Taliban shifting terrorists away from Pak-Afghan border after Islamabad warning

Pakistan conveyed to Afghan Taliban to take action against terrorist groups or face consequences, says official


Kamran Yousaf April 25, 2022
Representational picture. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Afghan Taliban-led interim government has started taking steps to shift terrorist groups away from Pakistan-Afghan border regions to other parts after a series of recent cross-border attacks drew strong reaction from Islamabad.

Officials familiar with the development told The Express Tribune on Sunday that Pakistan after recent spate of cross-border terrorist attacks conveyed to the Afghan Taliban in clear terms to take action against terrorist groups or face the consequences.

In response to Pakistan’s strong message, the Taliban have decided to persuade banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliates to move from border regions to other areas of Afghanistan.

"Some of the groups have already been moved out of our border regions," said a senior Pakistani official, who deals with the issue. He requested not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Pakistan, the official said, though doesn't agree with the approach but accept the Taliban’s decision to at least to stop immediate cross-border terrorist attacks.

Also read: ‘Pak drone’ eliminated TTP targets in Afghanistan

"Our demand is clear that these groups must be eliminated or dealt with in a manner that they never pose threat to us again," the official added.

There has been a surge in cross border terrorist attacks in recent weeks with scores of Pakistani soldiers embracing martyrdom.

On Saturday, three Pakistani soldiers lost their lives in North Waziristan district when terrorists from across the border launched an attack. On April 14, seven Pakistani soldiers were martyred in a similar terrorist attack.

After that attack, Pakistan reportedly carried out air strikes in Kunar and Khost provinces of Afghanistan to eliminate the terrorist hideouts.

The foreign office also issued a strongest statement yet condemning the cross-border terrorist attacks.

The strongly-worded statement said terrorists were using the Afghan soil with impunity and urged the Afghan Taliban to take stern section against them.

When the Taliban returned to power, Pakistan hoped that the new dispensation would deal with these terror groups. Despite promises, officials said the Taliban haven't yet taken decisive action to fulfil their commitments.

Also read: Taliban govt hopes election of PM Shehbaz would strengthen ties

"It only makes their (Taliban) case difficult as far as the recognition is concerned," the official said without mincing any words.

Pakistan in recent months has been increasingly frustrated by the Taliban government's reluctance to eliminate TTP and other groups.

Part of the reason that the Taliban are not ready to take action these groups is because they fought alongside them against the US-led foreign forces and also share the same ideology.

Officials, however, warned that such an approach would only make matters worse for the Taliban government, which needs international recognition and support to revive the economy.

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