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Afghanistan seeks action against 85 militants hiding in Pakistan

Amid an escalating spat over cross-border terrorism, Afghanistan has asked Pakistan to act against 85 militants and 32 terror training camps on Pakistani soil.

world Updated: Feb 20, 2017 18:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
An Afghan soldier fires a 122mm howitzer during a live-fire exercise with NATO military advisers outside Kandahar air field, Afghanistan, on February 15, 2017. (Reuters)

Kabul on Monday asked Islamabad to take action against 85 militants and 32 terror training camps on Pakistani soil, widening a row between the two countries over action against cross-border terrorism.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan handed over a letter with a list of the militants and camps to authorities in Islamabad, said a statement posted on the Facebook page of the Afghan foreign ministry.

The statement said the Afghan envoy sought “immediate action” against the terrorist training camps. The list of 85 wanted militants included operatives and leaders of the Taliban and other terror groups such as the Haqqani Network. The Afghan side said they should be arrested and handed over by Pakistani authorities.

The statement added that Pakistan’s initial response to the list was “positive” and there was an expression of hope that “practical actions” would be taken.

The move came three days after the Pakistani military resorted to the unusual step of summoning Afghan diplomats and asking them to take action against 76 Pakistani terrorists believed to be on Afghan soil.

The Pakistani military also pushed the US-led NATO forces to push President Ashraf Ghani’s government to take action against the terrorists.

Following the suicide attack, Pakistan closed crossing points on the border with Afghanistan and targeted suspected militant bases in Nangarhar with artillery.

The Pakistani military moved after a suicide attack on a Sufi shrine in Sindh province killed 88 people last week. The civil and military leadership blamed a spike in violence on militants allegedly sheltering on Afghan soil.

Pakistan has for long alleged that some top terrorists, including Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Mullah Fazlullah, Omar Khalid Khorasani of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Lashkar-e-Islam chief Mangal Bagh Afridi are based in Afghanistan. On the other hand, Afghanistan has accused Pakistan of sheltering the top Afghan Taliban leadership, including leaders of the Haqqani Network.

On Monday, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said it is “unfair” to accuse his country of supporting terrorism and violence. “The only solution in the fight against terrorism is to cooperate and to stop supporting terrorism,” he told a meeting of the council of ministers.

First Published: Feb 20, 2017 18:43 IST