ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani said on Wednesday the “biggest concern” currently facing Pakistan was a threat from militant organizations that were using Afghan soil to launch attacks against the South Asian country.
Pakistan says the Pakistani Taliban, or Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), have become emboldened since the Afghan Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war. Authorities say the insurgents, who are allied but separate from the Afghan Taliban, have found sanctuaries and have even been living openly in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.
The TTP has stepped up its attacks on Pakistan since November last year when it unilaterally called off a tenuous peace deal that had been brokered by Kabul.
The Afghan government says it does not permit its soil to be used by armed groups against other nations.
“For Pakistan, the biggest concern right now is the enhanced terrorist threat from TTP and ISK [Daesh group], and their ability to use Afghan soil to launch attacks against Pakistan”, Jilani said while speaking at the Asia Society in New York on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
“We remain closely engaged with the Afghan interim administration on this issue, and while we are committed to fighting and defeating the terrorists, we wish to highlight that terrorist organizations trying to gain a foothold in Afghanistan should be treated as a threat to the neighborhood and the entire international community.”
Jilani said Pakistan was aligned with the international community on human rights violations in Afghanistan, particularly with regards to women’s rights, employments and education.
Since assuming power, the Afghan Taliban have implemented restrictions preventing women from pursuing employment or attending educational institutions.
“We will continue to raise these issues with the Afghan interim administration [but] we believe that instead of coercive measures, engaging the Afghan interim government is much more likely to deliver results. Equally important is to avert the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan,” Jilani said.
Earlier in the day, the Pakistani minister met with the US Special Representative on Afghanistan, Thomas West, in New York.