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Act against terrorists or we will, Pakistan warns Afghanistan


Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto –Zardari warned the Afghanistan-ruled Taliban on Tuesday that if they failed to take action, Pakistan had an option under international law to act in “self-defence” against militants hiding inside Kabul.

“Regarding Pakistan going there [Afghanistan] and taking action against these terrorists, we do not want to be forced to do this, but according to international law, we have the right to self-defence,” Bhutto-Zardari told media outlets.

“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 among our first options.”

Pakistan has seen increased terror attacks, including last Sunday’s suicide bombing on a political rally in the northwest, which left over 50 people dead and over 200 injured. Pakistani leaders, including the army chief, have expressed grave concern that militants have found safe havens in neighbouring Afghanistan this month. 

Daesh, also known as Islamic State, claimed responsibility for Sunday’s suicide bombing attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at a convention rally.

However, Kabul has denied past accusations that allow extremist organizations to attack Pakistan from its territory. Meanwhile, in accordance with the Doha Peace Agreement, which was signed in 2020 as the US prepared to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, Kabul has committed not to cooperate with or allow international terror groups or individuals “to recruit, train, raise funds (including through the production or distribution of narcotics), transit Afghanistan or misuse its internationally recognized travel documents, or conduct other support activities in Afghanistan, and will not host them.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Zardari urged the Taliban government in Kabul to take action against the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and other militant groups that were aiming their attacks at Pakistan.

“Our preference will be that we want the officials there [in Kabul], the interim government, to act against them,” he said.

He also reminded the Afghan Taliban that they had “promised the world” they would not allow anyone to use their soil for terrorism under the Doha agreement.

 “If they need any help, then I think Pakistan should be prepared to help them,” Zardari said.

Since the Taliban took control of Kabul, militants have increased their attacks on Pakistani officials, ordinary people and convention rallies such as the recent one.

“Statistics show that if you look at our data 500 days before the fall of Kabul and then compare it with our data 500 days later, you can see that there has been a clear increase,” he said, adding that militants had gained access to weaponry left behind in Afghanistan by US and NATO soldiers.