Pak's defence minister slams Afghanistan for not taking action on militants

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Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has slammed the Afghan Taliban-led government in Kabul for not taking action against militants along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, despite repeated requests made by Islamabad.

Asif made the comments in an interview with BBC Urdu on Saturday in which he also said that Pakistan even offered to grant Rs10 billion to shift the militants towards the western border.

"Pakistan hoped for cooperation from the Afghan government, however, the latter was not ready to take action against the militants, Asif was quoted as saying by the Geo News.

Pakistan has repeatedly called on the Afghan interim government to prevent its soil from being used against it by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other terrorist groups a claim denied by Kabul.

Asif said that the government even offered to give Rs10 billion to transfer the militants to the western border areas, but it feared the militants could return to the Pakistan border from there as well.

In an interview with the Voice of America last week, Asif said that under Operation Azm-e-Istehkam', Pakistan could target terrorist hideouts across the border in Afghanistan. He had also dismissed the possibility of negotiations with the TTP.

In March, Pakistani air force jets carried out air strikes against terrorists in the border regions of Khost and Paktika inside the neighbouring country.

Soon after the strike, Asif said that Pakistan wanted to convey to the Afghan interim government in Kabul that we cannot continue like this.

Islamabad's action came following a deadly attack on Pakistani forces which resulted in the killing of seven soldiers, including a Lieutenant Colonel and a Captain.

There has been an uptick in the incidents of terrorism in Pakistan since the Taliban took over the government in Kabul in 2021, dashing hopes in Islamabad that a friendly government in Afghanistan would help to tackle militancy.

According to an annual security report issued by the Centre for Research and Security Studies, a think tank, Pakistan witnessed 1,524 violence-related fatalities and 1,463 injuries from 789 terror attacks and counter-terror operations in 2023 marking a six-year high record.
 

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