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Taliban Claims Pakistan Allowed U.S. Drones To Use Its Airspace

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob

The Taliban’s defense minister has claimed that Pakistan allowed U.S. drones to use its airspace to access Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan recently denied following a U.S. air strike in Kabul.

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob told reporters at a news conference in Kabul on August 28 that U.S. drones have been entering Afghanistan via Pakistan.

"According to our information, the drones are entering through Pakistan to Afghanistan. They use Pakistan's airspace. We ask Pakistan: Don't use your airspace against us," he said.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Reuters news agency.

Pakistani authorities have denied involvement in or advanced knowledge of a drone strike the United States said it carried out in Kabul in July that killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

Yaqoob's comments come as the Afghan Taliban is mediating talks between Pakistan and a Pakistani Taliban militant group. Afghanistan also relies heavily on trade with Pakistan as the country experiences an economic crisis.

The Taliban said it is investigating the July air strike and that it has not found the Al-Qaeda leader's body.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa