Presence of Daesh, AQIS ‘extremely worrying’ development: FO

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by Mariana Baabar
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said the presence of Daesh and reports of Al-Qaeda Indian Sub-continent (AQIS), al-Qaeda’s new branch in Subcontinent with an Indian national as its head, is an “extremely worrying development”.

Together with this, the government says the admission of presence of over 20 terrorist groups in Afghanistan came from the highest public office holder in Afghanistan. “Growing extremism and intolerance in the Indian society unfortunately provides a fertile breeding ground and safe havens for such and other extremist organisations to gain foothold and expand. The growth of extremist organisations in India proves that terrorism has no religion or faith,” Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said in the weekly briefing. He said the reach of AQIS and the installation of an Indian national as its Ameer were worrying developments, as they indicated an extension of al Qaeda network in India and the likelihood of increased Indian recruitment.

The vast tracts of ungoverned and contested spaces have been instrumental in attracting international terrorist groups like Daesh to shift to Afghanistan,” he said. The AFP in its report has said 20 or more terrorist cells are operating in Kabul under the very eyes of the Afghan and US forces.

In this regard, he added that India had developed a nexus with some of these groups and used them to orchestrate terrorist attacks in Pakistan. “We have been saying this all along that the locus of instability lies in Afghanistan and should be tackled there.

“Unfortunately, Afghanistan, instead of fighting these terrorist groups, has been externalising the blame for terrorist attacks in Afghanistan,” he said. “Even Russia, along with many other regional countries, has expressed repeated concerns over the presence and rise of Daesh and other terrorist groups along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, as well as with those of Central Asia, which is extremely worrying. We have repeatedly taken up the matter with all the concerned to curb this development,” he added.

To a query, the spokesman said Pakistan through Zarb-e-Azb had successfully neutralised most of the Al Qaeda operatives on its soil, while the rest had escaped and sought refuge inside Afghanistan.

“Pakistan believes terrorism is a common enemy. We have undertaken successful military actions to root this enemy out from our territory”, he explained. “Daesh is concentrated along Afghanistan’s borders with Pakistan, Iran, China and the Central Asian Republics. Daesh alongwith TTP and Jamaat ul Ahrar, has been involved in cross border attacks on our military posts as well as terrorist attacks in our cities.”

The spokesman did not agree to the remarks made by US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells that only 12 percent of Afghanistan was under the control of the Afghan Taliban. Quoting from SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan’s Reconstruction), the spokesman said more than 43 percent of Afghan territory was either out of Kabul’s control or contested. “Such vast tracts of ungoverned and contested spaces have been instrumental in providing safe havens to the terrorist groups, including Daesh, and also attracted international terrorists to relocate to Afghanistan,” he said.

Responding to a query that a group of anti-Pakistan elements had launched ‘Free Karachi’ campaign in the US, the spokesman said: “We have taken a serious note of this smear campaign in different US cities by Pakistan’s detractors. The foreign secretary forcefully raised this issue with Ambassador Wells, who assured us that the US fully respects Pakistan’s territorial integrity. Our embassy in Washington has been instructed to follow up this matter with the US authorities to prevent the recurrence of such activities.”Courtesy The News.

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