Army troops deployed on Afghan border crossings

ISPR chief says no organised terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan


Our Correspondent July 17, 2021
Previously, paramilitary troops and levies were used to guard the border crossings with the country's eastern neighbour. PHOTO: FILE

RAWALPINDI:

Pakistan Army’s regular troops are manning the crossings along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and all illegal crossing points have been sealed, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar said on Saturday.

The ISPR chief was presenting his views during a special transmission on a private TV channel. He said the recent terrorist incident had linkage with the recent Afghanistan situation that highlighted desperation of terrorists.

Babar said that since May 1, 2021, some 167 terrorist incidents took place, whereas the security force had conducted over 7,000 intelligence-based operations (IBOs), cordon-and-search operations and area domination operations in the aftermath.

“We are not guarantor to Afghanistan peace process as Afghanistan’s own stake holders have to decide their future,” the ISPR chief said, adding: “Peace in Pakistan is linked with peace in Afghanistan.”

He added: “We are meticulously monitoring the regional situation and playing a sincere role in Afghan peace process. We left no stone unturned in peace talks among all stakeholders of the peace process.”

The armed forces spokesperson underlined that the security forces had prepared a lot to cope with post-US and allied forces withdrawal in Afghanistan. “We made all preparations and placed all security measures, keeping in view the associated threats,” he added.

While elaborating the security risks, Babar said the security-domain threat included risk of revival of sleeper cells, restoration of terrorist groups in Balochistan that could have nexus with hostile agencies.

“We are very clear and [have] identified those agencies. The recent particular events also occurred due to it, and indicates the risk,” he added.

He said that when Afghan peace process started and prior to that it was presumed that peace in Afghanistan would “have impact on our side”. He mentioned that Pakistan had fought a long, nerve-testing war against terror and achieved hard-earned success.

“The border fencing along Pak-Afghan border is 90% complete and it has been expedited along Iran border. Many forts and security posts have been constructed and proper border management mechanism has been placed,” he said.

“The border fencing is also beneficial for Afghanistan’s security,” he added.

Commenting on the border security measures, he said that the FC’s capacity has been significantly beefed up, whereas police and levies’ training had been conducted under the supervision of Pakistan army.

The ISPR DG confirmed that there had been no organised terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan after the security operations conducted by the Army. “I can say with authentication that no organised terrorist infrastructure is existing in Pakistan,” he stressed.

He noted that the fugitive leadership of terrorist groups was based in Afghanistan, which was supported by the Indian intelligence agency RAW.

In the tribal areas and Balochistan, over 7,000 security operations were conducted since May 1, 2021, in which 42 terrorists were killed while many soldiers of the Pakistan army were martyred and injured during the operations, he added.

Also read: Pakistan allows thousands of stranded Afghans to cross Chaman border

“Pakistan Army is ready to exterminate all threats to the national peace and security. We are after them aggressively and they are on the run and in such an aggressive posture you bear casualties. Our officers are leading the operations from the front and we are after them and would not let them take any respite,” Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar declared.

The ISPR DG also highlighted the sacrifices rendered by the country in its fight against terrorism. He said that over 86,000 innocent lives had been lost in the war on terror, besides $152 billion economic losses.

However, the security forces conducted over 1,300 security operations, cleared over 46,000 square kilometres area from terrorist control and some 18,000 terrorists were killed, he said, adding that tonnes of explosives were confiscated in various operations.

During the security operations, he continued, the security forces along with kinetic measures also made “efforts in lawfare domain”, however, various measures had been taken and legislation carried out in the country.

“The world has acknowledged the constructive role of Pakistan in the regional peace and stability,” he added.

Babar said that Operation Raddul-Fasaad’s vision was that the use of power was the prerogative of state and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa took the entire effort under this vision to eliminate terrorism from its roots in the country.

The chief military spokesperson said that India had huge influence in Afghanistan and they used it. “The main purpose of its funding was to develop their roots in Afghanistan and destabilise Pakistan,” he noted.

“We have also presented a dossier in November 2020 and gave evidence of Indian terrorism and clandestine designs against Pakistan,” he said.

He further said there were training camps of RAW in Afghanistan that they used to unite all splinter anti-Pakistan groups. “India is the biggest spoiler in the region,” he said.

Intelligence agencies, he continued, always operate and function in grey zones whereas Pakistan’s peace was mainly relying on peace in Afghanistan. “It will be difficult for India to operate against Pakistan in this case,” he added.

Responding to the recent statement of Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who levelled allegations about Pakistan Air Force supporting Taliban, he said: “Absolutely, a false statement and I confirm that there are no such measures taken by the Pakistan Air Force.”

He added that the Afghan Air Force was operating on their side and no such activity done by the Pakistan Air Force. “I will only deny this statement.”

He mentioned that recently during clashes between Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan Taliban, around 40 ANA soldiers crossed towards our side in Bajaur and we gave them a soldierly protocol with food, gifts and handed over to Afghan forces.

Commenting on a recent operation against terrorists in the Kurram tribal district, he said on June 26, some 16 labourers were working at a mobile tower site in Kurram tribal district, who were abducted by the terrorists.

On 27 June, 10 out of 16 labourers were released and unfortunately, one labourer’s body was found. The security forces launched a series of intelligence-based operations in highly inhospitable terrain under extreme weather conditions, he added.

The terrorists were continuously tracked and pursued whereas in an IBO on July 13, 2021, three terrorists were killed while Captain Basit Ali and Sepoy Hazrat Bilal sacrificed their lives, while rescuing the innocent labourers.

Despite martyrdom of two soldiers, the security forces conducted the operation and rescued the remaining five labourers, he said, adding: “Operation is under way and we are going to eliminate them.

Pakistan army will pay every price for the peace and protection of the country.”

With additional input from APP

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