Pakistan on Monday claimed that more than 5,000 militants of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were present in Afghanistan, a day after Kabul denied the presence of the banned terror outfit in the war-torn country. “The assertions of the Afghan side are contrary to facts on ground and various reports of the UN, which also corroborate the presence and activities of over 5000-strong TTP in Afghanistan," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudri said.
He made the remarks in response to the media queries about the Afghan Foreign Ministry statement, which said that the TTP “is neither founded in Afghanistan nor operates on our soil." “This movement along with other terrorist groups is recognised 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 said on Sunday. Afghanistan has “consistently stressed upon implementation of UNSC resolutions and Doha agreement which calls on Taliban to cut ties with regional and international terrorist groups including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), The East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Al-Qaeda and ISIS," it said.
To establish lasting peace in Afghanistan and to ensure stability and prosperity in the region, Afghanistan calls on all countries, especially Pakistan, to treat all terrorist outfits equally and without discrimination, and not allow these closely linked and organized groups to collude with each other to jeopardize the security and stability of our countries, it added. The Afghan side was responding to a statement by Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed that Islamabad expected that the Afghan Taliban would not allow terrorist groups such as the TTP to carry out activities against Pakistan.
Reacting to the Afghan statement, Foreign Office spokesperson Chaudri said on Monday that over the last many years, TTP has launched several gruesome terrorist attacks inside Pakistan using Afghan soil without any retribution from its hosts. The 12th Report of the UN Monitoring Team, issued in June 2021, acknowledges TTP’s “distinctive anti-Pakistan objectives and notes its location within Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan, he said.
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“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 poses persistent threat to our security and stability," he said. Pakistan’s commitment to fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, without any discrimination is unwavering and unambiguous, he said.
It has continued to emphasise 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, he said.
“We hope that Afghans will seize this opportunity for achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan," he added.