Says those who attacked Afghanistan “lived, were recruited and operated freely in Pakistan and no action was taken against them”
- COAS rubbishes Ashraf Ghani’s claims, offers cooperation
In what seems like an uncharacteristically strong worded statement from Afghan Presidential Palace against Pakistan, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said that those who recently launched attacks in Afghanistan “lived, were recruited and operated freely in Pakistan and no action was taken against them”.
Interestingly, the statement claims that the Afghan president said this during a phone call with the Pakistani army chief General Qamar Bajwa on Sunday when the latter called the former to condemn recent attacks in the country. The military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations, said General Bajwa also offered intelligence cooperation and border management to stop illegal cross-border movement.
The offer came following attacks in Kabul, Kandahar and Helmand which killed nearly 60 people, including five UAE diplomats. Taliban claimed attacks in Kabul and Helmand and denied involvement in the Kandahar attack, which they blamed on the internal power struggle between officials in Kandahar.
“In his telephonic talk, President Ghani vowed to take revenge from the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks and said his country is ready to ensure security of his country,” a statement from Ghani’s office said.
“He again described terrorism and extremism as a serious threat for the region and the world and said that a lack of determination to fight against the common threat could pose dangers to Pakistan itself and the region,” the statement posted on the Afghan president’s website added.
President Ghani said he wants “serious talks” to discuss Kabul’s future relationship with Pakistan.
During the call
During his call, Gen Bajwa reiterated Pakistan’s unwavering support to Afghan government to fight off the scourge of terrorism.
It was the second telephonic contact by the army chief with Dr Ghani after assuming his office.
In this call, he suggested a robust border management mechanism and intelligence cooperation to effectively put a stop to the movement of terrorist across the border.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan, China and Russia recently held crucial talks in Moscow in a bid to evolve a joint strategy to help start a peace dialogue in Afghanistan.
“COAS reiterated Pakistan’s cooperation with Afghan Govt and people to eliminate the scourge of terrorism which is affecting peace and stability of the whole region,” read a statement issued by ISPR.
The statement added that Gen Bajwa emphasized that Pakistan has come a long way in its fight against terrorism of all hues and colours and has eliminated all safe havens in the process.
“COAS suggested a robust border management mechanism and intelligence cooperation to put a stop to and fro movement of terrorists across the border. He said that the elements inimical to peace in the region are strengthened by the blame game. Both nations should rather focus on capitalizing upon the gains of successful Zarb e Azb in Pakistan,” it said.
CENTCOM Commander calls
Rubbishing Afghanistan’s claim linking Pakistan with terror attacks, the Chief of Army Staff said Pakistan supports and looks forward to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
Commander United States Central Command (US CENTCOM) General Joseph L Votel also called on army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday at the General Headquarters (GHQ) and discussed the security situation in Afghanistan.
“[Speaking] with reference to the recent terror incidents and follow up rhetoric from certain factions implicating Pakistan, the army chief said blame game is detrimental to enduring peace and stability,” the military’s media wing ISPR said in a statement.
Earlier during the day, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told Gen Bajwa that those who recently launched attacks in Afghanistan “lived, were recruited and operated freely in Pakistan and no action was taken against them.”
“The COAS highlighted that Pakistan has undertaken operations against terrorists of all hue and colour and there are no safe havens inside the country to be used against Afghanistan,” statement added.
Gen Bajwa expressed his commitment to work in close coordination with Afghanistan and US Resolute Support Mission (RSM) for improved security environment in the Pak-Afghan border region.
In this regard, the COAS emphasised requirement of Pak-Afghan bilateral border security and intelligence-sharing mechanisms. “Pakistan supports and looks forward to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process,” he said.
He also highlighted the importance Pakistan accords to its relations with the US, particularly cooperation in counter-terrorism and regional stability.
The visiting dignitary acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan Army’s successes in fight against terrorism and continued efforts for bringing peace and stability in the region.
Earlier on arrival at GHQ, a contingent of Pakistan Army presented Guard of Honour to the visiting dignitary. General Votel also laid a floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada to pay homage to the martyrs.
Plugging cross-border movement
Eminent defence expert Lt Gen (retd) Amjad Shoaib told Pakistan Today that Pakistan wanted to plug all the gaps in cross-border movement by evolving effective border management system.
“Every time there is a terrorist incident in Afghanistan, finger pointing at Pakistan is made just to shift focus. Now Pakistan has made another sincere effort to help cooperate with Afghan government in nailing down terrorists,” he said.
Gen Amjad said that after an unprecedented success in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, Pakistan wanted to share its successful experience with its neighbours.
He said that intelligence sharing could largely help Afghan forces in taking effective actions against terrorists.
He said that effective border management could completely negate any chance of across the border movement of terrorists and Afghanistan must comply with Pakistani proposal to curb terrorism.