ISLAMABAD: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar on Saturday said that Pakistan Army’s regular troops were manning crossings along the Pak-Afghan border and that all illegal crossing points have been sealed along the border.
In an interview with a private TV channel, he said the recent terrorist incident has linkage with the recent Afghanistan situation that highlighted the desperation of terrorists. He said that the growing number of terrorism incidents and attacks on the security forces in the country were linked with the developing political situation in the neighbouring country.
He told the viewers that since May 1, 2021, some 167 terrorist incidents took place in the country whereas similarly the security forces had conducted over 7,000 intelligence-based operations (IBOs), cordon and search operations and area domination operations in the aftermath.
The ISPR DG clarified that they are not guarantors to Afghanistan peace process as Afghanistan’s own stakeholders have to decide their future, adding, “Peace in Pakistan is linked with peace in Afghanistan.” He said, “We are meticulously monitoring the regional situation and playing a sincere role in Afghan peace process. We left no stone unturned in peace talks among all the stakeholders of the peace process,” he said.
Fencing along Pak-Afghan Border 90pc completed
The Armed Forces Spokesperson said that the security forces have prepared a lot to cope with the post-US and allied forces withdrawal in Afghanistan. “We have made all preparations and placed all the security measures keeping in view the associated threats,” he added.
While elaborating the security risks, he said the security domain threat included risk of revival of sleeper cells, restoration of terrorist groups in Balochistan that can nexus with hostile agencies. “We are very clear and identified those agencies. The recent particular events also occurred due to it and indicates the risk,” he added. When, he said, Afghan peace process started and prior to that it was presumed that peace in Afghanistan would have an impact on our side. He mentioned that Pakistan had fought a long, nerve-testing war against terror and achieved hard-earned success. “The border fencing along Pak-Afghan Border is 90 percent completed and it has been expedited along Iran Border. Many forts and security posts have been constructed and proper border management mechanisms has been placed,” he said. The border fencing was also beneficial for Afghanistan’s security, he maintained.
Commenting on the border security measures, the DG ISPR said the FC capacity has been significantly enhanced where police and Levies training has been conducted under the supervision of Pakistan Army. He confirmed that there has been no organized terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan after the security operations done by the Army. He noted that the fugitive leadership of terrorist groups was based in Afghanistan which was supported by the Indian intelligence agency RAW. He said in tribal areas and Balochistan, over 7000 security operations were conducted since May 1, 2021 where 42 terrorists were killed and also many soldiers of Pakistan Army got martyred and injured during the operations. “Pakistan Army is ready to exterminate all threats to national peace and security. We are after them aggressively and they are on the run and in such aggressive posture you bear casualties. Our officers are leading the operations from the front and we are after them and would not let them take any respite,” Major General Babar Iftikhar said.
The ISPR DG also highlighted the sacrifices made by the country in its fight against terrorism. He said over 86,000 innocent lives have been lost in the War on Terror with 152 billion dollars economic losses. However, the security forces conducted over 1,300 security operations, cleared over 46,000 sqkm area from terrorists’ control and some 18,000 terrorists were killed, adding, tonnes of explosives were confiscated in various operations. “I can say with authentication that no organized terrorist infrastructure exists in Pakistan,” he reiterated.
During the security operations, he said the security forces along with kinetic measures also made efforts in the lawfare domain, however, various measures have been taken and legislation carried out in the country. “The world has acknowledged the constructive role of Pakistan in the regional peace and stability,” he added. The concept of Operation Radd-Ul-Fasaad was that use of power was the prerogative of state and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa took the entire effort under this vision to eliminate terrorism from its roots in the country, he said and added India has huge influence in Afghanistan and they used it as the main purpose of its funding was to develop their roots in Afghanistan and destabilize Pakistan. “We have also presented dossier in November 2020 and gave evidence of Indian terrorism and clandestine designs against Pakistan,” he added. He further said there were training camps of RAW in Afghanistan that they used to unite all splinter anti-Pakistan groups. “India is the biggest spoiler in the region,” he maintained.
Intelligence agencies, he said, always operate and function in grey zones whereas Pakistan’s peace was mainly relying on peace in Afghanistan. “It will be difficult for India to operate against Pakistan in this case,” he was sure.
Responding to the recent statement of Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh who levelled allegations against Pakistan Air Force supporting Taliban, he said, “Absolutely a false statement and I confirm that there are no such measures taken by Pakistan Air Force. The Afghan Air Force is operating on their side and no such activity is done by Pakistan Air Force. I will only deny this statement.” He mentioned that recently during clashes between Afghan National Army and Afghan Taliban, around 40 Afghan Army soldiers crossed towards the Pakistan side in Bajaur and the country gave them a soldierly protocol with food, gifts and handed over to Afghan forces.
Commenting on a recent operation against terrorists in the tribal district of Kurram, he said on 26 June some 16 labourers were working at a mobile tower site in Kurram Tribal District who were abducted by the terrorists. On 27 June, 10 out of 16 labourers were released and unfortunately one labourer’s body was found. The security forces launched series of intelligence-based operations in highly-inhospitable terrain under extreme weather conditions, he added. The terrorists were continuously tracked and pursued whereas in an IBO on 13 July, 2021, three terrorists were killed and Captain Basit Ali and Sepoy Hazrat Bilal sacrificed their lives while rescuing the innocent labourers, he added.
He said despite the martyrdom of two soldiers, the security forces conducted the operation and rescued the remaining five labourers, adding, “Operation is underway and we are going to eliminate them. Pakistan Army will pay every price for the peace and protection of the country,” the DG vowed.