Home Latest News Pakistan Targeted TTP Hideouts in Border Regions inside Afghanistan: FO

Pakistan Targeted TTP Hideouts in Border Regions inside Afghanistan: FO

Islamabad calls on ‘elements’ in Kabul patronizing TTP to rethink their policy, as U.S. urges ‘both sides’ to address any differences between them

by Staff Report
Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

File photo

The Foreign Office on Monday confirmed that Pakistan had carried out intelligence-based anti-terrorists operations in the border regions inside Afghanistan, stressing the primary target of the operation was terrorists of the Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that the Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group, along with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was responsible for multiple terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and law enforcement officials. “The latest attack took place on March 16, 2024, at a security post in Mir Ali in North Waziristan and claimed the lives of seven Pakistani soldiers,” it added.

On Saturday, seven Pakistan Army soldiers, including a lieutenant colonel and captain—embraced martyrdom after fighting terrorists attacking a security forces’ post in Mir Ali. The Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group subsequently claimed the attack. Attending the funeral prayers of the martyred officers, President Asif Ali Zardari warned that Pakistan would retaliate and would not let the blood of the martyrs go in vain.

According to the Foreign Office, Pakistan has repeatedly conveyed its concerns over the presence of terrorist outfits in Afghanistan for the past two years. “These terrorists pose a grave threat to Pakistan’s security and have consistently used Afghan territory to launch terror attacks inside Pakistani territory,” it said, adding that Islamabad has prioritized dialogue and cooperation to tackle the threat as it places prime importance on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan.

“We have repeatedly urged the Afghan authorities to take concrete and effective action to ensure that Afghan soil is not used as a staging ground for terrorism against Pakistan. We have also called on them to deny safe havens to TTP and to hand over its leadership to Pakistan,” it said, maintaining Pakistan has great respect for the people of Afghanistan.

“However, certain elements among those in power in Afghanistan are actively patronizing TTP and using them as a proxy against Pakistan. Such an approach against a brotherly country, which stood with the people of Afghanistan through thick and thin, manifests shortsightedness,” it said, adding such actions ignored the support extended by Pakistan to the people of Afghanistan for several decades. “We urge these elements in power to rethink the policy of siding with Khwarij terrorists shedding the blood of innocent Pakistanis and to make a clear choice to stand with the people of Pakistan,” it added.

Describing terrorist groups like the TTP as a collective threat to regional peace and security, the Foreign Office acknowledged the challenge Afghan authorities face in combating the threat posed by TTP. “Pakistan would therefore continue to work towards finding joint solutions in countering terrorism and to prevent any terrorist organization from sabotaging bilateral relations with Afghanistan,” it added.

Earlier, the spokesperson for the interim Afghanistan government had announced that Pakistan had conducted airstrikes in border areas of the Khost and Paktika provinces, alleging the assault had killed eight civilians. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan does not allow anyone to compromise security by using Afghan territory,” added Zabiullah Mujahid.

U.S. urges caution

Amidst the escalation in tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the U.S. State Department called on “both sides” to address their differences, stressing Washington was committed to ensuring Afghanistan never again became a safe haven for terrorists.

“We deeply regret the loss of life and injustices sustained during the attack in Pakistan, and the loss of civilian lives during the strike in Afghanistan. We urge the Taliban to ensure that terrorist attacks are not launched from Afghan soil, and we urge Pakistan to exercise restraint and ensure civilians are not harmed in their counterterrorism efforts,” spokesperson Vedant Patel told a regular press briefing.

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