By: Ali Hussain and Fazal Sher
The recent understanding between the local Pakistani and Afghan authorities not to allow terrorists on either side of the Pak-Afghan border to operate in the other’s territory has led to a marked improvement in the security situation in the troublesome area, local security officials and tribesmen along border in Parachinar, Kurram Agency told Business Recorder.
The security situation prior to this understanding had been tensed for three months. Officials and residents of the area further revealed that a joint meeting of Pakistani and Afghan security authorities was held on the Pak-Afghan border on Borki-Kharlachi area two weeks ago in which the two sides agreed to tackle terrorist elements through coordinated efforts and intelligence sharing.
An official of the political administration, who requested not to be named, said that during the meeting the Afghan side was informed about the activities of the militants along the border including attacks on border security check posts.
“The Afghan side, represented by the local authorities, acknowledged the gravity of the situation and candidly agreed to deal with non-state actors operating on the border through coordinated efforts and not to allow these elements to create misunderstanding between the two countries,” he said, adding the security situation had improved since then and the terror attacks had declined.
He further pointed out that the two sides acknowledged that the terrorists took advantage of the porous border by attacking security forces and agreed not to take such attacks as those launched by state agencies. On Sunday [April 24], the Afghan security forces repulsed an attack on its border check post near Karsha, the mountainous area on the border, and it was made possible due to intelligence sharing, the official added.
Prior to the joint meeting of the Pakistani and Afghan local authorities, it was also learnt from local sources that Pakistani authorities had sent a strong message to the Afghan elders along the border through local elders on Pakistan’s side of the border not to allow terrorists to use their localities for carrying out attacks against Pakistani security forces.
“We conveyed the message to Afghan elders of Danda Pathan, Mir Hasan, Estiya, Kaimatai, Kherkee and Derwikhail areas through our contacts to prevent them [terrorists] from using their localities, otherwise the civil population may come under attack in retaliation,” a local elder said, who wished not to be named.
According to the local tribesmen, the situation has now improved and the sense of fear that had prevailed for the last three months has almost ended following the joint meeting of Pakistani and Afghan authorities.
Earlier, Pakistan had deployed additional paramilitary troops and heavy weapons in retaliation against the repeated terrorist attacks from across the border which also led to an additional deployment of Afghan troops on its side of the border.
According to data complied by Business Recorder through various independent sources, the number of terror attacks in Pakistan has declined but there has been a slight increase in the number of causalities during the first four months of this year compared to the corresponding period of last year.
The country witnessed eight major terrorist attacks from January 2016 to April 25, 2016 in which 139 people lost their lives while 123 were killed in 13 terror attacks in the corresponding period of 2015.
The Lahore public park suicide attack on March 27, 2016 was the deadliest attack of this year in which 74 people including women and children were massacred, responsibility for which was claimed by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Source: Business Recorder