South Asia

Pakistan defense minister threatens cross-border strikes on TTP in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s Defense Minister, Khawaja Asif, has indicated that Islamabad might launch cross-border strikes to target the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) hideouts in Afghanistan.
Asif’s comments followed a warning from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Fazlur Rehman, who cautioned that a Taliban-style government could soon be established in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Rehman noted that the security situation has deteriorated to the extent that police are unable to patrol at night due to the presence of armed militants.

Speaking to Voice of America, Asif argued that Pakistan could strike “terror havens” in Afghanistan without violating international law, asserting that Kabul has been “exporting” terrorism to Pakistan and harboring the perpetrators.
Asif also criticized Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party for allowing TTP affiliates to re-enter Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He claimed that while the TTP operates primarily from Afghanistan, a few thousand members are active within Pakistan. Asif ruled out any possibility of negotiations with the TTP.

The Taliban meanwhile reacted to Asif’s remarks, saying that any type of aggression will not remain without response.
“Pakistani officials should refrain from making unnecessary statements. Any attack or aggression on Afghan soil will not go unanswered, and it is essential for Pakistan’s leadership to ensure that no one is allowed to make such sensitive and provocative remarks on these issues.

Earlier, the Pakistan ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, raised concerns over the presence of the TTP in Afghanistan.
Mohammad Radmanesh, military analyst, stated in this regard: “The simplest way for Pakistani military to address threats and ensure security in the country is through military attacks in the border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

The Pakistan defense minister made the statement amid remarks by the prominent Pakistani politician Fazlur Rehman, who accused his country’s army of trying to deteriorate the relations between Islamabad and the Taliban.
“From the government of Zahir Shah to Ashraf Ghani, all were supporters of India, except for the Taliban, who were supporters of Pakistan,” he said. “Major powers should not attempt to weaken the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan for their own interests.”
Pakistan has consistently accused the Taliban of providing safe havens to the TTP, an allegation the Taliban deny.