Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar linked on Wednesday the increase in terror incidents in Pakistan with the incumbent Afghan government assuming power in 2021, claiming that the ongoing deportation of “illegal immigrants” is connected to counter-terrorism activities.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he said that the Pakistani state had hoped that Afghan soil would not be used for terror activities against Pakistan after the establishment of the interim Afghan government in August 2021. That the Afghan Taliban government would bring long-term peace in the neighbouring country, he said.
“[We had hoped] strict action would be taken against Pakistan-opposing groups, especially the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, and they would absolutely not be allowed to use Afghan soil against Pakistan,” said Kakar.
“But unfortunately, after the establishment of the interim Afghan government, there has been a 60% increase in terror incidents and a 500% rise in suicide attacks in Pakistan,” he added.
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“In the past two years, 2,267 innocent citizens’ lives have been lost to this tragic bloodshed, for which the terrorists of TTP are responsible,” he said.
“During this time, 15 Afghan citizens were also among the people involved in suicide attacks. Apart from this, till now, 64 Afghan citizens have been killed while fighting Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies during the counterterrorism campaign,” he added.
The caretaker PM fell short of providing details about the purported involvement of Afghan nationals in any specific terror attack.
His statement comes on the heels of multiple incidents of terrorism in the past week, including an attack on the Mianwali Training Air Base for which the Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan claimed responsibility, an ambush in Gwadar reportedly claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Front and clashes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by perpetrators allegedly affiliated with the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP).
On November 1, the federal government initiated a crackdown against “undocumented” Afghan nationals – essentially persons seeking refuge in the country and awaiting legal formalities. Since November 1, 2023, the state has begun a campaign to forcibly evict around 1.3 million such persons.
The move has been heavily criticized by rights’ groups and members of civil society.