After Army Chief, Defence Minister Lashes Out At Afghanistan

After Army Chief, Defence Minister Lashes Out At Afghanistan
Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Saturday lashed out at the interim Taliban government in Kabul for "neglecting its duties as a neighbouring and fraternal country" and for failing to fulfil obligations made in the Doha peace deal.

This is the second strongly worded statement to come from deep within the power corridors of Pakistan over Afghanistan's failure to prevent its soil from being used against Pakistan. The first statement came yesterday from Chief Of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir following the attack on a military checkpost in Zhob and recent reports that armed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had poured into the border district of Kurram and fanned the violence there.

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In a strongly worded statement issued via the social media website Twitter, Asif said that Afghanistan is neglecting its duties as a neighbouring and fraternal country but also failing to abide by the Doha Peace Accord.

"Some five to six million Afghans have been sheltering in Pakistan for the past 40-50 years as refugees with all rights intact," he said.

"In contrast, terrorists responsible for killing Pakistanis have been sheltering on Afghan soil."

This duopoly, Asif said, can no longer continue.

"Pakistan will use all resources available to protect its citizens," he asserted.

COAS Gen Munir visited the Quetta Garrison and the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) on Friday. He met with injured soldiers and was briefed on the cross-border attack on the garrison in Zhob.

At least nine soldiers were martyred in the attack on the garrison in Zhob, which is said to have lasted over 15 hours.

READ MORE: Pakistan Military Has ‘Serious Concerns’ With TTP Operating Freely In Afghanistan

In his statement released by the military's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Gen Munir and the Armed Forces of Pakistan expressed "serious concerns on the safe havens and liberty of action available to TTP in Afghanistan".

It added that Pakistan "expected that interim Afghan Government would not allow the use of its soil to perpetrate terror against any country, in the real sense and in line with commitments made in Doha Agreement".

The statement from the Pakistan Army pointed to the "involvement of Afghan nationals in acts of terrorism in Pakistan" as another "important concern" that remains to be addressed.

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"Such attacks are intolerable and would elicit an effective response from the security forces of Pakistan," the ISPR statement proclaimed.