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FO confirms involvement of Afghan nationals in Zhob terror attack



Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch addresses a press conference. — Radio Pakistan/File  
  • “The terrorists belong to Afghanistan’s Kandahar province,” says FO.
  • Asks Afghan embassy in Islamabad to receive bodies of slain terrorists.
  • Nine Pakistani soldiers had embraced martyrdom in Zhob terror attack.

The Foreign Officer on Wednesday confirmed that Afghan nationals were involved in July 13 “dastardly attack” on the Pakistan Army’s Zhob Garrison in Northern Balochistan.

In a statement, FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch revealed that three slain terrorists involved in the attack on the personnel of the Pakistan Army were identified as Afghan nationals.

“The terrorists belong to Afghanistan’s Kandahar province,” she added.

As many as nine soldiers embraced martyrdom and five terrorists were killed in the attack. In the wee hours of July 12, a group of terrorists launched a dastardly attack on the garrison, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had said, mentioning that the initial attempt to sneak into the facility was “checked by soldiers on duty”.

During the heavy exchange of fire, nine soldiers — while fighting gallantly — laid down their lives in the line of duty. Meanwhile, five terrorists were also killed.

“Security forces remain determined to thwart all such ghastly attempts at destroying [the] peace of Balochistan and Pakistan,” the ISPR had added.

The FO strongly condemned and expressed severe concerns over the use of Afghan soil and the unabated involvement of Afghan militants in terrorism inside Pakistan.

The FO also instructed the Afghan embassy in Islamabad to receive the bodies of slain terrorists.

‘Act against terrorists or we will’

A day earlier, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said if the Afghan interim government failed to take action, Pakistan had an option under international law to act in “self-defence” against the militants hiding inside Kabul.

While speaking to the media, he, however, made it clear that this should not be the first option for his government.

The foreign minister also reminded Kabul of the Doha Accord.

According to the Doha Accord, the Taliban had assured in writing that militant groups would not be allowed inside Afghanistan and nor would any militant group attack another country from inside Afghanistan.

The foreign minister’s statement comes in the aftermath of a bloodbath in Bajaur when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a political rally of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl in which more than 50 people were dead while 200 were wounded with some in serious condition still in hospitals.

“Regarding Pakistan going there [inside Afghanistan] and taking action against these terrorists, we do not want to be forced to do this, but according to international law, we have the right to self-defence,” said FM Bilawal while addressing a ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Commenting on the continued militant attacks on Pakistan by the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other terrorist groups, Bilawal said it was time for the interim Afghan government to act against these terrorists.

“If we are repeatedly attacked like this, and there is no appropriate response, we will be forced to do this. But I don’t think it should be amongst the first options for us,” he added.

The foreign minister also said Kabul’s Taliban government needed to act against the TTP and other militant groups that were targeting Pakistan.

“If they [Afghan government] need any help, then I think Pakistan should be prepared to help them. Our preference will be that we want the officials there, the interim government, to act against them,” he added.

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