US urges Taliban to prevent terror attacks from Afghan soil after Pakistan hits TTP hideouts

State Dept says US is in regular communication with Pakistan to discuss Afghanistan

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US State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel. — X/File
US State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel. — X/File

  • US says it regrets loss of life during attack in Pakistan. 
  • Says Afghanistan, Pakistan should address differences. 
  • US in communication with Pakistan to discuss Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON: The United States' Department of State on Tuesday urged the Taliban government in Afghanistan to prevent terror attacks from their soil while also asking Pakistan to ensure the security of civilians during counterterrorism operations. 

A day earlier, Pakistani forces carried out intelligence-based operations (IBOs) in the border regions inside Afghanistan against terrorists launching attacks in Pakistan from Afghan soil following the March 16 attack.

The Mir Ali attack martyred at least seven Pakistan Army soldiers — including a lieutenant colonel and captain — after they gallantly fought with terrorists as they attacked a security forces' post in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

"We deeply regret the loss of life and injustices sustained during the attack in Pakistan, and the loss of civilian lives during the strike in Afghanistan," said Vedant Patel, State Department's principal deputy spokesperson.

"We urge the Taliban to ensure that terrorist attacks are not launched from Afghan soil, and we urge Pakistan to exercise restraint and ensure civilians are not harmed in their counterterrorism efforts. And we urge both sides to address any differences," he added. 

The Afghan Taliban had claimed that two air strikes carried out inside Afghanistan by Pakistani forces had killed eight people in the war-torn country.

Patel said that Washington remains committed to ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a "safe haven for terrorists who wish to harm the United States or our partners and allies".

When asked to elaborate US stance on Pakistani strikes in Afghanistan, the spokesperson said: "Any loss of civilian life is troubling and heartbreaking to us, and so we want to make sure that when some of these operations are being conducted, that every step possible is being taken, that it’s the perpetrators that are being held to account, and that it’s not civilians who are being impacted."

To a query, the spokesperson said that US was in regular communication with Pakistani leaders to discuss Afghanistan in detail including through the counterterrorism dialogue and other bilateral consultations.

'Pakistan repeatedly urged Afghanistan to take action'

The Foreign Office, in its detailed statement on Monday, said that Pakistan carried out operations as for the past two years, Islamabad repeatedly conveyed its serious concerns to Kabul over the presence of terror outfits including TTP inside Afghanistan.

The statement said that these terrorists pose a grave threat to Pakistan’s security and have consistently used Afghan territory to launch terror attacks inside Pakistani territory.

The FO said that Pakistan accords prime importance to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, adding that it has always prioritised dialogue and cooperation to confront the terrorist threat.

“We have repeatedly urged the Afghan authorities to take concrete and effective action to ensure that the Afghan soil is not used as a staging ground for terrorism against Pakistan. We have also called on them to deny safe havens to TTP and to hand over its leadership to Pakistan,” the FO said.

The statement added that Pakistan has great respect for the people of Afghanistan; however, certain elements among those in power in Afghanistan are actively patronising TTP and using them as a proxy against Pakistan.

"We urge these elements in power to rethink the policy of siding with Khwarij terrorists shedding the blood of innocent Pakistanis and to make a clear choice to stand with the people of Pakistan," it added.

"We fully realise the challenge Afghan authorities face in combating the threat posed by the TTP. Pakistan would therefore continue to work towards finding joint solutions in countering terrorism and to prevent any terrorist organisation from sabotaging bilateral relations with Afghanistan," the statement concluded.