Pakistani army chief asks commanders to stop militants from crossing into Afghanistan

Islamabad, July 6 (IANS) Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif on Wednesday ordered military officials not to allow anyone to cross the border into neighbouring Afghanistan for violence.

Afghanistan and US officials had long been claiming that the Taliban militants cross the border into Afghanistan for attacks on the foreigners and Afghan security forces, Xinhua news agency reported.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have nearly 2,600 km of border, mostly porous in the difficult mountainous terrain, and illegal cross-border movement has also been a source of tensions between the two countries.

General Raheel visited the troops in Waziristan tribal region, bordering Afghanistan, which has been cleared by the security forces of the Taliban and other militant groups, the military said. He spent the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid with the troops in North and South Waziristan, an army statement said.

“The COAS (Chief of the Army Staff) said, as consolidation goes on and operational dividends optimised for Pak-Afghan Border region, Pakistan will not allow anyone to use its soil against Afghanistan and directed all commanders, intelligence agencies and LEAs (Law Enforcement Agencies) to take concrete measures against violators,” the statement said.

At the same time General Raheel also stressed that Afghanistan should also ensure that its soil is not used against Pakistan.

“We expect non-use of Afghanistan territory against Pakistan,” the army chief said.

Pakistani security officials believe that the Pakistani Taliban, who had fled as the result of military operations, now “operate from the Afghan side of the border and launch attacks on the forces from there”.

As Pakistani forces have now killed and expelled the militants from the tribal areas, they now focus on the better management of its borders with Afghanistan so the militants could not create problems again.

“Peace and stability along Pak-Afghan border remains the (Pakistani) forces’ priority; towards which they will commit all their efforts,” General Raheel added.

He also reiterated Pakistan’s stated position to “facilitate the reconciliation process (in Afghanistan) with sincerity and commitment,” adding, “Our efforts for peace in Afghanistan have been acknowledged.”

General Raheel extended Eid greetings to the troops in Waziristan and praised their morale and sacrifices to beat the militants.

“We will not let these sacrifices go waste. With FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Regions) cleared and terrorists being chased across the country, we are determined not to allow them to return and reverse our gains,” he said in his address to the soldiers.



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