Day after Kabul attack, Afghanistan cancels all proposed cricket fixtures with Pakistan
A day after a ghastly suicide bomb attack in Kabul claimed the lives of at least 90 people and injured scores others, Afghanistan has cancelled all proposed home and away cricket fixtures with Pakistan, blaming the attack on militants backed by Islamabad.
Pakistan were set to play their first T20 match in Kabul later this year in what was seen as an attempt to ease tensions over border skirmish and alleged proxy warfare.
But the Afghanistan Cricket Board issued a strongly worded statement late on Wednesday, cancelling the matches in light of a truck bombing in the city's diplomatic quarter that killed at least 90 people.
"The ACB hereby cancel all kinds of cricket matches and initial mutual relationship agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board," the Afghan board said on its Facebook page.
"No agreement of friendly matches and mutual relationship agreement is possible with a country where terrorists are housed and provided safe havens."
No group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack, although the Taliban has denied involvement.
Afghanistan's intelligence agency has blamed the Taliban-allied Haqqani Network for the attack, which has been linked to Pakistan's military in the past.
The move by Afghanistan Cricket Board leaves PCB even more isolated in the region.
India has already refused to play a bilateral series, asserting that “cricket and terrorism cannot go hand-in-hand”.
Ties with fellow Test team Bangladesh have also soured after Pakistan pulled out of a planned series in July. Pakistani officials said they were unhappy that Bangladesh were not willing to send their team to Pakistan.