Amid Pakistan’s Concerns, US Urges Afghan Taliban

The United States requested of the Afghan Taliban on Tuesday that they prevent their nation from turning into a “safe haven” for terrorist attacks, in response to Islamabad’s demands that Afghanistan rein in militants responsible for growing terrorism within Pakistan.

The statement from US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller comes a day after Pakistan Army blamed Kabul for the uptick in militancy, saying that “safe havens and liberty of action”, along with the latest weapons available to militants from Afghan­istan enabled them to carry out attacks inside Pakistan.

Islamabad has repeatedly raised concerns over the use of Afghan soil by militants for cross-border terror­­ism. In a recent statement, the military said it expected the government in Afghanistan to take action against militants and abide by the Doha agreement.

“The sanctuaries and liberty of action available to the terrorists of proscribed TTP and other groups of that ilk in a neighbouring country and availability of latest weapons to the terrorists were noted as major reasons impacting [the] security of Pakistan,” a statement issued by the ISPR after the Corps Commander Conference on Monday said.

The conference said the banned TTP continued to enjoy safe havens and managed to get its hands on sophisticated weapons, as it operates freely in Afghanistan.

According to military sources mentioned in a Dawn report, the main cause of the most recent wave of instability in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was the Afghan Taliban’s inability to control the TTP.

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The sources further noted that militants wielding M-16 weapons and donning typical US military garb participated in the recent attacks in Balochistan.

On Saturday, Afghanistan’s defence minister Khawaja Asif also harshly criticised the country for “neglecting its duties as a neighbouring and fraternal country” and for flouting important commitments made in the Doha peace accord, particularly its promise to forbid the use of Afghan territory for terrorist activities.

At a press briefing on Monday, the US State Department spokesperson restated the position that the Taliban administration bore the responsibility to control terror activities originating from their territory.

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