Ishaq Dar says security remains a major issue with Afghanistan – The News International

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An undated image of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar addressing a seminar. — APP File
An undated image of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar addressing a seminar. — APP File

ISLAMABAD: Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar Tuesday said the terror incidents that targeted Chinese citizens in Pakistan signal the involvement of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that is present in Afghanistan, adding that security is a major issue that Pakistan has with its neighbour in its northwest.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces bordering Afghanistan have witnessed a surge in militancy since the Taliban came into power in 2021, with Pakistan persistently asking them to stop cross-border attacks and take decisive action against militants operating on its soil.

“I will leave for Afghanistan in a couple of days. Afghanistan is our brotherly country,” he said, speaking at the first meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Irfan Siddiqui on Tuesday.

Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi was also present at the meeting.

“We had and will continue to have a very close relationship with Afghanistan. You can’t change your neighbours.”

Replying to a question, the foreign minister said Chinese nationals were attacked in Dassu, adding that such attacks are meant to create rifts between Pakistan and China. Unfortunately, the clues of these incidents signal the involvement of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the outfit exists in Afghanistan, he underscored.

During the second quarter of this year, Pakistan witnessed 380 violence-linked fatalities and 220 injuries among civilians, security personnel, and outlaws, resulting from as many as 240 incidents of terror attacks and counter-terror operations.

This includes 236 fatalities among civilians and security forces personnel, the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) Annual Security report said.

“Security is our major problem that Pakistan has with Afghanistan,” he said, also highlighting that the polio virus has resurfaced in Pakistan. However, the crippling disease was uprooted in 2018, he noted.

Dar also spoke about the financial situation, saying, “Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has clearly stated he would not seek debt from any brotherly country, any longer.”

Pakistan will have to focus on economic diplomacy if it has to steer clear of the current financial crunch, he said, clarifying, “I have made the utmost effort to lend assistance to the government’s economic team.”

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