60% spike in terror incidents in Pakistan since Taliban-led interim govt came to power in Afghanistan: PM Kakar

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 Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said on Wednesday that terror attacks in Pakistan rose 60 per cent and suicide bombings by 500 per cent after the Taliban came to power in neighbouring Afghanistan, lamenting at Kabul’s failure to stop the use of its soil for terrorism.

The hardline Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 bringing to an end the government in Kabul when the army, trained and equipped by the US and allies, melted away with a speed that surprised even the rebels.

“After the establishment of the interim Afghan government in August 2021, we had a strong hope that there would be long-term peace in Afghanistan. […] Strict action would be taken against Pakistan-opposing groups, especially the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and they would absolutely not be allowed to use Afghan soil against Pakistan,” Kakar said at a press conference in Islamabad.

“But unfortunately, after the establishment of the interim Afghan govt, there has been a 60 per cent increase in terror incidents and a 500 per cent rise in suicide attacks in Pakistan,” he said.

He said that 2,267 Pakistani citizens were killed in the past two years due to the attacks by the TTP using Afghan soil.

“During this time, 15 Afghan citizens were also among the people involved in suicide attacks. Other than this, till now, 64 Afghan citizens were killed while fighting Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies during the counterterrorism campaign,” he said.

Kakar asserted that the details of the attacks were in the knowledge of the Afghan interim authorities, but no action was taken against the TTP despite assurance by the Taliban.

His terse remarks come after a spate of attacks in the past week, including on Mianwali Training Air Base in the Punjab province, which was claimed by the Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan and the killing of soldiers in an ambush in Gwadar, claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Front.

Talking about the drive to send back illegal aliens, the majority of them Afghans, the prime minister said that the crackdown aimed to set right internal security matters.

“Pakistan’s recent actions regarding this are neither surprising nor unexpected. Illegal immigrants have a huge role in spreading unrest in Pakistan, which is why the state of Pakistan decided to send them back to their countries from November 1,” he said, adding that the country was within its right to send back foreigners.

He said 1.4 million Afghan refugees registered via the ‘Proof of Residence’ card and 8 lakh registered under the Afghan citizen card would not be deported, rejecting the criticism by the Afghan leaders as “unnecessary, irresponsible, misleading and threatening”.

Kakar said that so far, around 252,000 illegal Afghans returned to their country.

The caretaker government last month gave an ultimatum to all undocumented immigrants to leave Pakistan by October 31 or else risk imprisonment and deportation. It announced that action would be taken from November 1 against those illegal foreigners who had not left the country.

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