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Cross border terrorism

Pakistan has hailed a counterterrorism report by the UN Security Council’s monitoring team that identifies the threat from militants based across the border in Afghanistan. The foreign ministry said the report ‘vindicates’ the stance that terror groups such as the TTP and its splinter groups are attacking Pakistan from their bases in Afghanistan and pose a grave regional threat.

After the army launched a military operation, these terror groups fled to Afghanistan and reunited which result in a sharp increase in attacks in the region. The UN report said this reunited group which includes Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (JuA), and Hizb-ul-Ahrar (HuA) splinter groups, and even sectarian outfits have around 2,500 to 6,000 members and is responsible for over 100 cross border attacks into Pakistan between July and August 2020.

The terrorism activities of the TTP are still fresh in our memories as we lived through the horrors since 2007 as the group carries out dozens of large-scale attacks, bombings targeting civilians and security until they fled to eastern Afghanistan. Since then, the security situation in Pakistan has drastically improved and violence has dropped significantly. The sacrifices of our people and armed forces were finally realized after several years in the wilderness and being declared a dangerous country.

The terrorists were down but not out and eventually regrouped in Afghanistan and continued to attack tribal elders and security forces which occasionally results in high-casualty incidents. Now the UN report has acknowledged Pakistan efforts to uproot the terrorist groups in the region. Pakistan has also played a pivotal role in weakening ISIS in Afghanistan which largely consists of TTP dissidents. 

Pakistan has drawn the attention of the international community about the border cross attacks and the support provided to the TTP by hostile foreign intelligence agencies. But it only received orders to ‘Do More’ rather than realise the economic and human losses by anti-state elements. Pakistan has now demanded Afghan and NATO forces to do more and to neutralise this threat emanating from Afghanistan.

It is imperative the world community acts upon the report and takes action against those involved in disturbing regional peace as it could have catastrophic consequences. It is also time that the UN and other global powers acknowledge Pakistan’s efforts to uproot terror outfits from its soil. The report has been sent to US Congress and it must be awaited whether any credible action will be taken.