‘No reason to doubt’: Pak on Taliban’s assurance to not allow terrorist attacks from Afghan soil

Updated on Sep 21, 2021 07:04 PM IST

Pakistan military spokesperson Major General Babar Iftikhar said that fencing work of the 2,600-km border between the country and Afghanistan is underway, and that border management between the two nations is continually improving. 

Taliban named remaining ministers for its cabinet on Tuesday, which includes no woman.
Taliban named remaining ministers for its cabinet on Tuesday, which includes no woman.
Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Pakistan military spokesperson Major General Babar Iftikhar said that the country is in “constant touch” with the Taliban in Afghanistan with an aim to protect his nation’s security matters. Since the takeover of Afghanistan by the Islamist militant group on August 15, there has been a global worry and fear that Afghan soil would become a safe haven for Islamist terrorist organisations for attacks on foreign countries, albeit the Taliban repeatedly assuring against it.

“Taliban have reiterated on several occasions that no group or terrorist organisation will be allowed to use Afghan territory for any terrorist activity against any country, including Pakistan,” Iftikhar told Urdu News.

He added that there isn’t any “reason to doubt” the Taliban’s “intentions,” and this is the reason why Pakistan is in continuous touch with the group to safeguard the nation’s security interests.

In the past, Pakistan has on many occasions stressed on the need to give the Taliban a chance in governing Afghanistan. Last week, it was reported that Pakistan’s national security advisor Moeed Yusuf is displeased with the international community’s “wait-and-watch” tactic on recognising the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Also Read | Pakistan bats for Taliban, says should be given time to run Afghanistan

Yusuf told the Dawn newspaper that in order to influence and mold the Taliban governance, in the way “the world wants,” the international community must have a conversation with the government directly. “Without engagement that would not be possible,” Yusuf was quoted as saying by the Dawn.

As per the latest update, the Dawn reported that one of Pakistan’s major concerns following the re-emergence of Taliban in Afghanistan has been the existence of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorist group in the latter nation – which took responsibility of shooting Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai in 2012.

The report further stated that Pakistani authorities and the Taliban government in Afghanistan have been holding discourse on new border control measures to eradicate unwanted movement of elements inside Pakistan.

“Our goal has always been better management on this (Pakistan) side of the border. Fencing the Pakistan-Afghan border was a major responsibility due to the region’s terrain and other difficulties,” Iftikhar said.

The fencing work has been done on 90% of the 2,600-km border area, Iftikhar claimed, and added that the border management between the two countries is “constantly improving”.

“We are hopeful that it will be fully secured in the near future,” he noted.

The Pakistan military spokesperson’s comments come after the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan last Saturday said that they have “initiated dialogue” with the Taliban in Afghanistan to make the latter’s administration “inclusive” – thereby including Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks.

But the Taliban didn’t take his comments very well as the group’s spokesperson and deputy information minister Zabihullah Mujahid said that no nation, including Pakistan, has any right to “ask the Islamic Emirate to establish an ‘inclusive’ government in Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, the Islamist militants on Tuesday announced the expansion of its cabinet in Afghanistan, with the all-male approach intact. However, Mujahid – who presented the list of the names of the remaining ministers — defended the choice, citing that it comprises those from ethnic minorities such as the Hazaras.

(With inputs from PTI)

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