Demarche issued to Afghan diplomat over Chitral attack: FM Jilani

Published September 9, 2023
Interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
Interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

Interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani on Saturday confirmed that a demarche was issued to the Afghan charge d’affaires in the wake of the terrorist attack on two military posts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Lower Chitral district.

On Wednesday, at least four security men embraced martyrdom while more than 16 fighters were killed as militants’ attempts to enter Pakistan from Afghanistan were foiled by troops deployed along the border with Afghanistan. Militants had attacked two security checkposts in the southern part of the district.

Responding to a question in an Islamabad press conference today about whether the matter was taken up with the interim Afghan government, the foreign minister said: “Pakistan registered a strong protest over the incident, summoned the Afghan Cd’A in Islamabad yesterday and handed over a protest note (demarche) to him.”

FM Jilani said the Chitral incident was “very unfortunate” and said Pakistan was taking the recent rise in terrorism very seriously.

“It is the responsibility of the Afghan government that if attacks are occurring in Pakistan from their soil then it should stop them. So our expectation from the Afghan government is that it suppresses all such elements, whether it is the TTP (Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan) or others.”

He said Pakistan was in continued engagement with Afghan authorities.

“It will be our demand from the Afghan government that it ensures that such incidents don’t occur again,” Jilani added.

Similarly, caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said it was the expectation of Pakistan and the world from the Afghan Taliban authorities that they would honour the Doha agreement and not allow Afghanistan’s soil to be used for schemes against other countries.

A day ago, FM Jilani had said the terrorist attack in Chitral was an “isolated incident” that was probably not sanctioned by the interim Afghan government.

Meanwhile, at the weekly Foreign Office’s Friday briefing, spoke­sperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch had said that Pakistan had communicated its concerns about the incident to the interim Afghan authorities and expected them to fulfil their obligations and deny the use of Afghan soil to terrorists working against Pakistan.

Amid the recent rise in militancy in the country is a backdrop of growing concerns regarding cross-border terrorism by elements based in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s military leadership and former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, whose tenure ended last month, both raised concerns over the availability of “safe havens” and “liberty of action” available to militants in Afghanistan, saying there was also involvement of Afghan citizens in terror attacks in Pakistan. They had also urged Kabul for action.

In the initial response to these allegations, Taliban spokesperson in Qatar Suhail Shaheen had told Dawn that Kabul was committed not to allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against any other country.

But in a separate interview with BBC Pashto, another spokesperson for the Islamic Emirate, Zabiullah Mujahid, took a harsher line — ostensibly in a bid to play to the Afghan galleries — advising Pakistan to resolve its internal problems itself, instead of pointing fingers at others.

More recently, Afghanistan’s supreme leader had warned Taliban members against carrying out attacks abroad. But merely days later, the Afghan authorities had alleged that dozens of banned Islamic State militants from Pakistan were killed or captured in Afghanistan in the past year.

A Dawn report last month had quoted an official from the KP Counter-Terrorism Department as saying that Islamabad and Kabul were in contact with each other to address the issue of militancy.

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