FO condemns ‘terrorists operating from Afghan soil’ but ‘reaffirms respect’ for Kabul’s sovereignty

The statement from the Foreign Office comes a day after an Afghan government official and a resident in Kunar province claimed that Pakistani forces fired rockets on Saturday, leaving six people dead.

The FO, in the statement today, recalled that Pakistan had repeatedly requested the Afghan government over the last few months to secure the Pak-Afghan border region. “Terrorists are using Afghan soil with impunity to carry out activities inside Pakistan.”

The spokesperson underlined that Pakistan and Afghanistan had been engaged for the past several months “through institutional channels for effective coordination and security along our long shared border”.

He added though “unfortunately, elements of banned terrorist groups in the border region, including proscribed TTP, have continued to attack Pakistan’s border security posts, resulting in the martyrdom of several Pakistani troops.”

At least seven Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred in the North Waziristan district by terrorists operating from Afghanistan on April 14, the FO recalled.

The spokesperson maintained that Pakistan reaffirmed respect for Afghanistan’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Pakistan will continue to work closely with the Afghan government to strengthen bilateral relations in all fields,” the statement added.

Afghan provincial director of information Najibullah Hassan Abdaal had on Saturday alleged that five children and a woman were killed and a man wounded in an alleged attack by Pakistani forces in the eastern Afghan provinces of Kunar and Khost.

The Foreign Office had responded that it was “looking into” reports of such an action.

Ehsanullah, a resident of Shelton district where the alleged attack reportedly took place, had said it was carried out by Pakistani military aircraft. Ehsanullah goes by one name as many Afghans do.

Another Afghan government official alleged that a pre-dawn bombardment was carried out in Afghanistan’s Khost province near the border with Pakistan.

The official, on condition of anonymity, had alleged that “Pakistani helicopters bombarded four villages” in Khost, adding that “there were casualties”.

Later, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had also condemned the alleged attacks.

“IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) calls on the Pakistani side not to test the patience of Afghans on such issues.”

He added: “Problems between the two countries must be resolved through political means.”

On Friday, the Pakistan army said terrorists ambushed a military convoy near the Pak-Afghan border in the general area of Isham, North Waziristan District, martyring seven Pakistani security men.

Pakistan has long been saying that the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has been using Afghan soil for attacks on Pakistani border posts.

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