Pakistan on Friday summoned the in charge of the Afghan diplomatic mission in Islamabad to record a strong protest over the recent cross-border terrorist attack by a large number of terrorists in Chitral district, even as the foreign minister termed the Kelash attack as an “isolated incident” and said it was not “sanctioned” by the Afghan Taliban.
On September 6, around 150 terrorists from the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) launched an attack in the Kelash area of the Chitral district.
The two border posts were attacked by terrorists armed with the latest weapons. However, Pakistani security forces repelled the attack, leaving 12 terrorists killed. During the fight, at least four Pakistani soldiers embraced martyrdom, according to the military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
Contrary to reports doing rounds in social media, the Deputy Commission of Chitral on Friday dismissed reports of any trouble in the district. The senior official said that the situation was under control and there was nothing to worry about.
On Friday, the Foreign Office (FO) summoned an Afghan diplomat and issued a strong demarche, according to officials. The Afghan interim government was conveyed in categorical terms that such attacks and the use of Afghan soil by the TTP would be detrimental to peace and security.
Read more: FO calls for ‘global attention’ on US arms left in Afghanistan
However, Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani apparently exonerated the Afghan Taliban government of its role. “It [Chitral incident] was an isolated incident and we don’t think it had their [Afghan government] sanction,” Jilani told reporters after attending the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Earlier speaking at the weekly news briefing, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that Pakistan was concerned at the use of Afghan soil against Pakistan and said those concerns were communicated to the Afghan authorities.
“Pakistan is concerned about the recent incident that took place and the terrorist attack on military posts. We are engaged with the interim government of Afghanistan. We have shared our concerns with regards to the terrorist threat against Pakistan that emanates from Afghan soil. This dialogue will continue,” she added.
Also read: Locals join hands with Pakistan Army against terrorism in Chitral
She also echoed the view of Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, who recently said that the US-led foreign forces withdrawal left behind arms and ammunition that were now being used by terrorists.
“We are concerned that the large amount of weaponry that is available in Afghanistan and has now reached some terrorist entities as well, continue to pose a threat to Pakistan, especially when these terrorist entities attack Pakistani civilian and military targets,” the spokesperson said.
“We do not want to assign blame on anyone but the situation needs international attention. We hope all relevant parties would understand the responsibility that they have in this respect,” she added.
The US on Wednesday said that no military equipment had been left behind by American forces in Afghanistan, in response to a question about reports that $7 billion worth of weapons reportedly were abandoned in the war-torn country when US forces withdrew in August 2011.
The comments by John Kirby, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communication, came days after PM Kakar said US military equipment left behind during the American withdrawal from Afghanistan was now “emerging as a new challenge” for Islamabad as it had enhanced the fighting capabilities of TTP.
“There was no equipment left behind by American forces,” Kirby said in response to a question at a press briefing.
“The equipment that people are saying the Americans left behind, that was equipment that was transferred well in advance of our departure to the Afghan National Security Forces. … because that was part of the mission that our troops were involved in Afghanistan to do in the first place, which was to train up and to support Afghan national security forces as they took charge of security in their country.”
Meanwhile, the FO spokesperson said that Pakistan was in talks with the Afghan government regarding the closure of the Torkham border crossing.
The main border crossing was shut on September 6 after clashes between the border security forces of the two countries.