Post attack, Afghanistan cancels friendly matches with Pakistan

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The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) reacted first on Wednesday night by announcing it had cancelled friendly matches agreed between the two sides for later this summer.

Tense geo-political ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan have taken a toll on their cricketing relationship in the aftermath of a bomb attack in Kabul, which killed 90 people and injured almost 500 more.

"In light of the findings of security services and calls by the Afghan nation, the ACB hereby cancel all kinds of cricket matches agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board", the statement added.

Thursday strongly rejected the baseless allegations levelled by Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) in the wake of the tragic Kabul blast.

"It is also deeply regrettable that the ACB delegation in Pakistan was at pains to insist that politics should not impinge on cricket but has now turned around and is playing politics by laying the blame for its troubles and inadequacies on Pakistan".

President Ashraf Ghani made a televised address late on Wednesday, calling for national unity in the face of the attack, which his National Directorate for Security blamed on the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, but he faces an increasingly angry public.

The agreement between ACB and the PCB was signed last week, which also included providing Afghanistan team venues for training and conditioning camp.

Responding to a volley of questions regarding Kashmir dispute, the spokesperson said peace, stability and development will remain elusive in the region without the resolution of the outstanding dispute between Pakistan and India.

The Kabul match, set for July or August, would have been followed by a fixture in Pakistan and a full series at an unspecified date. Only minnows Zimbabwe have been willing to tour the insecurity-wracked country since a 2009 militant attack on the visiting Sri Lanka team.

Pakistani officials said they were unhappy that Bangladesh were not willing to send their team to Pakistan. When Afghanistan were first making waves in worldwide cricket, the PCB sent several A sides to the country, and opened up training facilities at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore to its neighbours.

The sport struggled to get a foothold in Afghanistan under the hardline Taliban, but has become hugely popular since the Islamist regime was toppled in a US-led invasion in 2001.

Barnett Rubin - Associate Director of the Center on International Cooperation and Director of Afghanistan-Pakistan Regional Program.