Some terrorist groups were targeted by Pakistan: US DoD

Monitoring Desk
Sunday, 17 December 2017
WASHINGTON (United States): United States (US) department of defence (DoD) on Friday in a report, “enhancing security and stability in Afghanistan,” mentioned, “Although Pakistani military operations have disrupted ‘some’ militant sanctuaries, certain extremist groups—such as the Taliban and the Haqqani Network —retains freedom of movement in Pakistan” asserting “The US continues to convey to all levels of Pakistani leadership the importance of taking action against all terrorist and extremist groups.”

According to detail, the report mentioned, the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region remains a sanctuary for various groups, including al-Qa’ida, al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khorasan (ISIS-K), and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

In addition, al-Qa’ida’s regional affiliate, AQIS, has built a presence in south and southeast Afghanistan and in Pakistan. Whereas al-Qa’ida continues to recruit from Arab populations, AQIS is composed primarily of militants from within the broader South Asia region.

Sanctuary on the Pakistani side and presence on the Afghan side remain security challenges for both countries and pose a threat to regional security and stability.

Our military-to-military relationship with Pakistan remains critical to the success of our mutual interests in the region. To move forward, we must see fundamental changes in the way Pakistan deals with terrorist safe-havens in its territory.

To induce that change, we will work across the US government, using a range of tools to expand our cooperation with Pakistan in areas where our interests converge and to take unilateral steps in areas of divergence.

US efforts against ISIS-K in Afghanistan are part of the US global effort to defeat ISIS, US forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) is enabling the Afghan national defence and security forces (ANDSF) to conduct independent operations against ISIS-K, the US is encouraging more robust intelligence and operational cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other regional partners in the effort to defeat ISIS.”

Pakistan contributed operational support to a US-ANDSF combined operation to combat ISIS-K. Resolute Support (RS) continues to facilitate meetings between Afghanistan and Pakistan through its Tripartite Joint Operations Centre. Meetings focus on border management and security, countering terrorist groups, and countering the threat from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

In an effort to de-escalate border incidents more effectively, Afghanistan and Pakistan established telephone hotlines for corps commanders that serve across the Durand Line from each other.

Three pairs of counterparts have exchanged phone calls, which led to the Pakistan Army’s 11 Corps Commander hosting a delegation of Afghan ministry of defence (MoD) officials and the Afghan national army’s (ANA) 203rd Corps Commander.

Afghanistan continues to seek “Chinese pressure on Pakistan” to assist reconciliation efforts and eliminate insurgent sanctuaries. In August 2017, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan formalised their membership in the Quadrilateral Counterterrorism Coordination Mechanism, intended to serve as a regional forum to exchange counter terrorism (CT) information.

The Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship remains tenuous and leaders from each country have accused the other of harbouring terrorists and allowing the planning of attacks from their soil.

The US continues to encourage both countries to work together to solve common problems, such as border security, but deep-rooted mistrust remains a significant barrier to progress.

However, the existence of more than 20 terrorist or insurgent groups “in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” including ISIS-K, requires an Afghan supported US platform in the region to monitor, contain, and respond to these threats, US DoD report concluded.