At least 11 terrorists and three soldiers were killed on Tuesday when Pakistani troops repulsed an attack on one of their border posts in North Waziristan Agency by intruders from Afghanistan.
On a day when the Foreign Office rebutted the latest Afghan allegations against Pakistan of sending militants across the Durand Line, the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said that a group of terrorists crossed over from Afghanistan and attacked the Dandi Kuch post in Spinwam area of North Waziristan.
“Pakistan’s troops repulsed the attack valiantly. Eleven terrorists were killed and one was apprehended. Bodies of three terrorists are with the security forces. Three FC soldiers also embraced Shahadat in exchange of fire,” said the military’s media wing.
The border attack came amid concerns expressed by Kabul regarding the announcement of the Punjabi Taliban to give up militancy in Pakistan and shift their activities to Afghanistan. The announcement by Punjabi Taliban chief Asmatullah Muawya prompted Afghanistan to summon a senior Pakistani diplomat in Kabul on Monday to lodge a protest over the development.
Abdul Samad Samad, the head of political affairs at the Afghan foreign ministry, condemned Muaweya’s threats as a “clear conspiracy against the stability and security of Afghanistan”. Samad said that many “Pakistani militants were killed or arrested” during recent clashes in several parts of the country.
However, a statement issued by the Foreign Office dismissed the Afghan allegations and termed repeated attempts by Kabul to implicate Pakistani intelligence institutions in terrorist activities were both ‘unfounded and counter-productive’.
“We express our dismay at the latest allegations levelled in the statements issued by Afghanistan’s National Security Council and Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam.
She said Pakistan had stressed time and again that it was committed to disallowing its territory to be used against any country. “We would not allow anyone to breach Pakistan’s laws in this regard or to undermine our goals of fostering friendly and cooperative relations with neighbouring countries,” Aslam insisted. “At the same time, we believe that the threat of terrorism is best addressed through mutual cooperation,” she added.
The spokesperson said Pakistan’s firm resolve to combat this menace, without any distinction or discrimination, was concretely manifested in the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb.
“It is imperative that complementary actions are taken by the Afghan authorities on their side of the border. Elimination of terrorist sanctuaries and handing over of TTP elements that have taken refuge in Afghanistan are the first important steps in that direction,” the spokesperson said.
“We hope the Afghan side will respond positively by taking the requisite counter-terrorism measures in the long-term interest of friendly, cooperative and good-neighbourly relations with Pakistan. Such a cooperative Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship, we are convinced, is the best guarantee for durable peace, stability and prosperity in the region,” Tasnim stressed.
Operation Zarb-e-Azb has been under way since June 15. At the same time, security forces have also been bombing targets in Khyber Agency. On Tuesday, warplanes flattened at least three hideouts in Tirah Valley, killing at least 20 militants. According to the ISPR, two ammunition dumps were also destroyed in the precision strikes in the Tordara Koki Khel area.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2014.