Pakistan defense minister raises concerns over ‘terrorists safe havens’ in Afghanistan

Pakistan Defense Minister Khawaja Asif expressed concern on Saturday regarding the presence of safe havens for terrorists in Afghanistan, particularly the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Speaking on the Express News show ‘Center Stage,’ Asif criticized the decision to allow Afghanistan refugees to settle in Pakistan.

Pakistan has conveyed its strong reservations to Taliban through diplomatic channels, specifically regarding the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) members in Afghanistan. As tensions rise, Asif accused the Taliban of dishonoring commitments outlined in the Doha agreement, further straining relations between the two nations.

Asif emphasized that the existence of terror safe havens in Afghanistan and the movement of terrorists “has long been known.” He also highlighted errors made by the previous government, mentioning the large influx of people, including 300,000 newcomers and 500,000 existing Afghanistan migrants.

Asif stressed the urgency of finding a solution to the Afghanistan refugee issue in Pakistan, citing instances where terrorists disguised themselves as attendants and recent involvement of Afghanistan citizens in such incidents. During his delegation’s visit to Kabul, he expressed concerns to the Taliban and revealed that proposals were presented, though the incidents have persisted.

The recent statements by Pakistan Army Chief General Asim Munir and Defense Minister Khawaja Asif also reflect Pakistan’s frustration over the lack of cooperation from the Taliban in addressing the TTP issue. Pakistan has communicated its displeasure and warned that the use of Afghanistan territory by the TTP will not go unanswered, reserving the right to respond to safe havens across the border.

However, the Taliban has refuted the claims made by Pakistani authorities, asserting that Islamabad should not hold them responsible for its perceived incompetence.

“We categorically deny these allegations. Pakistan’s internal issues should be addressed within its own borders. Afghan nationals should not be blamed for them. Afghanistan remains committed to preventing its territory from being used against any country, including Pakistan,” stated Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesperson for the Taliban.

On Wednesday, a series of attacks targeted military facilities in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province, resulting in the tragic deaths of at least 12 Pakistani soldiers. The first attack occurred in Sui, followed by another in Zhob. The persistent security challenges faced by Pakistan indicate that the TTP has not yet been effectively contained, causing ongoing concerns for the nation.