ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army on Friday reiterated its support for Afghan peace process and vowed to continue working for sustainable peace in the country.
The support for Afghan peace process was reaffirmed as the latest round of talks between the United States and Taliban in Qatar ran into a fresh stalemate due to the latter’s refusal to accept the American demand for a ceasefire. The US has made it clear that a peace deal would require simultaneous agreement on troops withdrawal, counterterrorism assurances, intra-Afghan dialogue, and reduction in violence leading to a comprehensive ceasefire.
“Forum reiterated to continue its efforts for bringing enduring peace in the country while supporting all initiatives towards regional peace,” ISPR said in a statement on the corps commanders’ conference held at the GHQ, which was chaired by Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Pakistan facilitated the talks between the US and Taliban and more lately Prime Minister Imran Khan pledged neutrality in Afghan conflict. “Pakistan will not be party to any internal conflict in Afghanistan anymore,” Mr Khan said in a policy statement on Afghan peace last week in which he denounced violence by both sides of the conflict. The prime minister’s statement was welcomed by the US government.
However, such categorical statements from Islamabad too have failed to push the peace process forward with the Taliban first refusing to talk to the Afghan government, then last month cancelling a meeting with Afghan representatives in Doha, and now refusing to observe a ceasefire. The Taliban, it should be recalled, had on the occasion of Eidul Fitr last year observed an unprecedented ceasefire raising hopes for peace. In a related development the Loya Jirga in Afghanistan ended on Friday with demands for peace and ceasefire.
The commanders’ meeting, which is a monthly feature, discusses internal and external security situation and professional matters of the Army.
“Forum reviewed evolving geo-strategic environment and security situation of the country including progress of operation Raddul Fasaad,” ISPR said.
Military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had at a press briefing earlier this week said that Operation Raddul Fasaad (RuF) was progressing satisfactorily. Sharing statistics, he said 47 major operations and 100,000 intelligence-based operations had been undertaken, which resulted in the recovery of over 64,000 weapons and 5.1 million units of ammunition.
A major success under RuF has been the border fencing. A total of 1,000kms of border has so far been fenced decreasing chances for unauthorised border crossing. Additionally, the security of the border with Afghanistan has been buttressed by construction of 300 border forts. A total of 843 forts are planned to be constructed.
Border fencing and associated measures had resulted in substantial reduction in violence, but incidents have continued to happen. Just this week, three soldiers embraced martyrdom when a group of terrorists from across the border attacked a team engaged in erection of fence.
Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2019