Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricket star turned politician, has caused outrage by claiming that the Taliban are fighting a 'holy war' justified by Islam in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Khan made the comments after a visit to the hospital in Peshawar where 14-year-old blogger Malala Yousafzai is fighting for her life after being shot by the Pakistani Taliban.
Citing a Quranic verse he said: "It is very clear that whoever is fighting for their freedom is fighting a jihad … The people who are fighting in Afghanistan against the foreign occupation are fighting a jihad."
The Afghani government were quick to condemn Kahn's comments with a spokesman saying Kahn was "either profoundly and dangerously ignorant about the reality in Afghanistan or he has ill will against the Afghan people".
"Our children are killed on a daily basis, civilians killed and our schools hospitals and infrastructure attacked on a daily basis,"
"To call any of that jihad is profoundly wrong and misguided."
Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, wrote an open letter to Pakistani politicians including Khan, in the wake of the shooting of Yousafzai saying: "We must ask why we have been unable to counter the terrorism that is attacking our religion, our people, and the promise of a better future for our children".
He added that the shooting showed countries in the region faced a "dangerous enemy who seeks to doom the present and future of their people to darkness and ignorance".
Khan blamed the rise in Islamic militancy in Pakistan not on the militants themselves but on US military action, particularly CIA drone strikes.
He believes the best way to stem the escalating violence in the country is to order the shooting down of the drones.
The shooting of Yousafzai however, has put Khan at odds with both politicians and public alike who have angrily rallied against the Pakistani Taliban with revulsion at the shooting of a 14-year-old who was standing up for girls education.
Yousafzai's condition is said to be improving with doctors still deciding whether to not to send her overseas for treatment.
A supporter of Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), reacts while holding a poster of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot last Tuesday by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women, during a rally to condemn the attack in Karachi, Pakistan
Supporters of Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), attend a rally to condemn the attack on 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai
Women supporters of Pakistan Sunni Tehreek protest to condemn the attack
A Pakistani Christian woman, reacts while she and others pray for the recovery of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai
Pakistani children sit around a picture of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai
Pakistani men hold pictures
A Pakistani boy holds up a picture
A woman supporter of a Pakistani religious group 'Minhaj-ul-Quran' shouts anti Taliban slogans during a demonstration
A woman supporter of a Pakistani religious group 'Minhaj-ul-Quran' holds a poster of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot on Tuesday by the Taliban
A Pakistani woman, right, holds a poster of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai
Pakistan Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa updates journalists about the condition of a 14-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousufzai
Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, center, flanked by leaders of allied parties in government, talks to reporters at a military hospital in Rawalpindi
Pakistani students pray for the recovery of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai
A wounded Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, is moved to a helicopter to be taken to Peshawar for treatment in Mingora, Swat Valley, Pakistan on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012
Imran Khan has made comments describing the Taliban's actions a justified by Islamic law