ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office strongly condemned the terrorist attack at Park Palace Hotel in Kabul last night that killed a number of civilians, including two Pakistani nationals who were working in Afghanistan.
“Our deepest sympathies and condolences go to the families of the deceased,” it said in a statement issued on Thursday.
“Such deliberate attacks on innocent civilians are highly condemnable and cannot be tolerated. Terrorism is our common enemy. Comprehensive and coordinated measures are imperative to root-out this menace from our region,” it added.
The attack comes a day after a visit to Kabul by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who assured Afghanistan of Islamabad’s full support in its battle against the Taliban, saying “the enemies of Afghanistan cannot be the friends of Pakistan”.
His unusually strong remarks are the latest sign of a thaw in the once-frosty relationship between the two countries. Afghan officials have frequently accused longtime nemesis Pakistan of harbouring and nurturing Taliban insurgents.
But Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has actively courted Pakistan since coming to power in what observers say is a calculated gambit to pressure the insurgents to come to the negotiating table.
Taliban insurgents, who have waged a 13-year war to topple the US-backed government, launched their spring offensive across Afghanistan late last month, stepping up attacks on government and foreign targets.
The militants have staged a string of attacks on compounds, restaurants and guesthouses frequented by foreigners, including two separate assaults in Kabul last November, one of which left a South African man and his two teenage children dead.
They also launched a major attack on a compound of the International Organisation for Migration in 2013. Their targets last year included the capital’s most prestigious hotel, the Serena.
In March 2014 four gunmen evaded security checks and opened fire there, leaving nine people dead.
Afghan forces are now solely responsible for security in the volatile country, after NATO’s combat mission formally ended in December with a small follow-up force staying on to train and support local personnel.