Afghanistan also cancelled the friendly T20Is with Pakistan    Getty Images
Afghanistan also cancelled the friendly T20Is with Pakistan Getty Images

The Afghan Cricket Board (ACB) said it had cancelled all matches and agreements with Pakistan after the Afghan intelligence linked the Pakistani intelligence agency to the Kabul bombing that left 90 dead and 463 wounded. The decision, taken overnight, came after the Afghan National Directorate of Security attributed the attack to the Haqqani network – linked to the Taliban and allegedly with bases in Pakistan – and said it had the direct guidance and cooperation of the Pakistani spy agency ISI.

“After the deadly attack and in light of the findings of the security services and strong reaction by the Afghan nation, we cancelled all kinds of cricket matches and initial mutual relationship agreements with the Pakistan Cricket Board,” ACB Media Director Aziz Gharwal told EFE.

Kabul and Islamabad had recently reached an agreement to play two friendly matches in Kabul and in Pakistan’s Lahore city, besides two series of matches in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, and other agreements on sports.

The decision to use sports diplomacy with Pakistan had sparked controversy in social networks in Afghanistan, where there have been many reports of Islamabad supporting insurgents.

“By killing innocent and destitute people, the enemies of Afghanistan’s peace and stability showed that they are not worthy of friendship and will not change their stance against Afghans,” ACB said in a statement late Wednesday.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a televised message late Wednesday that the time had come for a decisive step against those “who refused the calls for peace and are trapped in snares of outsiders and fight under their directions”.