Afghan envoy summoned over terrorist sanctuaries
By Baqir Sajjad Syed
ISLAMABAD: A senior Afghan diplomat was summoned to the Foreign Office on Wednesday to receive protest over the use of territory of his country for launching terrorist attacks in Pakistan as civilian and military leaders of the country pledged a forceful response tothe recent terror attacks.
Afghan Deputy Head of Mission (DHM) Syed Abdul Nasir Yousafi was summoned to the Foreign Office for receiving protest over continuing terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil by the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar from its sanctuaries inside Afghanistan.
`Attention of the DHM was also drawn to the earlier actionable intelligence shared by our authorities with the Afghan side. Afghanistan was urged to take urgent measures to eliminate the terrorists and their sanctuaries, financiers and handlers operating from its territory,` a statement by the FO spokesman said.
The Afghan diplomat was given ademarche containing details of the recent terrorist attacks and supporting information.
Meanwhile, civilian and military leadership of Pakistan discussed the recent spate of terrorism at a national security meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after coming under pressure to aggressively confront militant groups.
`Terrorism emanating (from) within thecountryorexecutedandharboured from outside the country would be eliminated and those posing threat to peace and security of the country would be liquidated by the might of the state,` said a statement issued by the Prime Minister`s Office after the meeting.
The statement did not elaborate what actions had been agreed and only expressed the resolve for complete `physical and ideological annihilation` of terrorism and extremism.
The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Bilal Akbar, National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Janjua, the Inter-Services Intelligence`s director general of counterterrorism, the DG of the Intelligence Bureau and other senior government officials.
The meeting took place against thebackdrop of the recent spate of terror attacks in different cities and towns.
Therefore, the statement was designed to ease public anxiety and fears over the fresh wave of terrorist attacks.
Several of the attacks have been claimed by the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The group says the attacks are part of its `Operation Ghazi` It is believed that the recent attacks took place due to merger of TTP factions, which has strengthened operational capacity of the terrorist groups weakened by splintering and Operation Zarb-i-Azb, thus enabling them to hit back.
Security officials worry that the situation could aggravate. But a bigger challenge for them is that the leadership of the TTP and other groups and their infrastructure are based in Afghanistan, which limits the security forces` response options because of absence of cooperative arrangements with Afghan intelligence and security agencies.
Prime Minister Sharif separately met the interior minister to discuss matters related to security.
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Hayat, who also called on the prime minister, said the armed forces remained fully committed to cleansing the country of extremists and terrorists.