparing for this week’s maiden visit to Kabul by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, it is expected Islamabad will raise “issues of bilateral interest and debate” through existing cooperation mechanisms between the two countries.
Pakistan and Afghanistan share a nearly 2,600-kilometer border but mutual ties are marred by mistrust and suspicion. Kabul accuses Islamabad of supporting the Afghan Taliban’s violent campaign aimed at dislodging the Afghan government.
For its part, Pakistan maintains that militant groups fleeing years of counterterrorism security operations have taken shelter in Afghan border areas and orchestrating cross-border attacks.
Pakistani army spokesman Maj-Gen Babar Iftikhar on Saturday displayed what he said were documents, banking transactions worth millions of dollars, audio clips and details of contacts between Indian intelligence operatives and diplomats with fugitive Pakistani militants operating out of Afghanistan.
“Uncontrivable evidence reveals that Indian embassies and consulates operating along Pakistan’s borders have become hub of terror sponsorship against Pakistan…We have verifiable evidence of terrorists funding by India. Indian ambassadors in Afghanistan have been regularly supervising various terrorist activities,” Iftikhar said.