Army chief warns Kabul on TTP safe havens

COAS visits Quetta Garrison, urges Afghan govt to not allow use of its soil to perpetrate terror against any country

Kamran Yousaf July 14, 2023
The army chief during today’s visit paid rich tribute to the Shuhada, visited the injured soldiers at CMH, Quetta, and lauded their services to the nation and appreciated their resolve. Photo: ISPR


The army chief on Friday issued a stern warning to the interim Afghan Taliban government over the presence of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) across the border, saying recent terrorist attacks would elicit effective response from Pakistan.

General Asim Munir visited the Quetta Garrison, where he was briefed on the recent terrorist attack in Zhob in which at least nine soldiers embraced martyrdom. The attack was the latest in a series of terrorist attacks carried out by militants in recent weeks.

A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the army chief voiced serious concerns over “safe havens” of TTP in Afghanistan.

“The Armed Forces of Pakistan have serious concerns on the safe havens and liberty of action available to TTP in Afghanistan,” the statement noted.

“It is expected that the interim Afghan Government would not allow the use of its soil to perpetrate terror against any country, in the real sense and in line with commitments made in Doha Agreement,” the army chief was quoted as saying.

General Munir revealed that Afghan nationals were involved in recent acts of terrorism in Pakistan.

“The involvement of Afghan nationals in acts of terrorism in Pakistan is another important concern that needs to be addressed,” the army chief said.

“Such attacks are intolerable and would elicit effective response from the Security Forces of Pakistan,” he warned.

He further said operations against terrorists would continue unabated and the armed forces shall not rest till the menace of terrorism is rooted out from the country.

The army chief’s statement suggests frustration on part of Pakistan due to the lack of cooperation from the Afghan Taliban to tackle the TTP threat.

The Afghan Taliban spokesperson in a recent statement claimed the interim government was not allowing its soil to be used against any country and that TTP was a problem of Pakistan to deal with.

The TTP has become a thorny issue between Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban. Despite efforts, the two sides could not find a common ground to deal with the issue.

At the heart of the problem is the Afghan Taliban’s reluctance to act against the TTP and their leadership. Pakistan believes that the TTP and their top leadership were operating in Afghanistan with impunity.

The Afghan Taliban after taking over in August 2021 tried to broker a deal between Pakistan and the TTP. Talks did make progress initially as the TTP announced a ceasefire in return for Pakistan freeing certain militants. Islamabad also allowed hundreds of TTP fighters to return as part of the confidence building measure.

However, the move quickly backfired as returning militants started targeting the security forces.

The TTP called off the ceasefire a day before the change of command at the GHQ in November last year.

After the change of army command, the civil and military leadership admitted that policy to seek peace talks with the TTP was thoughtless and had only given advantage to the terrorist group.

Pakistan is no longer seeking talks with the TTP and instead repeatedly pressed upon the Afghan Taliban to neutralise the banned outfit.

However, those efforts have so far failed to make any headway as the Afghan Taliban are still adamant for peace talks between Pakistan and the TTP.

But the latest statement by the army chief indicates that there is no appetite in Pakistan for talks with TTP.

Earlier on arrival, the COAS was received by Commander Quetta Corps. The army chief paid rich tribute to the Shuhada, visited the injured soldiers at CMH, Quetta, and lauded their services to the nation and appreciated their resolve.

Army chief in Iran

Meanwhile, Gen Asim is in Tehran on a two-day official visit. This is his first visit to Iran since he was appointed as army chief in November last year.

“The COAS will meet Iranian military and civilian leadership during his visit to Iran,” read a statement of the ISPR.

“During the visit, the COAS will discuss bilateral matters related to defence and security cooperation,” the statement added.


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