Pakistan rejects BRICS’ statement on militant groups

The United States has been calling on Pakistan to do more to tackle alleged Haqqani network sanctuaries on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border, or it might cut military aid. (File Photo) Related News

Pakistan on Tuesday rejected a statement by the five emerging-market BRICS powers that militant groups in Pakistan pose a regional security concern, with its defence minister saying no such group operates freely inside Pakistan. The minister’s response follows a statement on Monday by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that also called for patrons of the Pakistan-based militant groups to be held to account.

“These organizations, they have some of their remnants in Pakistan, which we’re cleaning,” Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan told the Geo TV channel, without specifying which groups he was referring to. “But Pakistan, we reject this thing categorically, no terrorist organization has any complete safe havens.” The foreign ministry later released a statement condemning the presence of Islamic State and the Pakistani Taliban in “ungoverned spaces” inside neighbouring Afghanistan.

The groups named by the BRICS include anti-India militant factions such as Jaish-e-Mohammad, which was blamed for a 2001 attack on India’s parliament, and Lashkar-e-Taiba, which India blames for cross-border attacks including a 2008 assault in its financial capital Mumbai in which 166 people were killed. Another group the BRICS named was the Haqqani network, which is allied with the Afghan Taliban militants waging war on the U.S.-backed government in Kabul and foreign forces there.

The United States has been calling on Pakistan to do more to tackle alleged Haqqani network sanctuaries on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border, or it might cut military aid.

China is also concerned about Islamist influence spilling over from Pakistan and Afghanistan into its far-western Xinjiang region, where some members of a Muslim minority chafe at Chinese Communist Party rule.

Countries attending a December conference aimed at stabilising Afghanistan made a similar statement, naming several Pakistan-based groups as a source of concern. Pakistan has always strongly denied offering safe havens to militants groups.

The foreign ministry in Islamabad on Tuesday issued a statement saying Pakistan was also concerned about terrorism. But it singled out the Pakistani Taliban, fighters loyal to Islamic State, the Islamic Movement of Afghanistan and the anti-Beijing East Turkestan Islamic Movement. “We are deeply concerned at the presence of (these) groups … in the ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan as they pose a threat to peace and security in the region,” the statement said.

For all the latest , download

More Related News

At least 10 civilians wounded in Afghan strike: Authorities

Logar Province spokesman Salim Saleh said two separate military operations were underway in Logar, one in Baraki Barak district and a second in Puli Alim, the provincial capital. (Source: Google Map) Top News

At least 10 civilians were wounded in an air strike carried out by joint security forces in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, authorities said. Logar Province spokesman Salim Saleh said two separate military operations were underway in Logar, one in Baraki Barak district and a second in Puli Alim, the provincial capital. “We have heard about civilians being killed, but can’t confirm right now while an investigation is underway,” said Saleh. He added: “As of now I can only confirm ten civilians wounded and transferred to hospital.”

Gen. Esmatullah Alizai, provincial police chief in Logar, also confirmed the air strike and said it was carried out by international security forces. Alizai said there were casualties among both insurgents and civilians but noted the investigation was ongoing.

Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said in a statement that at least 20 civilians were killed in the air strike and that it was carried out by U.S. forces. Logar is one of the dangerous provinces in eastern Afghanistan, where Taliban insurgents have been more active in recent months and insurgents have launched coordinated attacks as well as used suicide bombing and roadside bomb attacks against the Afghan security forces in different parts of the province.

Also on Wednesday, two suicide bombers launched a coordinated attack on a lawmaker’s house in eastern Nangarhar province, killing two security guards, a provincial official said.

Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said both suicide bombers detonated suicide vests full of explosives outside of parliamentarian Zahir Qader’s house in Jalalabad, the provincial capital. One guard was wounded in the attack, he said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Nangarhar province is one of the most dangerous regions of Afghanistan, where both the Taliban and Islamic State group affiliates operate. It also borders neighboring Pakistan and has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent years.

For all the latest , download

More Top News