ISLAMABAD — Pakistan on Friday summoned officials of the Afghan embassy to the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi to lodge protest against the use of Afghan soil by terrorists to carry out attacks in Pakistan, reported Dawn newspaper. The Afghan officials were handed over a list of 76 “most wanted” terrorists by the Pakistan Army, DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said in a Tweet.
Afghanistan was asked to either take “immediate action” against the named terrorists or hand them over to Pakistan, he said.
The move comes two days after a senior Afghan diplomat was summoned to the Foreign Office in Islamabad to receive protest over the use of territory of his country for launching terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
The Afghan diplomat was given a demarche containing details of the recent terrorist attacks and supporting information.
United Nations and European Commission (UN&EC) Additional Secretary Tasnim Aslam in her meeting with the Afghan official had raised the “grave concern [Pakistan has] about the continuing terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil by the terrorist outfit Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) [operating] from its sanctuaries inside Afghanistan”.
Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said during his visit to Mohmand and Bajaur Agencies on Thursday that terrorists were trying to regroup in safe havens in Afghanistan.
Resurgence in terror attacks
Pakistan has been hit by a series of terrorist attacks since Jamaat-ul-Ahrar announced its ‘Operation Ghazi’. The Afghanistan-based JuA had in the announcement also hinted at unification of TTP splinter groups.
It should be recalled that TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah is also based in Afghanistan and Pakistani pleadings for his arrest and handover have remained unanswered.
At the heart of lack of cooperation from the Afghan side has been the mutual mistrust.
The current wave of terrorism sweeping the country took a turn for the worse on Thursday when a suspected woman suicide attacker set off explosives at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, leaving at least 76 devotees dead and over 250 injured.
Pakistan closed its border with Afghanistan after the shrine attack due to security concerns.
Earlier on Thursday, an explosive device had targeted an army convoy in the Awaran area of Balochistan, killing three soldiers.
On Feb 15, a suicide bomber struck in Mohmand, killing three personnel of the Khasadar force and five civilians. The attack was claimed by the proscribed Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JA) group.
The same day, a suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into a vehicle carrying judges in Peshawar’s Hayatabad Phase 5 area, killing the driver and injuring its four other occupants. The attack was claimed by the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
On Feb 13, a suicide bomber had struck a protest on Lahore’s Charing Cross interchange, killing 13 and injuring 85. The attack had happened right outside the gates of Punjab’s Provincial Assembly. The attack was claimed by JA.
On the same day, two personnel of Balochistan’s bomb disposal squad were killed as they attempted to defuse an explosive device planted under the Sariab Road bridge in Quetta, the provincial capital.–c. Dawn