Islamabad: In an unusual step, Afghan Taliban on Tuesday batted for Pakistan over the issue of ISI-backed terror strikes in Afghanistan, claiming that the US "wants to spread chaos in Pakistan" and weaken its government.

In a statement issued in the name of 'Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate', the Afghan Taliban claimed US officials had launched a campaign of blaming Pakistan for an "uptick in the thunderous strikes" in Afghanistan in order to divert attention from their "ignominious defeat".

"America wants to spread chaos in Pakistan through various means, weaken its government and make it dependent upon them.

 "That is why it is trying to make this government collide with its citizens and with this excuse, make them fight each other to show that there is what they like to call terrorist sanctuaries there (in Pakistan)," the statement
said.

The Afghan Taliban, which has usually refrained from commenting on the situation in Pakistan, issued the statement as tensions spiked between Pakistan and the US over allegations that the ISI had backed the Haqqani network in carrying out a string of high-profile terror attacks.

US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen had described the Haqqani network as a "veritable arm" of the ISI.

The Obama administration has stepped up pressure on Islamabad to act against the Haqqani network, which is based in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region.

However, the Afghan Taliban statement claimed, "Neither are our bases in Pakistan nor do we need residence outside of our country in uncertain conditions.

"All the military and civilian activities in the country are our own initiatives and our own actions." It said Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of the Haqqani network, was one of the "honourable and dignified personalities" of the Afghan Taliban movement and receives guidance for operations from Mullah Omar, the head of the movement.

The Afghan Taliban contended “it would be better for America and her allies to put an end to the occupation of Afghanistan as quickly as possible and do now what must inevitably be done”.

The statement further asked the people and government of Pakistan to "deliberate on America's two-faced and implacable politics" and give precedence to "Islamic and national interests".

(Agencies)