27 Afghan Taliban, Haqqani militants handed to Kabul last year: FO

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  • Afghanistan rules out talks with Taliban after deadly attacks in Kabul

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said that 27 individuals suspected of belonging to Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan (TTA) and Haqqani Network (HN) were handed over to Afghanistan in November 2017.

“Pakistan continues to push any suspected TTA & HN elements to prevent them from using our soil for any terrorist activity in Afghanistan,” Dr Faisal said in a tweet.


“In this context, 27 individuals suspected of belonging to TTA & HN have been handed over to Afghanistan in November 2017,” he added.

The unprecedented move appears to be aimed at dispelling the oft-repeated allegations that Islamabad is supporting the violent insurgency in Afghanistan.

The handover took place in November last year just weeks after the maiden visit of army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to Kabul. However, the extradition of 27 suspected members of the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network was kept confidential till now.

The spokesman also noted that Pakistan had sacrificed 75,000 civilians and 6,000 soldiers to the scourge of terrorism. “We have one of the highest officer-to-soldier casualty rate globally and suffered economic losses worth USD 123bn,” he added.

 

Meanwhile, Afghanistan said on Tuesday that the Taliban would have to be defeated on the battlefield after US President Donald Trump rejected the idea of talks with the militants following a series of deadly attacks.

The Taliban reacted to Trump’s announcement by saying they never wanted to talk to the United States anyway, but one senior member of the group said he suspected efforts would still be made to get negotiations going.

Talking to reporters at the White House on Monday, Trump condemned the militant group for the recent carnage in Kabul and said the United States was not prepared to talk now. He pledged to “finish what we have to finish”.

A spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that while the government had encouraged the Taliban to talk, the attacks in Kabul, including a suicide bomb attack on Saturday that killed more than 100 people, was a “red line”.

“The Taliban have crossed a red line and lost the chance for peace,” said the spokesman Shah Hussain Murtazawi. “We have to look for peace on the battlefield. They have to be marginalised.”

He declined to comment directly on Trump’s announcement.

 

The Taliban also said that the recent attacks in Afghanistan were a message to Trump that his policy of aggression would not work.

Another Taliban member said the United States had been approaching states that have relations with the Taliban to try to get them to push the insurgents to the negotiating table.

“President Trump is saying this for public consumption,” a Taliban member, who declined to be identified, said of Trump’s rejection of talks. “He and his team are making every effort to bring us to the negotiating table.”

“Actually, the latest attack in Kabul awakened President Trump and his puppets in Afghanistan about the capability of the Taliban and their ability to mount big attacks anywhere.”

The Taliban refer to the Afghan government as US “puppets”.

The United States believes the Haqqani Network was behind Saturday’s bomb blast in Kabul.

US and Afghanistan have long accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban, and the HN in particular, as assets to be used in its bid to limit the influence of India in Afghanistan.

This month, Trump ordered big cuts in security aid to Pakistan over its failure to crack down on militants.

Pakistan denies accusations it fosters the Afghan war and condemned the recent attacks in Afghanistan.

 

 

 

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