KABUL – Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, issued a stern warning to the Taliban, stating that if they fail to control terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan, Pakistan will resort to military action in order to safeguard its security and interests. He emphasized that Pakistan would act in accordance with international law and hoped that the Afghan government would take appropriate measures to curb terrorist activities threatening Pakistan.
During an event in Islamabad, Zardari urged the interim Taliban government to fulfill its commitment made under the 2020 Doha agreement with the international community, which includes not allowing terrorist groups to operate from Afghan soil. Pakistan offered its assistance in tackling the menace of terrorism, acknowledging that Afghanistan faced capacity issues in dealing with such threats.
The rise in terrorist incidents in Pakistan following the Taliban’s return to power in Kabul in 2021 prompted Zardari to emphasize his country’s right to respond if the attacks persist. Pakistan attributed recent terrorist attacks to the “Afghanistan-based” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organization of militant groups in Pakistan. However, Kabul denied these accusations.
Zardari also expressed concern that the arms and ammunition left behind by foreign forces in Afghanistan had fallen into the hands of terrorist outfits and criminal organizations, which were using them to carry out attacks against Pakistan. He acknowledged the security challenges faced by Afghanistan in combating terrorism due to the lack of a standing army, anti-terrorist force, or border management force.
Despite Pakistan’s hope for a more secure western border and a decline in attacks, the reality has been different, with a surge in attacks in recent years. January of the current year was particularly deadly, with numerous attacks across the country resulting in significant casualties.
Most recently, a suicide attack at a public rally in Bajaur tribal district claimed many lives and left hundreds injured. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Army Chief Gen. Asim Munir visited Peshawar to assess the security situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and address the involvement of Afghan citizens in terrorist activities and attacks on Pakistani soil.
In conclusion, Pakistan’s warning to take military action in Afghanistan if the Taliban fails to control terror groups underscores the gravity of the security situation in the region, with both countries seeking to address the menace of terrorism for mutual interests.