SIALKOT: The top leadership of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the outlawed umbrella of terrorist groups responsible for most violence in the country, enjoys safe haven in Afghanistan, but no international power, including the United States, is willing to take action against the group, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Saturday.
“They [international powers] are unwilling to conduct operations in the Afghan areas from where TTP leaders, including its head honcho Mullah Fazlullah, are hatching conspiracies with the help of India to destabilise Pakistan,” Asif said while addressing a ceremony at the local press club.
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Islamabad has repeatedly complained to the Afghan government and Nato forces that TTP militants are using the Afghan soil as a springboard for launching terrorist attacks in Pakistan. Some of the deadliest terror attacks, including the methodical killing of schoolchildren at a military-run school in Peshawar in 2014, were masterminded and controlled from Afghanistan.
The defence minister said the May 21 US drone attack that killed Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in Naushki district of Balochistan was not a failure of Pakistan's foreign policy. “Instead it affected the efforts under way for establishing peace in Afghanistan,” he added.
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Pakistan will continue its efforts to establish a durable peace in Afghanistan because it desires good relations with its neighbours, he said, adding that both Afghanistan and the United States should show their ‘direly needed sincerity’ for this purpose.
Asif said the country’s defence was in safe hands and no one could dare to cast an evil eye on it. He added that Pakistan was keeping all options open on the American indecision over F-16 fighter jets. He alleged that international powers, including the US, were providing ammunition to India for use against Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2016.
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