Pakistan on Thursday asked the interim Afghan government to take “concrete actions” against terrorist outfits including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) operating out of the neighbouring country in the wake of deadly terrorist attack in Peshawar killing over 100 mostly police officials.
“Pakistan expects sincere cooperation from the interim Afghan government to address the challenge of terrorism and hopes that Kabul would live up to the commitments made to the international community in this regard,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told a weekly news briefing in Islamabad.
She was reacting to the statement of acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, who on Tuesday said that Pakistan shouldn’t put the blame for the explosion at a mosque in Peshawar on Afghanistan.
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Muttaqi claimed that there was no terrorist base in Afghanistan and the county’s soil will not be used against other countries.
But the foreign office spokesperson’s response suggested Pakistan was not convinced.
“We do not believe in accusations or finger pointing; however, we would reiterate our expectation that no country should allow its territory to be used for perpetrating terrorism against Pakistan,” she said without explicitly mentioning Afghanistan.
“It is time the commitments made to the world and Pakistan are fulfilled with sincerity and in good faith with concrete actions,” the spokesperson emphasised, referring to the commitment made by the Afghan Taliban not to allow the Afghan soil to be used again by terrorist groups.
The cautious response from the spokesperson despite deadly terrorist attacks in Peshawar having possible links with Afghanistan appears to suggest that Pakistan does not want to spoil its ties with Kabul.
Some observers find this astonishing given the fact that the TTP and its affiliates are operating out of Afghanistan with impunity. Official sources said that while Pakistan took a more cautious approach in public, in private meetings strong message had been conveyed to the interim government.
“We take the loss of innocent lives very seriously and would expect our neighbours to do the same. Terrorism is a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan. We must take a strong stance against entities that use violence against innocent citizens and law enforcement agencies,’ the spokesperson further said.
Without directly pointing a finger at Afghanistan for the Peshawar attack, the spokesperson said Pakistan had opened an investigation and “we would not like to go into details of the investigation or the circumstances around the incident”.
The spokesperson refused to comment when asked if Pakistan would go for hot pursuit across the border if the Afghan government failed to take action against the TTP.
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The spokesperson said Pakistan had “the will and the ability” that it demonstrated in the past, to fight the menace of terrorism.
Replying to a question about the Pakistan-US cooperation to deal with the resurgent TTP, the spokesperson said Pakistani forces were capable to fight this threat.
“We continue to engage with all friends of Pakistan, including the United States to discuss cooperation in matters relating to counterterrorism, security issues, and other issues of bilateral importance,” she said.
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