Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has said that Pakistan has taken up the Afghan Taliban on board over the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) issue, hoping that Afghanistan’s soil will not be used against Pakistan.
The Interior Minister was talking on Tuesday about the reports of the release of key TTP commanders from jails in Afghanistan after the Taliban overthrew the Kabul regime.
Among those released include Maulana Faqir Mohammad, the former deputy chief of the TTP.
“The outlawed TTP and Daesh militants are present in Nooristan and Nighar,” the minister said.
“We have taken the Taliban on-board over the TTP issue and told them that Pakistan will not allow its soil to be used against Afghanistan and it is hoped that Afghanistan would also not allow its soil to be used against Pakistan.”
When asked for details of the talks with Afghans, Sheikh Rashid refused to disclose what Pakistan had discussed with the Taliban.
“Previously, Pakistan was supporting the US due to which the TTP and the Taliban were on the same page. That is not the case now,” he noted.
Replying to another question, the interior minister said Pakistan was not facing any refugee crisis or “load” on its border with Afghanistan, given the volatile situation in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has completed 97 per cent of the fencing along the Afghan border,” said Rashid, adding that the border has been fenced even in the most hostile of terrains. “Our troops are manning the security check-posts along the border as well.”
The minister said that in the past, most of the migrants who slipped through the border to Pakistan were the Taliban or others who were frustrated with the Northern Alliance. It is not the case now, he added.
Rashid said a special cell had been formed in the interior ministry which was functioning 24 hours, issuing visas on an emergency basis for international diplomats and journalists who have been stranded in Afghanistan.
He said previously, granting a visa took a process of four months as authorities had to conduct a background check with various security agencies.
“Now all [security agencies] are sitting on one table,” he said, adding that the process of granting a visa was much faster now.
The minister said Pakistan is conducting regular import and export trade along the Spin Boldak-Chaman border, adding that so far “everything is good”.
“We are ready to face every situation,” he said.
He said he would hold a press conference on Wednesday to brief the nation about the government’s border management plan.