MIRANSHAH: The Pakistan Army “has satellite images and ground reports that prove Afghanistan’s involvement” in cross-border terrorist acts and infiltration of Afghan militants into Pakistan.
“Satellite images show that the Afghan border area of Parchow in Nangarhar district had been utilised by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Khalid Sajna and Da’ish groups to train militants,” said Lieutenant Colonel Haroon on Thursday while briefing Peshawar-based journalists at the North Waziristan headquarters.
“The soil of Afghanistan has also been used against targets in Pakistan,” Lt Col Haroon said, while claiming to “have pictorial proof that TTP Commander Abdul Wali resides in Nangarhar district and runs terror activities from Parchow.”
Stressing the need for effective border management for ensuring peace in Pakistan, he assured, “We will never allow Pakistani soil to be utilised for destabilizing Afghanistan.”
Some 205 security check posts had been established on the Pakistani side while Afghanistan only had 133, the army official informed the journalists.
He added that Pakistan had initiated a mechanism to stop illegal crossing at the border and decided to construct some 443 small and large security forts on the Pakistani side of Fata in seven agencies. About 35 forts would be set up in Malakand, 54 in Bajaur and 55 in North, while 77 were under construction in different parts of the seven agencies next to the Afghan border, he said, asking the Afghan government to reciprocate the same.
Requesting the aid agencies to extend their presence to Fata, especially to North Waziristan, Lt Co Haroon said, “Apart from the military operation, we have also improved living standard in the agency, revolutionised education sector there and provided equal opportunity to women. Now we also have all the international non-governmental organisations and UN agencies operating in the agency.”
The Ghulam Khan trade route and smuggling from the Afghan side accounted for 50 per cent of the livelihood and the Taliban generated 20 per cent of the revenue in North Waziristan, “but now that the trade route has been closed and the Taliban expelled, the residents of the agency are living off 30 per cent of the resources”, said Lt Gen Haroon, adding that it had been decided in principal to re-open its border with Afghanistan soon.
“A total of 94 per cent of the internally displaced persons have been repatriated to their respective agencies,” he said. Those displaced to the Afghan province of Khost would return after Eid; and screening in this regard was already underway, he added.
The repatriation process of the migrated Wazir tribe from Afghanistan would be totally halted in the holy month of Ramazan and restart from the fifth day of Eidul Fitr, he said, hoping that the issue would be resettled by the last month of the ongoing year.
He said, “From 2001 to 2008, the Taliban was controlling 23 per cent of Fata and the government 62 per cent while 15 per cent was contested for by the forces and militants throughout these years. The government launched some 177 major and 266 minor operations during these years.”
“Through serious military engagements in Fata and invert operations in the North, the might of the Taliban forces was shattered as some 2,872 militants were killed, 972 injured and 321 hideouts were destroyed with the help of Pakistan Air Force’s targeted operations,” said Lt Col Haroon.
People can travel freely at night in the agency due to the military’s operations against extremists and militants throughout the years, he said.
The briefing was also attended by Maj Gen Hassan Azhar Hayat, who leads the 7th Division, also known as the Golden Arrow Division.