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RAWALPINDI: Director-General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar on Friday emphasised that the situation on Pak-Afghan international border was normal and under control.
“The political and military leadership in Pakistan had foresight that something like Taliban takeover could happen. So, despite whatever has happened on that side, the situation on the Pak-Afghan border is normal and under control,” DG ISPR said while addressing a press conference in Rawalpindi today (Friday).
However, he said, this does not mean nothing can happen but “we are prepared and would not be caught unaware. We have taken maximum measures and moved our regular troops to the border to cope with any situation”. He said that Pakistan trusts that the Taliban would take effective measures to ensure TTP does not operate against any country.
Talking about the Taliban takeover, the DG ISPR said prior to August 15 — when the Taliban entered Kabul — several soldiers belonging to the Afghan National Army entered Pakistan on more than two occasions, seeking safe passage
“The Afghan soldiers were feared their posts might come under attack by the Taliban. They were accepted and given safe passage back under military norms,” he added.
Talking about the impact of the decades-long war in Afghanistan, Gen Iftikhar noted the ‘biggest victims’ of the conflict, besides Afghans, had been Pakistanis. “Other than the people of Afghanistan, Pakistanis have been the biggest target of violence in Afghanistan,” he pointed out.
“We have faced a massive brunt since the Soviets invaded Afghanistan followed by the civil war. More than 86,000 lives have been lost along with Rs152 billion in economic losses and counting,” he added.
Giving details of military operations during this period, the DG ISPR said the armed forces conducted 1,237 major and minor operations and cleared more than 46,000 sq km area along the western border against terrorists and their infrastructure.
He shared that Pakistan had been reaching out to the Afghan government to formalise a border control mechanism to deal with the “instability” along the Pak-Afghan border. Pakistan also suggested an intelligence-sharing mechanism, however, the initiatives were “not responded well to”, he added.
Referring to the rescue efforts, the DG ISPR informed that so far, 113 flights — both military and commercial — have landed in Pakistan from Afghanistan. “The situation at the Pak-Afghan border is normal and there is no untoward incident,” he added.