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Defence minister rebukes Afghanistan for violating Doha pact | The Express Tribune

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ISLAMABAD:

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif took strong exception to Afghanistan on Saturday for violating crucial obligations agreed upon in Doha. Taking to Twitter, he rebuked the neighboring country for “neglecting its duties” and not abiding by its commitment to prevent the use of Afghan soil for terrorist activities.

The federal minister’s statement comes following the attack in Balochistan’s Zhob and Sui districts, which claimed the lives of at least 12 security personnel, and a day after the armed forces of Pakistan voiced similar concerns.

“[Around] 50/60 lakh Afghans have 40/50 year asylum in Pakistan with all rights. On the contrary, the terrorists who shed the blood of Pakistanis can find refuge on Afghan soil. This situation cannot continue any longer [sic],” wrote Asif on Twitter, vowing that Pakistan will use all resources at its disposal to protect its land and citizens.

‘Safe havens’

A day prior, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir had issued a stern warning to the interim Afghan Taliban government over the presence of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) across the border, saying that recent terrorist attacks would elicit effective response from Pakistan.

A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the army chief had voiced serious concerns over “safe havens” of TTP in Afghanistan.

“The Armed Forces of Pakistan have serious concerns on the safe havens and liberty of action available to TTP in Afghanistan,” the statement noted.

“It is expected that the interim Afghan Government would not allow the use of its soil to perpetrate terror against any country, in the real sense and in line with commitments made in Doha Agreement,” the army chief was quoted as saying.

General Munir revealed that Afghan nationals were involved in recent acts of terrorism in Pakistan.

“The involvement of Afghan nationals in acts of terrorism in Pakistan is another important concern that needs to be addressed,” the army chief said.

“Such attacks are intolerable and would elicit effective response from the Security Forces of Pakistan,” he warned.

He further said operations against terrorists would continue unabated and the armed forces shall not rest till the menace of terrorism is rooted out from the country.

The army chief’s statement suggested frustration on part of Pakistan due to the lack of cooperation from the Afghan Taliban to tackle the TTP threat.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Taliban spokesperson in a recent statement claimed the interim government was not allowing its soil to be used against any country and that TTP was a problem for Pakistan to deal with.

Read Pakistan to relocate outlawed TTP to western Afghanistan

The TTP has become a thorny issue between Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban. Despite efforts, the two sides could not find a common ground to deal with the issue.

At the heart of the problem is the Afghan Taliban’s reluctance to act against the TTP and its leadership. Pakistan believes that the TTP and its top leadership were operating in Afghanistan with impunity.

Attacks in Zhob

During a visit to the Quetta Garrison, the COAS was briefed on the recent terrorist attack in Zhob in which at least nine soldiers embraced martyrdom. The attack was the latest in a series of terrorist attacks carried out by militants in recent weeks.

The media wing of the military said that nine troops embraced martyrdom, as they thwarted a terrorist attack on the Zhob Garrison. Later, three more soldiers laid down their lives in another attack in Sui district.

Earlier, the ISPR had put the death toll from the Zhob attack at four, stating that five soldiers were critically injured. Later, it said that the injured soldiers also succumbed to their injuries and embraced martyrdom.

“Initial attempt of terrorists to sneak into the facility was checked by soldiers on duty,” the ISPR said, adding that the terrorists were soon after cornered in a small area near the boundary following a heavy exchange of fire.

“In total, five terrorists have been sent to hell during the operation,” the ISPR said, adding that a clearance operation was successfully completed.

In the Sui district, according to the military’s media wing, an exchange of fire took place between the security forces and heavily armed terrorists.

During the exchange of fire, the ISPR said, “three brave soldiers, having fought gallantly, embraced Shahadat while two terrorists were sent to hell during the operation”.

“The security forces are maintaining pressure and clearance operation is under way to apprehend the remaining terrorists as well,” the military’s media wing stated. “The security forces remain unwavered to expose/neutralise the enemies of peace in Balochistan and Pakistan.”





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