Shift in Afghan approach: Kabul promised to dismantle TTP safe havens

Published: November 17, 2014
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Friday, November 14, 2014. PHOTO: ISPR

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Friday, November 14, 2014. PHOTO: ISPR

ISLAMABAD: The new administration in Kabul has assured Pakistan that it will take action against alleged sanctuaries of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliates on the Afghan soil in a significant move which suggests increased anti-terror cooperation between the two neighbours.

The assurance came from President Ashraf Ghani during his talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief General Raheel Sharif in his just-concluded maiden trip to Islamabad, officials familiar with the development told The Express Tribune.

A security official while speaking on condition of anonymity said there was a visible shift in Afghanistan’s approach since the new government took over in September this year. “We have had very frank and candid discussions with the Afghan president and he agreed that terrorist sanctuaries will be dismantled on the Afghan side of the border,” he disclosed.

The commitment was given after Ghani was briefed ‘with evidence’ that Pakistan’s ongoing operation in North Waziristan Agency was targeting ‘terrorists of all shades’, including the deadly Haqqani Network. “There is no ambiguity in our policy now. We are treating all militant outfits, including the Haqqanis, as a threat to peace,” the official insisted.

The paradigm shift is apparently attributed to army chief General Raheel Sharif who, according to sources, has a clear stance on the war on terror unlike his predecessor.

Officials said the Afghan president welcomed Pakistan’s push against militants and made it clear that his administration would not allow any militant group, including those from the TTP, to find refuge on Afghan soil.

Islamabad has long been seeking decisive action against the TTP sanctuaries in the northeastern Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. In the past, Pakistan had even accused Afghan security agencies of supporting the TTP and its affiliates to further their interests.

However, with the change of government in Kabul, Islamabad is hoping that Afghan authorities would eliminate TTP ‘safe havens.’

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan remained tense during former Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s 13-year rule. Karzai often accused Pakistan’s security establishment of sheltering Afghan insurgents, a charge Islamabad strongly denies. But unlike Karzai, his successor struck a reconciliatory note during his visit and avoided blame game.

The Express Tribune has learnt that a considerable progress has been achieved to evolve a new security mechanism under which security forces of the two countries would increase cooperation in the post-2014 scenario.

An official said currently Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US-led Nato forces had a trilateral arrangement to deal with border issues as well as fighting militants. Now the focus has shifted from trilateral to a bilateral approach.

The renewed offer from Gen Raheel to train Afghan security forces is part of that policy that would help strengthen military-to-military ties. The Afghan president is believed to have given a positive response to Pakistan’s offer, which was not accepted previously by his predecessor.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Abdul Rehman
    Nov 17, 2014 - 2:26AM

    and how do they plan to do that? If Pak army cant defeat TTP, how will afghans..


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Nov 17, 2014 - 3:14AM

    General Raheel has done a wonderful job and also thanks to Imran for not protesting on deaths of his Taliban friends and on Drone attacks.


  • Shuaib
    Nov 17, 2014 - 5:57AM

    Pakistan must sieze this opportunity to make amends with Afghanistan and the US. It will help bring in loads of investment and the security situation will inshallah progress towards stability and peace. Give Nawaz Sharif 2 more years.


  • Asok
    Nov 17, 2014 - 6:39AM

    In other words, Pakistan assured Afghanistan that Pak is acting against groups (i.e. Haqqani network) that traditionally had Pak support, and the Afghans reciprocated the assurance.

    It is good news. Let us hope both sides are sincere and the agreement holds.


  • UkidinMe?
    Nov 17, 2014 - 7:57AM

    Thanks to God! For listening to the prayers of poor Afghans who just can’t pay the price of Proxy Wars anymore.


  • Virkaul
    Nov 17, 2014 - 9:30AM

    Has Pakistan assured the Afghan President of removing sanctuaries of Haqqanis and Gulbadin Hekmatyar? It needs to be a two way street.


  • Anjaan
    Nov 17, 2014 - 10:07AM

    Is Kabul’s promise is the only story … or there is an agreement of quid pro quo … ?? … Why will anyone believe that Afghanistan would agree to dismantle TTP, without Pakistan agreeing to do its part by dismantling its strategic assets … ? … why is the article silent on Pakistan’s part of the agreement … ?


  • Ali
    Nov 17, 2014 - 10:53AM


    Has India assured Pakistan that it would stop proxy insurgency in Baluchistan ?


