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Pakistan threatens Afghanistan with counterterrorism operation

Islamabad says it will take matters into its own hands unless the Taliban government takes action against militants hiding in Kabul

Pakistan has the option of launching a counterterrorism operation inside Afghanistan if the interim Taliban government fails to take action against terrorists operating within its borders, warned Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

Bilawal told local media on Wednesday that his country would have the full right under international law to act in self-defense should militants from Afghanistan continue carrying out terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

He pointed out that there had been a quantitative increase in terror attacks on Pakistan ever since the Taliban came into power and noted that the weapons left in Afghanistan by US and NATO forces after their sudden withdrawal had fallen into the hands of militants.


Bilawal’s warning comes after the extremist ISIS-K group, which is based in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack that rocked the city of Bajaur on Sunday. A suicide bomber had detonated explosives at a election campaign rally of supporters of a pro-Taliban cleric, killing at least 56 people and injuring nearly 200.

According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, in just this year, there have been a total of 237 terrorist attacks in Pakistan, which have claimed the lives of 151 civilians and 329 security personnel.

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This photo taken with a mobile phone shows an ambulance arriving at the blast site in Pakistan's northwest Bajaur district on July 30, 2023.
ISIS claims responsibility for Pakistan suicide bombing

Despite Islamabad’s frustration, Bilawal stressed that a counterterrorism operation should not be the first option for his government and urged Kabul to adhere to the Doha Accord, under which the Taliban assured that militant groups would not be allowed inside Afghanistan or be able to attack other countries from inside its territory.


“If we are repeatedly attacked like this, and there is no appropriate response, we will be forced to do this. But I don’t think it should be amongst the first options for us,” Bilawal said.

The official also stated that Islamabad could consider cooperating with the Taliban on dealing with the militants if Kabul asked for help. He insisted, however, that Pakistan would prefer that Afghanistan’s interim government dealt with the issue on its own.

Bilawal’s warning was echoed by Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who claimed militants were finding sanctuaries in Afghanistan and urged the Taliban to “undertake concrete measures toward denying their soil be used for transnational terrorism.”

August 02, 2023 at 08:00PM


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