We too were a target of terrorism, says Pakistan


Pakistan, where al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden holed up for years after 9/11, paid tribute to the victims of the attacks on their 10th anniversary on Sunday, saying it too was a target of terrorism. “Pakistan joins the people of the United States and of the world in honouring the memory of all those who lost their lives on September 11, as well as those who have been victims of terrorism around the world,” the foreign ministry said. The cataclysmic events of September 11 dragged the nuclear power into a decade of fighting and violence that the government in Islamabad says has killed 35,000 people. The foreign ministry statement said: “As a country that has been severely affected by terrorism, we reaffirm our national resolve to strengthening international cooperation for the elimination of terrorism. “It is also appropriate that today the global community renew its commitment to uphold the noble ideals of tolerance, humanity, brotherhood and friendship amongst all peoples and its determination to work for creating a better world,” it added.
Pakistan dropped its support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks and became a key US ally, but relationship between the two countries is often strained. Washington has called Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal region the global headquarters of al-Qaeda, where Taliban and other al-Qaeda-linked networks plot attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Bulk of the Taliban and al-Qaeda escaped the US invasion of Afghanistan by fleeing into Pakistan. The army says more than 3,000 soldiers have died battling them since. Opposed to the US alliance, jihadist groups – once sponsored by the state to fight in Afghanistan and against India – have splintered into a local Taliban blamed for more than four years of unrelenting bomb attacks.
Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden was killed in his compound in Abbottabad, just two hours north of Islamabad, on May 2 this year in a daring raid by US special forces’ soldiers deep into Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) sources said the Pakistani armed forces played a major role in the war against terror as the country has sacrificed well over 2,945 military personnel for this cause. ISPR said further that a continuous struggle by intelligence services had helped weaken and destabilise the al-Qaeda, adding that several militants had been annihilated.