ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday called upon the Afghan government to take immediate action against the terrorists and terror groups finding sanctuaries in Afghanistan to target Pakistani security forces, a day after a cross-border terrorist attack on an army checkpost in Bajaur Agency resulted in the martyrdom of two Pakistani soldiers.
According to a statement released by the Foreign Office, Pakistan condemned the cross-border attack and summoned the Afghan Charge d’Affaires (to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to lodge a strong protest (with the Afghan government) over the attack that resulted in the martyrdom of Captain Junaid Hafeez and Sepoy Raham.
“Pakistan has been witnessing a surge in terrorist attacks on its security forces deployed along the Pak-Afghan border who are engaged in strengthening border management. These cross-border terrorist attacks on Pakistani forces confirm the presence of a large number of terrorists in the increasingly ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan,” the FO said in the statement.
“The forces supporting these acts of terrorism against Pakistan who have been allowed to use the Afghan soil are a serious threat to peace and stability in Afghanistan, and the region,” the FO said.
“Pakistan calls upon the Government of Afghanistan to take immediate action against the terrorists and terrorist groups finding sanctuaries in Afghanistan to target Pakistani security forces. Strengthening the border management is critical to preventing such cross-border attacks,” concluded the FO statement.
PAKISTAN VICTIM OF SECURITY VACUUM IN AFGHANISTAN:
Following the martyrdom of two Pakistani soldiers in a skirmish along the restive border near Bajaur Agency on Monday, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Major General Asif Ghafoor said Pakistan was paying the price for security vacuum on Afghan side of the border.
According to an ISPR statement, at least eight to 10 militants were shot dead and two Pakistani soldiers martyred when terrorists attacked a checkpost near the Pak-Afghan border in Bajaur Agency.
“Terrorists from [the] Afghanistan side attempted [an] attack on Pakistani posts along [the] Pak-Afghan border in Bajaur Agency. The attempt was effectively responded killing 8-10 fleeing terrorists while many seen running back [were] injured,” the ISPR said in the statement.
“Captain Junaid Hafeez and Sepoy Raham embraced shahdat (martyrdom) while four soldiers sustained injuries,” it added.
“The absence of Afghan [state] writ on [the] Afghan side of the border, like many other areas, facilitate terrorists to undertake such attempts,” the ISPR said.
Following the martyrdom of the two soldiers in the cross-border attack, the ISPR chief tweeted, “Pakistan has done its part including cleared all areas of terrorists, border fencing, building new check posts, enhanced presence along Pak-Afghan border and established of crossing points.”
Talking about the militant hideouts in a war-torn Afghanistan, General Ghafoor in his second tweet said: “It now requires elimination of terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan and effective Afghan border security.”
Lives of forces and citizens equally precious on both sides of the border, he said, adding that more efforts were required on Afghanistan side by all the stake holders.
The ISPR in August had announced the conclusion of Khyber-4 Operation in Khyber Agency which included clearing the areas on the Pakistani side of the border.
Pakistan began fencing the Pak-Afghan border earlier this year to prevent terrorists from crossing into the country from Afghanistan.
The two countries accuse the other of harbouring their militant enemies — both deny the other’s charges.
Earlier this month, during a Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs briefing, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua maintained that terror groups are not functioning in Pakistan, but operating from across the Pak-Afghan border.
“In Afghanistan, 45 per cent of the country is not under government control, which is why the Haqqani network and other terror groups do not need a safe haven in Pakistan,” she said, repeating the state’s new refrain on cross-border terrorism.