FO urges Kabul to take ‘strong action’ against DI Khan attackers, hand them over to Pakistan

Published December 14, 2023
In this file photo, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch addresses a weekly press briefing in Islamabad. — Radio Pakistan/File
In this file photo, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch addresses a weekly press briefing in Islamabad. — Radio Pakistan/File

The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday urged the interim Afghan government to take “strong action” against perpetrators of the Dec 12 attack on security forces in Dera Ismail Khan and hand them over to Pakistan.

In the deadliest attack on security forces this year, at least 23 Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred and more than 30 troops wounded on Tuesday after militants 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, which resulted in several casualties.

The Tehreek-i-Jihad Pakistan (TJP), a new group affiliated with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), 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.

Hours after the attack, 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.

In response to the demarche, the Afghan interim government on Wednesday promised to probe the terror attack, but also asked Islam­abad to refrain from blaming Kabul for every problem.

“We are shocked at the attack in Pakistan. We will look into the demands made by Pakistan,” Taliban chief spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid had said. But at the same time, he asked Pakistan to bolster its security instead of pointing fingers at Afghanistan.

He said 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 added.

In a weekly press briefing today, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahrah Baloch said: “We have noted the Afghan interim government statement that it will investigate the terrorist attack of Dec 12.”

“Afghanistan must take strong action against perpetrators of this heinous attack and hand them over to Pakistan along with the TTP leadership in Afghanistan,” she stated.

Baloch went on to say that Pakistan also expected the Afghan government to “take concrete and verifiable steps to prevent the use of Afghan soil by terrorist entities”.

The FO spokesperson also welcomed the United Nations Security Council’s messages of sympathy and condolences on the attack. “They have also recalled that TTP, to which TJP is affiliated, is listed by the UNSC to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee,” she said.

Baloch said UNSC members highlighted the need to bring the perpetrators, financiers and organisers of the attack to justice. “They have also urged all states to cooperate actively with the Government of Pakistan as well as all relevant authorities in this regard,” she added.

In response to a question, the FO spokesperson said Pakistan was not engaging in dialogue with the TTP neither were talks being held in any “third country”.

“Pakistan strongly rejects any such reports,” she asserted.

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