Foreign secretary also lodges protest against cross-border fire from Afghanistan early in the week.
Pakistan summoned the Afghan ambassador on Wednesday to convey concerns over a recent spate of negative comments from Kabul politicians and a perceived media campaign to smear Islamabad.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who has actively courted Pakistan since coming to power last year, recently criticized his neighbor for failing to rein in the Taliban. Pakistan historically backed the Taliban regime during its time in power in Afghanistan and some observers believe it continues to support the organization’s insurgency even today.
Islamabad’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry told Ambassador Janan Mosazai that “such allegations undercut mutual confidence and affect the environment of bilateral relations that both countries had been working hard to improve,” a Pakistani foreign ministry statement said. “Pakistan has been acting with maximum restraint and avoiding playing the blame game,” the statement quoted Chaudhry as saying.
Chaudhry also lodged a strong protest against cross-border fire from the Afghan side on Aug. 16 and 17, which resulted in the killing of three security officials. “The Afghan ambassador was told that as a matter of policy, Pakistani authorities do not initiate fire and return fire only in self-defense,” the statement said. “The foreign secretary further conveyed to the ambassador that as per the guidance of the leadership, Pakistan would continue its policy of restraint, responsibility and constructive engagement with Afghanistan.”
Chaudhry said: “We expect the Afghan government would also reciprocate by taking effective measures to avoid recurrence of such incidents on the border, and work with Pakistan to build mutual trust and good, neighborly relations.”
The latest development comes days after the visit of an Afghan delegation to Islamabad. The visit came at a spike in tensions between Kabul and Islamabad, with President Ghani recently accusing Pakistan of sending “messages of war” and harboring bomb-making camps following a series of deadly attacks in the Afghan capital.