Afghan govt pledges probe into DI Khan attack but says it should not be blamed for every issue

Published December 13, 2023
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a press conference in Kabul on September 6, 2021. — AFP/File
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a press conference in Kabul on September 6, 2021. — AFP/File

The interim Afghan government on Wednesday pledged to probe the terrorist attack in Dera Ismail Khan, the deadliest on security forces this year, while also stating that Kabul should not be blamed for every issue.

In the early hours of Tuesday, at least 23 Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred and more than 30 troops wounded after militants belonging to the Tehreek-i-Jihad Pakistan (TJP) stormed a compound used by the military in DI Khan’s Daraban area.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said a group of six militants had stormed a security post but their attempt was foiled.

The assault was followed by blasts, as militants rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the gate and carried out a subsequent suicide bombing. “The resulting explosion caused the building to collapse, resulting in multiple casualties. All six militants were engaged and killed,” the ISPR statement said.

The TJP had claimed responsibility for the attack and also released a two-minute video, purporting to show militants targeting security personnel with thermal scopes. Security officials, however, claimed the video was not authentic.

A TJP spokesman, in his claim, said four bombers who took part in the attack hailed from Lakki, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat, and Mardan districts. Pakistan has recently been claiming the involvement of Afghan nationals in terrorist attacks and the statement by the TJP appears to challenge that assertion.

After the attack, the Foreign Office (FO) had released a statement demanding immediate and verifiable actions from the Afghan government against militant outfits fomenting terror in Pakistan, as it issued a demarche to Afghan Charge d’Affaires Sardar Ahmad Shakib.

Foreign Secretary Syrus Sajjad Qazi, who summoned Shakib, stressed the urgency and gravity of the situation, calling for a comprehensive investigation and decisive action against the perpetrators of the recent attack.

Pakistan demanded action against all terrorist groups, including their leadership and sanctuaries. The foreign secretary insisted on the apprehension and extradition of the perpetrators as well as the leaders of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from Afghanistan. Qazi highlighted the continuous use of Afghan soil for terrorism against Pakistan, asserting that such actions posed a significant threat to regional peace and stability.

Speaking to Dawn.com today, the interim Afghan government’s chief spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said Kabul would investigate the attack.

“We are shocked at the attack in Pakistan. We will look into the demands made by Pakistan,” he said.

However, Mujahid, also said that Afghanistan should not be blamed for every issue and that Pakistan should focus on its security.

“The attack in the area (DI Khan) is hundreds of kilometres away from Afghanistan and is Pakistan’s own soil. Pakistan has strong security forces and the attack should have been thwarted,” the Taliban government spokesman added.

He added that Kabul did not allow anyone to use its soil against Pakistan or any other country. “We will investigate if we receive any information,” Mujahid said.

Pakistan has long insisted that the outlawed TTP operate from Afghan soil, a charge which has been denied by the Taliban.

Terrorists fighting a war that has already been won: PM Kakar

Meanwhile, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said that militants were fighting a war that had already been won.

“I want to tell the accursed attackers that you have already lost the war. This war is won and the Pakistani state has won it,” he said while speaking to the media after visiting those injured in Tuesday’s attack.

“It only needs to be announced and only the time for this needs to be determined. During this, we may suffer some losses and some the enemy will suffer, but they are fighting a losing battle and we are fighting a war that has already been won.”

Kakar said that instead of him reassuring those that were injured, they had bolstered him with their words of encouragement and faith.

The premier vowed the state would not back down or surrender to militants.

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