ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has dismissed American and Afghan concerns that its ongoing North Waziristan operation isn’t achieving the desired results against the Haqqani network.
“Regarding fears that the Haqqani network is being let off the hook, I would like to reiterate that the operation is targeting all terrorists. This has been clarified on multiple levels,” Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said.
The statement was a response to criticism by both Afghanistan and the United States regarding the effectiveness of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
At this critical juncture, he said, Pakistan needs full cooperation from Afghanistan to ensure that the fleeing militants do not cross the border and eliminate the hideouts for anti-Pakistan elements.
Responding to a question, the foreign secretary disclosed that the prime minister sent Mahmood Khan Achakzai as his special envoy to Kabul last month to prevent possible attacks by anti-Pakistan elements particularly Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Aizaz claimed that he accompanied Achakzai on the visit.
“It was important to ensure that Afghanistan is willing to extend the same degree of cooperation Pakistan has extended to help establish lasting peace. There were also reports of some kind of backlash in Afghanistan which could have drastic implications for the region and for us,” he said.
Dialogue with India
Speaking about deliberations between foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India, Aizaz said Pakistan welcomed the opportunity to hold discussions to revive dialogue to discuss pending issues.
The foreign secretary claimed he discussed ceasefire violations at the Line of Control (LoC) during his telephone conversation with his Indian counterpart. He informed the Indian foreign secretary that Pakistani troops merely reacted to fire from other side of the border.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2014.