Da’ish has not been allowed to gain proper foothold in Pakistan and the group has no organised presence in the country, the military’s top spokesman has said.
“Some scattered banned outfits have joined the Da’ish bandwagon. The group itself has no organised presence here,” Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor told Express News.
The group, however, “is gaining strength in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nooristan because of the absence of Afghan troops along the border,” he said, adding that militants from across the border were trying to create sectarian faultlines in Pakistan.
“These militants were pushed out of Pakistan in a successful military operation but they have found refuge in areas across the border close to Khyber and Kurrum agencies. This concentration and contiguity [of terrorists] near the border has allowed them to make Parachinar a soft target.”
Hundreds of protesters in Parachinar on Friday ended their eight-day long sit-in after army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa assured them of better security, according to protest leaders and the military.
The protesters were staging a peaceful sit-in following two blasts at a market in the town on June 23 that killed at least 72 people and injured several others — the latest in a series of attacks that have targeted hundreds in the Kurram Agency.
Maj Gen Ghafoor said the fencing of the porous and difficult 2,600-kilometre Pakistan-Afghanistan border has already started and additional Frontier Corps troops have been deployed.
“This is in addition to establishing posts and forts to improve border management and security.”
However, he added, this border security and management was still almost unilateral. “There are still loopholes on the Afghan side.”