Afghan officials asked to handover 76 terrorists

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— COAS says inaction against terrorists testing policy of cross-border restraint

— Sartaj discusses recent terror incidents with Afghan NSA, asks for support

Pakistan on Friday summoned officials of the Afghan Embassy to the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi to lodge protest against the use of Afghan soil by terrorists to carry out attacks in Pakistan.

The Afghan officials were handed over a list of 76 most wanted terrorists by the Pakistan Army, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Asif Ghafoor said in a Tweet. Afghanistan was asked to either take immediate action against the named terrorists or hand them over to Pakistan, he said.

The move comes two days after a senior Afghan diplomat was summoned to the Foreign Office in Islamabad to receive protest over the use of territory of his country for launching terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The Afghan diplomat was given a demarche containing details of the recent terrorist attacks and supporting information.

Following the recent wave of terrorism this week, law enforcement agencies have launched a nationwide security crackdown. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that the recent terrorist acts were being perpetrated on the directions from hostile powers and from sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

General Bajwa also made a telephone call to General John Nicholson, US military commander in Afghanistan, and expressed his concerns over the continued acts of terrorism in Pakistan with impunity from Afghanistan. “Such terrorist activities and inaction against them are testing our current policy of cross-border restraint,” the statement quoted Gen Bajwa as saying.

He asked the American commander to play his role in disconnecting this planning, direction, coordination and financial support to the terrorist actively involved in targeting civilians in Pakistan. “COAS also informed him about the list of terrorists handed over to Afghan authorities for action against them who are hiding inside Afghanistan since long,” the statement said.

The US general expressed his condolences on the loss of precious lives in recent terrorist incidents and assured Gen Bajwa full assistance in response to his concerns. “The American general also shared his plans to undertake special coordination at the appropriate level between Pakistan, US forces and the Afghan security forces,” the statement added.

On the other hand, Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz also called Afghan National Security Adviser (NSA) Hanif Atmar and expressed serious concerns that the banned Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) continued to launch attacks inside Pakistan from its sanctuaries and safe havens in Afghanistan.

The breakaway faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban had claimed responsibility for Monday’s Lahore bombing. According to a Foreign Office statement, Sartaj informed the Afghan adviser that the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar was behind these barbaric acts of terrorism, and underlined that the government and people of Pakistan were in deep anguish because of the recent spate of terrorist incidents.

He said that the Afghan government had not paid a heed to Pakistan’s repeated calls to take action against the group and its activities. He also said that Pakistan had shared a list of suspected terrorists with the Afghan government for action against them. The Afghan adviser expressed his government’s condolences over the loss of lives in recent attacks.