Afghanistan has claimed that Pakistan’s operation in the tribal region of North Waziristan is unacceptable as no action has been taken against the Haqqani Network.
Pakistan launched the long-awaited military offensive on June 15 against local and foreign militants. The army claims that all ‘terrorists groups’, including the Haqqani Network, are the prime targets.
However, the Afghan foreign ministry’s spokesman Ahmed Shakib Mustaghni is entirely unconvinced by Pakistan’s commitment to eradicate militancy.
Speaking at his weekly press briefing in Kabul, he billed the ongoing military offensive as unacceptable to the Afghan government.
“The operation is only against the Pakistani Taliban and specific action has not been taken to suppress the Haqqani Network,” he said.
The Afghan government has blamed the Haqqani Network for last week’s deadly car bomb attack in the eastern Paktika province that had killed over 80 civilians. Afghan Taliban denied involvement and blamed the Afghan intelligence for attacks in public places.
Mustaghni’s remarks came shortly after adviser to the prime minister on national security and foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz told US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins that Pakistan is taking action against all militants.
“The adviser highlighted Pakistan’s monumental effort to address the threat of terrorism and underscored that the military operation was addressing this menace without any discrimination or distinction,” a foreign ministry statement cited Aziz as saying to Dobbins.
Mustaghni pointed fingers at Pakistani security agencies when a journalist asked who was to blame for last week’s car suicide bomb attack.
“Our security agencies have evidence that Pakistani security agencies are involved in the recent wave of terrorism in the country,” the Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Mustaghni said the Haqqani Network received support from Pakistani intelligence agencies in carrying out the Paktika attack.
He added that the Afghan government raised the issue with Pakistan through diplomatic channels. The international community and special representatives were engaged through a trilateral mechanism.
However, these efforts have not produced any results and the security situation has worsened, Mustaghni said.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson did not comment on the Afghan Foreign Ministry’s criticism. However, she simply reiterated that the operation is against all terrorists.
“Afghanistan should adopt measures on their side of the international border to ensure terrorists do not have sanctuaries on Afghan soil,” she said.
Kabul has levelled allegations at a time when Pakistan is seeking support from the Afghan security forces to boost security along the border to prevent fleeing militants from entering Afghanistan.
On Thursday, the US commander of Nato-led forces in Afghanistan General Joseph Dunford told lawmakers that he has reservations about the effectiveness of the army operation in North Waziristan.
“From the best that we can tell, the operation has had some success against the Pakistani Taliban and the IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan),” he said.
The US commander added that the military offensive has not had the desired effect on the Haqqani Network and other outfits that ought to be suppressed. All it has done was disrupt the Haqqani Network by forcing them to vacate their sanctuaries in Miramshah.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2014.