In statement, spokesperson rejects Kabul’s claims that Pakistani Taliban are not present on Afghan soil
Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Monday rejected Kabul’s claims of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) not having any presence on Afghan soil, stressing that this had been verified by the United Nations.
“The assertions of the Afghan side are contrary to facts on ground and various reports of the U.N., which also corroborate the presence and activities of over 5,000-strong TTP in Afghanistan,” read the statement issued by Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri.
On Sunday, the Press Office of the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs had informed media that the TTP was not founded in Afghanistan, nor did it operate on its soil. The statement came a few hours after Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told journalists that Islamabad “expected” the Afghan Taliban to ensure that groups such as the TTP did not carry out any terrorist activities against Pakistan, as Islamabad had vowed to not allow the U.S. to establish any military bases to stage attacks against them.
“This movement [TTP], along with other terrorist groups, is recognized as the enemy of peace, stability, and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region, and the Afghan government fights against this terrorist outfit like any other terrorist group without discrimination,” the Afghan foreign ministry had said. It had also urged all countries, especially Pakistan, to “treat all terrorist outfits equally and without discrimination.”
In his response, Chaudhri said that in the past few years, the TTP had launched several terror attacks against Pakistan from Afghan soil “without any retribution from its hosts.” Referring to U.N. reports, he said this fact could not be denied. “The 12th Report of the U.N. Monitoring Team, issued in June 2021, acknowledges TTP’s ‘distinctive anti-Pakistan objectives’ and notes its location within Afghanistan ‘near the border with Pakistan,’” it said. “The TTP, following its orchestrated reunification with its splinter groups with the help of hostile intelligence agencies; its continued presence in Afghanistan with impunity; and its cross-border attacks against Pakistan pose persistent threat to our security and stability,” he added.
“Pakistan’s commitment to fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, without any discrimination is unwavering and unambiguous,” said the spokesperson, in a direct response to Kabul’s call for Pakistan to treat all terrorists equally. “Pakistan has continued to emphasize the need for meaningful engagement with Afghan side for addressing security and terrorism issues through effective use of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity,” he added.
“Pakistan has been making serious and sincere efforts for facilitating intra-Afghan peace process for an inclusive political settlement. We hope that Afghans would seize this opportunity for achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the statement issued by the Foreign Office concluded.