Kabul demands action against Taliban in Pakistan

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Islamabad, Feb 21 (IANS) Within days of the Pakistan Army summoning Afghan diplomats to demand action against militants sheltering in Afghanistan and involved in attacks in Pakistan, Kabul has handed over a list of Afghan Taliban militants and 32 terrorist hideouts on Pakistani territory.

According to a statement issued by the Afghan Foreign Ministry on Monday, the list was handed over to Pakistani authorities through Kabul’s envoy to Pakistan Omar Zakhiwal, seeking action against militants operating on Pakistani soil.

“The ministry gave a list of militants and 32 terrorist-training centres operating in Pakistan against Afghanistan, and asked for immediate action against them,” said the statement.

The statement warned that continued violence would push Kabul to seek international sanctions against “terrorist groups and their supporters”.

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In a separate development, Zakhiwal on Monday said he had a “very positive” meeting with Pakistan Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz.

Zakhiwal also said that he had a “constructive” talk with Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Bajwa and expected quick de-escalation of tension between the two neighbours.

Talking to the media later, Aziz confirmed that a list was handed over to Bajwa by the Afghan envoy, adding that the overall security situation in the region and border issues were discussed during his meeting with Zakhiwal.

The demand from Kabul comes after the Pakistani military targeted militant hideouts near the Afghan border, killing dozens of terrorists and destroying their hideouts, Dawn online reported.

Bajwa on Monday also said that Pakistan and Afghanistan would jointly target their common enemy — terrorists of all hue and colour.

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The comments clearly contrasted with the earlier tone which bordered on unilateralism.

The Pakistan Army had, soon after the suicide attack at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan town of Sindh province, closed border crossings with Afghanistan and the troops pounded “terrorist targets” across the border.

Bajwa had told the US commander in Afghanistan that the Afghan government’s inaction against terrorists was testing Pakistan’s policy of cross-border restraint.

Pakistan had also sent reinforcements to the border and deployed heavy armament.

–IANS

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