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

Following a deadly blast in Kabul, which killed more than 90, the ACB had issued a statement cancelling all cricket fixtures with Pakistan. The statement went on to say, “No agreement of friendly matches and mutual relationship agreement is possible with a country where terrorists are housed and provided safe havens.”  The PCB responded in full force, saying: "While our sympathies are with the victims and families affected by the tragedy, we reject the irresponsible statement made by the ACB." In a tit for tat reaction, the PCB also announced that it was cancelling the proposed series between the two countries.

"The PCB has always encouraged the development of cricket in Afghanistan and millions of Afghan refugees were first introduced to the game in Pakistan," it said. "Over the years, the PCB helped cricketers in Afghanistan develop their expertise and an entire generation of Afghan national players honed their cricketing skills in Pakistan," the PCB recalled.

Citing the security situation in Afghanistan, the PCB said that it would cancel the informal understanding reached with ACB last weekend. "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 itself."

On Wednesday night, Afghanistan had announced that it was cancelling proposed home and away cricket fixtures with Pakistan after a deadly bomb attack blamed by the country's intelligence agency on militants allegedly backed by Islamabad. Pakistan were set to play their first Twenty20 match in Kabul later this year in what was seen as an opportunity for the neighbours to ease tensions over border skirmishes.

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. 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.  No group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack, although the Taliban have denied involvement. “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.

Afghanistan's intelligence agency blamed the Taliban-allied Haqqani Network for the attack. Cricketing relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan were not always so frosty. Afghans learned to play cricket in refugee camps in Pakistan after they were forced to leave their homes in the wake of the Soviet invasion in 1979. The sport struggled to get a foothold in Afghanistan under the hardline Taliban, but has become hugely popular since the regime was toppled in a US-led invasion in 2001.

While Pakistan has supported the Afghan team by supplying equipment and arranging fixtures with the fledgling side, rival India has also been keen to lend its support. Last year, Afghanistan's national team shifted its base from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates to Noida, Delhi, while India's former batsman Lalchand Rajput replaced Pakistan's Inzamam-ul-Haq as their national team coach.