— FO says US, Afghan forces not taking action on Pakistani intelligence about terrorists
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday handed over a dossier to the Afghan embassy containing evidence of the involvement of Afghanistan-based terrorist organisation Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the suicide bombing at a Pakistan Army unit in Swat.
The dossier, handed down by Foreign Office (FO) to the Afghan embassy, also carried the evidence of the presence of TTP, Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA) and other terrorist groups’ hideouts in Afghan territory. The Afghan side was asked to take effective action against terrorist hideouts from where they had been financing, planning and undertaking cross border terrorist attacks on Pakistani military posts, cities and towns.
Pakistan had welcomed President Ghani’s vision for peace and supported his offer of peace talks with the Taliban. Afghan leadership, including NSA Atmar, had appreciated and thanked Pakistan for supporting the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, during Pakistani NSA’s visit to Kabul on March 18. Pakistan had been urging the Taliban through its public statements as well as private messaging to join the peace process.
FO Spokesperson Dr Faisal told a weekly media briefing that Pakistan was aware of the fact that terrorist groups including TTP, JuA, LI and Daesh had established sanctuaries on the Afghan side of the Pak-Afghan border.
“These terrorist groups are involved in undertaking cross-border raids on our military posts. Our border troops only open fire when they are fired upon and the response is always directed at the point of origin and is proportionate,” he said.
He said that Pakistan had shared the locations of the hideouts of these groups with Afghan and US authorities on many occasions, however, its concerns had not yet been fully addressed. “This issue has been addressed in some locations where Afghanistan has established its border posts and deployed its troops,” he added.
On the question of the rise of Daesh in Afghanistan, Dr Faisal said that Pakistan had been consistently raising serious concerns about the rise of Daesh in Afghanistan. “Concentration of Daesh along the borders with Pakistan, Iran and China further alarms us of its negative implications for Afghanistan, Pakistan and regional security. Daesh has been involved in cross-border raids at Pakistani military posts,” he said. “We have, on many occasions, shared with Afghanistan and RSM the evidence of their involvement in cross border raids and the location of their hideouts in Afghan territory and urged them to take effective action to root-out Daesh sanctuaries in Afghanistan,” he added.
There had been a phenomenal rise in the growth of poppy cultivation and drug production in Afghanistan, which was fueling the war economy in Afghanistan by empowering terrorists and extremist networks. It was an issue of major concern for Pakistan.
The spokesman said that Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, while leading the Pakistani delegation to the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan, emphasised the need of a regional approach for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. The foreign minister said that Pakistan had consistently stressed the early resolution of the Afghan conflict through a political settlement. He also stated that bringing Taliban to the table and establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan was a shared responsibility of the international community.
Khawaja Asif reiterated Pakistan’s support for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s national peace and reconciliation plan, unveiled during the Kabul process meeting on February 28 and his offer of peace talks to the Taliban under an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. He said that there was a need to put collective pressure on Taliban to avail this opportunity to shun violence and join the peace process.
The foreign minister also expressed concern over the unchecked proliferation of Daesh and the phenomenal increase in drug production in Afghanistan. On the margins of the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan, the foreign minister called on Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Khawaja Asif also held bilateral meetings with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cevasoglu, European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Abdildaev Erlan and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong.