ISLAMABAD: While the foreign office remains firm in its stance that Pakistan has been forced to retaliate against Afghan militant attacks, a senior official of the defence ministry has claimed that foreign forces in Afghanistan are behind recent cross border attacks in Pakistan.
According to the official, international forces raised a Coalition Special Operation Force (CSOF) to ‘directly and indirectly attack security forces and civilians in the bordering towns of Pakistan’.
He further told The Express Tribune that Islamabad had filed formal complaints with the US and Nato against armed attacks on its security forces in Dir and Chitral. “We are waiting for their reply,” he added while requesting anonymity.
American news website the Long War Journal in a report last week confirmed that the CSOF was fighting against the Taliban in Afganistan’s Nuristan province – an area mostly under the control of the Taliban and other allied fighting groups.
Furthermore, noted strategy expert Brig Shaukat Qadir told The Express Tribune that the CSOF, which, he said, was established by the US to sponsor violence in Pakistan, was used by foreign forces to attack Pakistani bordering towns.
Meanwhile, a senior official in the foreign affairs ministry has confirmed that several rockets were recently fired as ‘retaliatory action’ on militants by Pakistani security forces in the Afghan province of Kunar.
The official made it clear that the attacks were part of retaliatory action against the militants who in the last two months have been constantly attacking Pakistani security forces and defence installations in Dir and Chitral from Kunar.
While the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has repeatedly blamed US and Nato forces in Afghanistan for sponsoring militant attacks on civilian and security forces in Dir and Chitral, the foreign affairs ministry refrains from accusing foreign troops.
“We are aware that a third party is directly involved in anti-Pakistan violence in our tribal regions,” the source said while requesting anonymity.
Ruling out Afghanistan
“Islamabad is aware that the Afghan government is not responsible for the border violations,” the foreign office source said, adding that a militarily fragile country would not attack Pakistan on its own.
He also referred to the recent statement by the Afghan foreign ministry’s spokesman regarding the ongoing tug-of-war between Pakistan and the United States. He said Kabul was perturbed by the development. “The Afghan foreign ministry’s deputy spokesman Dr Faramarz Tamanna said that Afghanistan welcomes any regional and international pressure on Pakistan but believes that a deterioration of relationship between America and Pakistan can’t help regional peace”.
Pakistan’s foreign office believed that peace between Islamabad and Kabul was much more in the interest of Afghanistan. He said that after the recapture of the Waigal district in Nuristan by Afghani Taliban in March this year, foreign forces in Afghanistan sponsored attacks on the Pakistani bordering towns.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2011.