  • Brothers
    Nov 17, 2014 - 11:21AM

    Don’t worry! We are brothers after all proxy agents are chased out of both lands!


  • ali
    Nov 17, 2014 - 11:51AM

    Why ppl cant keep to their business?

    Representatives of Pak and Afghan held meeting to resolve their issues with whatever promises they made. Why ppl of third country are providing unsolicited advisory?

    Such a valuable question you asked, we should all try to communicate with Mr. ghani that has he made himself sure of Pakistan side of promise as per your advise bcoz he might be fool to neglect interests of other self proclaimed interested countries of region.


  • FZR
    Nov 17, 2014 - 12:48PM

    Pakistan does not have any terrorist sanctuaries within its border. It has never been proven. The USA and Israel are fighting a proxy war here. Now all will be alright as we neighbours are on same page. Afganistan removes it support to terrorists and Pakistan will be prosperous again and will sit at its deserved place among powerful nations. We are after all a aitum bum.


  • Milind
    Nov 17, 2014 - 1:31PM

    @Ali – “Has India assured Pakistan that it would stop proxy insurgency in Baluchistan ?”

    Nope… because there’s no support from India to the insurgency in Baluchistan, to begin with..

    You cannot stop any activity unless its started…


  • lkhan
    Nov 17, 2014 - 4:17PM

    Not only TTP sanctuaries but the many Indian consulates on the Baloch border too should be dismantled. Pakistan should hand over Mullah Omar as a gesture of peace in reply.. There will still be many thorny issues between the two countries, complex, yet it would be a great start for normalising relations between Afghanistan/Pakistan.


    Nov 17, 2014 - 9:01PM

    First and foremost, we cannot afford to undermine our shared efforts against terrorism with conspiracy theories. The fact of the matter is that the U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan have lost thousands of brave soldiers in fighting terrorism. Furthermore, our nations continue to make sacrifices for the sake of achieving our shared peace objectives. These meetings between the regional partners allow both nations to address their shared concerns and build on the improving relationship. It is simply in our best interests to remain unified against those who pose a risk to the safety of our nations. At the end of the day, we have come too far and made too many sacrifices to lose control of the situation. We greatly appreciate all of Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s sacrifices in our fight against terrorism, and hope to maintain a healthy working partnership for the betterment of the region. This is what RDML John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary, said last week: “The Pakistani people know well the threat of terrorism. They’ve suffered now from it for years. And the Pakistani military continues to take casualties as they go against terrorists inside their country. It’s very much an internal threat inside Pakistan. And we are mindful of that, which is one of the reasons why we’re grateful that the communication and coordination with the Pakistani military across that border continues, and it’s pretty healthy right now. But this is obviously a threat that the Pakistani people know all too well, and that’s also an indication of the continued terrorism threat that emanates from that part of the world.”

    Ali Khan
    Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOM


  • AK
    Nov 17, 2014 - 11:22PM

    If Afg Pak and India get serious in tackling these issues while putting a full stop in troubling each other and end their american dependency then these three would become a lethal trio.They should look at the Europian Union for an example and the western block who collaborate with each other on every front.This kind of a partnership will be healthy for all and envy for the “white nations” who keep their lands trouble free and instigate violence in the 3rd world nations.Its time to become truthful and smart for the purpose of living a good life.


  • SayWhat?
    Nov 18, 2014 - 2:37AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: Sorry Sir! It was your party leaders who were not taking any action against TTP, they instead asked them for safety & protection only for their own constituency. IK, who I’m not a fan of, only worried of collateral damages due to Drone attacks. Gen Raheel Sharif solely took it upon himself, despite PM abstinence, to flush The extremists out himself. Please, Don’t take credit for something your leader never initiated in the first place.


  • numbersnumbers
    Nov 18, 2014 - 7:34AM

    You somehow neglected to tell us all about the LOCATIONS of those “Iindian consulates on the Baluch border”!!!
    Perhaps because they only exist in you mind!


  • observer
    Nov 19, 2014 - 7:20AM


    As an American and a taxpayer, I can’t understand why we pay our army people to spend their time to surf the internet blogs and post absolutely useless posts. I will be forwarding your posts to Chuck Hagel to explain why my tax money is being wasted this way.


  • StayAwake
    Nov 19, 2014 - 5:51PM

    @observer: It’s not useless at all. It tells the enemy we are watching all activities, public opinions and political environment. As a US taxpayer I want DHS & USC to keep vigilant 24/7/365. It’s not only good for our forces but for locals too. Keep up the good work!


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