- ISPR DG says individual targetted in US attack had mixed up with Afghan refugees in a camp, calls for their repatriation
- FO Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal says unilateral actions detrimental to spirit of Pak-US anti-terror cooperation
- Taliban confirm death of commander in drone strike in Biland Khel village
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday reiterated that the United States had targeted an Afghan refugee camp in Kurram Agency and not a terrorist sanctuary a day earlier, while the US has denied that the drone strike struck a settlement for refugee.
In separate statements released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and Foreign Office, Pakistan refuted the US claim that it hadn’t struck an Afghan refugee camp in Kurram Agency.
Earlier in the day, the US Embassy spokesperson issued a statement, saying: “The claim in an MFA statement yesterday that US forces struck an Afghan refugee camp in Kurram Agency yesterday is false.”
Responding to the US’s claim, Pakistan Army Spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said that the January 24 drone strike near the tribal areas targetted an individual who had mixed with Afghan refugees.
In a tweet, the ISPR director general stated that the strike in Spintal, Hangu District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was not on any organised terrorists’ sanctuary — which have been eliminated.
“Drone strike on 24 Jan was on individual target morphed into Afghan Refugees and not any organised terrorists sanctuary which have been eliminated. Validates Pak’s stance that early and dignified return of Afghan Refugees to Afghanistan is essential,” he tweeted.
Drone strike on 24 Jan was on individual target morphed into Afghan Refugees and not any organised terrorists sanctuary which have been eliminated. Validates Pak’s stance that early and dignified return of Afghan Refugees to Afghanistan is essential. pic.twitter.com/SQ5SFuYKtr
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) January 25, 2018
“Out of total 54 Afghan Refugees Camps/complexes in Pakistan, 43 are in KP with overlap in FATA,” said a press release shared by the ISPR.
It said that the incident validates Pakistan’s stance that the remaining terrorists easily morph into Afghan refugees’ camps/complexes.
‘UNILATERAL ACTIONS DETRIMENTAL’:
Meanwhile, Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal, while refuting Washington’s claim, stressed that unilateral actions by the US were detrimental to the spirit of cooperation between Islamabad and Washington in the fight against terrorism.
“Pakistan continues to emphasise to the US the importance of sharing actionable intelligence, so that appropriate action is taken against terrorists by our forces within our territory,” he said.
“Such unilateral actions are detrimental to the spirit of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism.”
“Refugees early and dignified return to Afghanistan is essential. Pakistan’s brotherly hospitality to peaceful Afghan Refugees must not be exploited by the terrorists,” the press release stated.
On Wednesday, Pakistani officials and police had said two missiles fired from a US drone have struck a home near the Afghan border, killing two militants from the Haqqani network.
Local police chief Ameer Zaman Khan had said that strike took place in Dapa Mamuzai village near Kurram tribal region.
Two intelligence officials identified the slain militants as commander Ahsanullah and Nasir Mehsud. They said the men were from the Haqqani network of the Afghan Taliban.
TALIBAN CONFIRMS MILITANT’S DEATH:
Separately, Taliban confirmed that Mahmood, who like millions of fellow Afghans left for Pakistan over the last four decades, had been killed. They shared a photo of his body as he was being prepared for burial.
According to Zaman and the Taliban sources, another Haqqani commander was injured in the strike in Biland Khel village. Mahmood is believed to have led fighters on multiple attacks on Afghan security forces and US soldiers in Afghanistan.
A missile from a US drone killed an Afghan militant commander as he was taking a shower early Wednesday, according to Pakistani police and Taliban sources.
Nasir Mahmood — a member of the feared Taliban-linked Haqqani network — was in a house in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas near the border with Afghanistan when he died, according to Ameer Zaman, a senior police officer. Nasir Mahmood, whose given name was Ihsanullah, was also known as Khowarai by his fighters.
On Wednesday, Pakistan had condemned what it said was a US military drone strike inside its territory, adding to already tense relations between the allies.
The unmanned aircraft’s missiles “targeted an Afghan refugee” camp in Pakistan’s northwestern Kurram region, a statement from the Pakistani foreign office had said.
“Such unilateral actions, as that of today, are detrimental to the spirit of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism,” the statement had said.
Pakistan considers US drone strikes a violation of its sovereignty, while the US accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens for militants.
Pakistan denies the charge, saying it acts against militants without discrimination.
Earlier, on January 17, as many as two suspected militants were killed in drone strike in Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan.
The drone attack took place in Shanqilay area of Afghanistan near the Pak-Afghan border. Hours before, at least one person was injured in a strike in Lower Kurram Agency.
A missile fired from a drone landed outside a house in Badshah Kot area of the agency – one of the seven tribal agencies in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.