ISLAMABAD/KHAR: The Pakistan Army on Monday asked Afghanistan and Nato’s Resolute Support Mission (RSM) to ‘do more’ to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries on the Afghan side of the border.
“More efforts are required on Afghanistan side by all stakeholders. Lives of forces and citizens (are) equally precious on both sides of border. It now requires elimination of terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan and effective Afghan border security,” military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said in a series of tweets posted on his official account.
The ISPR director general was reacting to the terrorist attack made earlier in the day on Pakistani posts along the Pak-Afghan border in Bajaur Agency in which Captain Junaid Hafeez and Sepoy Raham were martyred and four soldiers injured.
There has been an increasing trend of cross-border terrorist attacks on Pakistani posts from their safe havens on Afghan soil. Almost 308 terrorist attacks have taken place this year. This is the highest number of attacks since 2012 when 324 attacks were reported. On an average there have been 248 attacks every year since 2012. About 29 soldiers have been martyred in the attacks over the past six years.
“This is the price Pakistan is paying for security vacuum on Afghan side of the border,” the military spokesman said.
Pakistan has 975 posts along the 2,600km border with Afghanistan, which is mostly porous. Afghanistan, meanwhile, has around 218 posts on its side and there are huge gaps in between the largest being 650km long on the southern side.
Captain, soldier martyred in cross-border attack on Bajaur post
The terrorists exploit these gaps to launch attacks. Moreover, Afghan security forces and intelligence agencies are allegedly complicit with the Pakistani terrorist groups having sanctuaries in that region and turn a blind eye to their activities.
Maj Gen Ghafoor reminded the Afghan and Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) authorities that Pakistan had done its part with regards to clearing of border areas and it was now their turn to reciprocate. He also recalled the steps being undertaken by the Pakistan military to prevent unauthorised cross-border movements.
“Pakistan has done its part; cleared all areas, fencing, new posts, enhanced presence along border and establishing crossing points,” the ISPR chief said.
Pakistan is erecting a 12-foot-high fence along its largely porous 2,611km-long border with Afghanistan.
Additionally, new forts and outposts on mountain peaks are being established and 73 new wings of the Frontier Corps are being raised to man the border. The project is planned to be completed in two years.
Officials contend that the border management plan, once in place, would prevent unauthorised cross-border movements through 76 notified and unofficial routes.
The crossing points are planned to be limited to 16. Strict border control measures have, meanwhile, been implemented at two of the crossings — Torkham and Chaman — whereas another one on Ghulam Khan is to become functional by December. Three more crossings are currently planned to have similar arrangements.
The Afghans have been opposing the border management.
Captain, soldier martyred
A group of militants from across the border (Kunar province, Afghanistan) attacked a checkpost in Mamond tehsil of Bajaur Agency with heavy weapons on Monday, killing Captain Junaid Hafeez and Sepoy Raham and injuring four soldiers.
According to officials, security forces responded to the attack and killed at least 10 militants.
The Inter-Services Public Relations confirmed the attack and said that a group of militants from the Afghan side attacked Pakistani posts in the border region. In a statement, the ISPR claimed that the forces effectively responded to the attack and killed eight to 10 fleeing militants and wounded several others.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Pakistani posts.
Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2017