Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar has said that there is a “threat of terrorist sleeper cells becoming active again due to the situation in Afghanistan”.
Talking to a private television news channel on Saturday, he said that the Pakistan Army is “keeping a close eye” on the situation in the region and is “playing its role with utmost seriousness” for the successful outcome of the Afghan peace process.
“Pakistan has spared no effort for the success of peace process,” he said, adding that the country is “not a guarantor”.
“Ultimately, it is up to the Afghans to decide how to proceed forward,” he added.
The DG said Pakistan has the “largest stake” when it comes to peace in Afghanistan.
Maj Gen Babar said the country has “fought a long and testing war on terror with exceptional success”.
Speaking of the Afghan border, he said that “all illegal crossing points have been sealed” and that deployment of troops at notified points has been ramped up.
“Pakistan’s peace heavily depends on peace in Afghanistan,” the DG ISPR said.
He said that as long as Afghanistan is peaceful and stable, “it does not matter who is in power in Kabul”.
About the recent incidents of unrest in Pakistan, he said that these are “tied to the situation on the other side”.
Praising the Army’s continued success in its anti-terrorism operations, he said that it was due to these efforts that “terrorists do not have an organised structure in Pakistan”.
Maj Gen Babar said that the “leaders of such terror networks are all sitting in Afghanistan”.
He said that such terrorist networks have the support of the Indian intelligence agency RAW, and the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the national intelligence and security service of Afghanistan.
“Recent events have shown their frustration,” he added.
Maj Gen Babar said that there have been 150 incidents of terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and security forces have carried out 7,500 operations in the tribal districts and Balochistan.
“So far 42 terrorists have been killed in these operations while many of our soldiers and officers were martyred and wounded.”
He vowed that the armed forces will “never allow the enemies of peace and prosperity to succeed”.
“Our operations continue with full force and terrorists are fleeing,” he said.
The DG said that in the last 20 years, the war on terror has been fought “with the support of the nation”.
“Pakistan has lost billions of dollars in the war on terror,” he said.
Maj Gen Babar said that the armed forces had cleared 46,000 square kilometres of the terrorists.
“All across Pakistan, some 18,000 terrorists were killed, and no-go areas ended.”
He said all this was possible under the operation “Raddul Fasaad”, and added that the use of force is the prerogative of the state.
Maj Gen Babar said that various countries and institutions have recognised Pakistan’s key role in eradicating terrorism.
About the border fencing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said all fences on Pakistan’s side will benefit Afghanistan as well.
“The army chief has called it a fence of peace. It will not divide anyone,” he added.
Rather, it will promote peace and eliminate misunderstandings, he continued.
“The instigators of instability in Pakistan operate from Afghan soil,” the DG said, adding: “We will not allow our land to be used against anyone and we do not expect anyone else to use our land against us.”
Maj Gen Babar said India has a “huge” influence on Afghanistan.
“India invested billions of dollars in Afghanistan to have a firm foundation to harm Pakistan,” the DG ISPR said.
He said Pakistan has evidence of India’s role in Afghanistan and that a dossier was shared in November with the international community.
“The dossier shows how India uses intelligence agencies in Afghanistan to reactivate anti-Pakistan organisations like TTP,” the major general said.
There were 62 camps of the outlawed TTP in Afghanistan, he said.
“The signals coming from India are very clear: they are disappointed,” said Maj Gen Iftikhar.
India’s influence in Afghanistan will not remain the same, the DG ISPR said.
He said India is the “biggest spoiler” in the efforts for peace in Afghanistan.