Pakistan says it won’t allow countries to harbor militants
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s political and military leaders pledged on Monday that no nation would be allowed to harbor militants who stage attacks on the country – an apparent reference to neighboring Afghanistan.
The statement came amid a spike in attacks by Pakistani Taliban militants, many of whom are hiding in neighboring Afghanistan. Attacks are increasing across Pakistan, particularly in the northwest near the Afghan border.
The announcement came at the end of a lengthy meeting of Pakistan’s National Security Committee, which was attended by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the new army chief, General Asim Munir, and other officials.
According to a government statement, the committee pledged that there will be “zero tolerance for terrorism in Pakistan” and that militants will be treated with “full force of the state”.
The announcement came two weeks after Pakistani special forces killed more than two dozen detainees linked to the Pakistani Taliban in a raid after overpowering guards at a counter-terrorism center in the northwest and killing three hostages. Before launching the rescue operation, the detainees demanded safe passage to Afghanistan, a request the government denied.
The Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, is distinct from, but allied with, the Afghan Taliban. The Afghan Taliban seized power last year as US and NATO troops were in the final weeks of withdrawing from the country after 20 years of war.
The takeover of Afghanistan has emboldened TTP fighters who have stepped up their attacks on Pakistani security forces since November, when they unilaterally ended a months-long ceasefire with the Pakistani government. . Growing militant violence has strained relations between the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban leaders, who brokered the ceasefire in May.