Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells holds talks with National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua in Islamabad on Thursday.—APP
US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells holds talks with National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua in Islamabad on Thursday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: The attack on an army unit in Swat was carried out by the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists based on Afghan soil, said a dossier handed over to Afghanistan on Thursday.

The dossier containing proof of TTP involvement in the suicide attack on an army unit in Swat and presence of sanctuaries of the TTP and the Jamaatul Ahrar in Afghanistan was handed over by the Foreign Office to the Afghan embassy in Islamabad, FO spokesman Dr Muhamamd Faisal said.

Eleven soldiers were martyred when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a military camp in Swat’s Kabal area in February. The TTP had claimed responsibility for the attack in emails sent to journalists.

“The Afghan side was asked to take effective action against terrorist hideouts from where they have been financing, planning and undertaking cross-border terrorist attacks on Pakistani military posts, cities and towns,” an FO statement said.

Dossier containing proof of TTP involvement in suicide assault on army unit handed over to Afghan embassy; US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells holds talks with NSA

The dossier was given to the Afghan embassy as US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells arrived in Islamabad for talks on Pakistani efforts for bringing peace and security to Afghanistan. Although ties between Pakistan and the United States have been getting colder, the latter out of its compulsions in Afghanistan has been trying to improve security cooperation between Islamabad and Kabul.

Earlier this month a US drone targeted a TTP-run camp in Kunar in eastern Afghanistan killing 21 suspected militants, including the master trainer of would-be suicide bombers. Military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had at a press briefing a day earlier acknowledged that US-led Resolute Support Mission had started addressing Pakistani concerns and taken action against several sanctuaries along the Paki-Afghan border.

Speaking at the weekly media briefing, the FO spokesman, however, said the concerns about TTP, JuA, and Lashkar-i-Islam sanctuaries had not been fully addressed. He noted that things had improved in areas where Afghanistan had established border posts and deployed troops.

These terrorist groups have established sanctuaries on Afghan side of the Pak-Afghan border and were involved in cross-border raids on Pakistani military posts, Dr Faisal said.

Pakistan has on a number of occasions shared the locations of the safe havens of these groups with Afghan and the US authorities.

Talks with US

Pakistan and the US, during a meeting between visiting US official Amb Wells and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, reaffirmed their resolve to act against all groups that were operating against Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This was Amb Wells’ second visit to Pakistan. Recently Foreign Secretary Janjua has also visited Washington and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has met US Vice President Mike Pence during a private visit to the US.

These engagements, the FO said, were meant to continue the conversation for strengthening bilateral relations and promoting peace and security in the region.

The two sides during the meeting between Foreign Secretary Janjua and Amb Wells took stock of the bilateral relationship, Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts, FATF grey listing and efforts for reviving Afghan peace talks.

“Both sides agreed that the momentum of the peace initiative unveiled in Kabul by President Ashraf Ghani and followed up in Tashkent needs to be carried forward,” the FO said.

A separate statement by the national security adviser’s office on Amb Wells’ meeting with NSA retired Lt Gen Nasser Janjua said the US encouraged good relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan to enable the two countries to work in a cooperative framework.

Gen Janjua, meanwhile, laid emphasis on mutually trusting each other and “continuing intelligence sharing and cooperation”.

Prisoners issue

Dr Faisal said India had not moved further on the humanitarian initiative involving the exchange of elderly, mentally challenged and female prisoners.

“Pakistan concurred to the Indian humanitarian proposal. Response on these is awaited from the Indian side,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2018