The Pakistani government has rejected Afghan officials’ claim that the Haqqani Network, considered one of the most dangerous Pakistan-based terrorist groups, carried out an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan this weekend.
The attack killed 22 and injured many others, including Americans.
“We reject the knee-jerk allegations by some Afghan circles to point the finger at Pakistan for the terrorist attack on Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul,” said Dr. Mohammad Faisal, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, according to Khaama Press (KP).
Citing two senior Afghan officials, the New York Times (NYT) reported that Afghanistan’s intelligence agency had received reports that the al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network, a brutal wing of the Taliban, had planned the attack.
“The attack was carried out by #Pakistan based Haqqani Terrorist Network,” Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the Afghan government’s chief executive, said on Twitter.
The Pakistani government has dismissed those allegations. Some news outlets have gained access to the gruesome scene that unfolded at the hotel via witnesses accounts.
The Guardian reports:
Witnesses to a terrorist rampage at a luxury Kabul hotel have described guests being sprayed with bullets as they ran, whole floors engulfed in flames and a security team that fled ‘without a fight’ from gunmen in army uniforms.
Thick smoke billowed from Kabul’s Intercontinental hotel on Sunday as Afghan and western security forces regained control of the building after a 14-hour siege involving dozens of hostages including foreigners. Some guests tried to escape the carnage and a later fire by using bed sheets to climb down from balconies.
The Pentagon has long reported that Pakistan willingly provides sanctuary to the Haqqani Network, the Afghan Taliban, and other jihadist groups.
Under the Obama administration, the Pentagon suspended millions of dollars in aid for Pakistan over Islamabad’s refusal to take adequate action against the Haqqani Network.
In its latest assessment of the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense deemed the Haqqani Network the top threat facing American troops and their allies in Afghanistan.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has also frozen security aid money intended for Pakistan over Islamabad’s reluctance to take decisive action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network.
Asked if Islamabad is planning to take on the terrorist groups in order to get back the suspended funds, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, the Pakistani ambassador to the United States, told Breitbart News, their plan is to push the jihadists back into Afghanistan where they can engage in politics.