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EDITORIAL: Pakistan, once again, is in the crosshairs of terrorists. Speaking at a public rally on Saturday in the wake of a string of terrorist attacks on civilian as well as military targets, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid warned of a further increase in such incidents.

The same night, a checkpost adjacent to Afghan province of Khost came under attack. According to an ISPR statement, terrorists from inside Afghanistan, across the international border, opened fire on Pakistani troops in Kurram District.

They suffered heavy casualties when the security forces returned fire. In three-hour-long exchange of fire five soldiers also embraced martyrdom and four others sustained injuries. The incident comes close on the heels of two coordinated attacks on FC camps in Naushki and Panjgur areas of southern Balochistan. Intelligence intercepts had revealed that the assailants were in communication with their handlers in Afghanistan and India. A week earlier, terrorists had targeted a security post in Kech.

These incidents clearly have been aimed at creating fear among the people and instability in the country. Last month, in a senseless targeted killing, a priest was shot dead and another wounded when they were on their way back from Sunday service in a Peshawar church.

A few days before that, three innocent civilians lost their lives and at least 28 were wounded when a bomb ripped through Lahore’s Anarkali Bazaar. Three suspects arrested by the police were found to have links with the so-called Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) whose leaders and most of the militant cadres took refuge in Afghanistan during military operations in the tribal areas.

When Afghan Taliban came to power last August promising not to allow anyone use Afghan soil for attacks on other countries, they were expected to take action against the TTP terrorists who have killed more than 80,000 Pakistanis.

Instead, as the Interior Minister noted, terrorist attacks have increased by 38 percent since the Taliban takeover. More are being plotted and planned. Punjab has been put on high alert after the Home Department sent a report to Chief Minister Usman Buzdar informing him of 106 terror threats in the province, including Lahore. Reportedly, at least 18 very important personages, including three politicians and 14 foreign personalities as well as 14 religious places are under threat.

In a sign that Pakistan has lost patience with the Afghan Taliban, following the latest incident in Kurram, the ISPR statement alluded to Kabul government’s failure to fulfil its pledge, saying it strongly condemned the “use of Afghan soil by terrorists for activities against Pakistan”, and that the Afghan government is expected not to allow such activities in future.

It may be recalled that during his recent visit to Kabul, National Security adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf had taken up the issue with his hosts, and was given the necessary assurance. Yet repeated acts of terrorism by the TTP show the interim Kabul government is either unwilling or unable to act against its ideological brothers. In either case, Islamabad should tell them to do the needful or let it take out the terrorists through drone strikes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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