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Tuesday June 18, 2024

Terrorism 'common threat' to Pakistan, Afghanistan: Bilawal

Countering terrorism requires a collective response, Bilawal tells Afghan counterpart over phone call

By Web Desk
January 12, 2023
Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (left) and Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. — PPI/AFP
Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (left) and Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. — PPI/AFP

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Thursday that terrorism was a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and the menace required a collective response, as both countries face a spike in militancy.

The Taliban-run administration has faced an insurgency by Daesh militants who have targeted foreigners, including the Russian and Pakistani embassies, and a hotel catering to Chinese businessmen, while Pakistan has witnessed a spike in terror attacks a spike following the ending of a ceasefire by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — an organisation that has found shelter in Afghanistan.

FM Bilawal, during a telephonic conversation with Afghanistan's acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, said: Both, people of Pakistan and Afghanistan, are victims of terrorism."

Stressing the need for joint efforts to eliminate terrorism from the region, the foreign minister said that the authorities of both countries "must do all we can to defeat this menace.”

During the conversation, the foreign minister also condemned the terrorist attack outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul, which took place yesterday, and offered his condolences.

Condemning the terrorist act in the strongest possible terms, the foreign minister underscored that terrorism posed a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and required a collective response.

"Terrorism posed a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and required a collective response," the foreign minister said.

Reaffirming complete solidarity with the Afghan people in countering this menace, he underlined Pakistan’s commitment to work with Afghanistan towards promoting regional peace and stability.

At least five people were killed and dozens wounded by a suicide bomber near the Afghan foreign ministry in Kabul, where a Chinese delegation had been due to meet, officials and witnesses said.

Italian nongovernmental organisation Emergency NGO, which operates a hospital in Kabul, said it received more than 40 wounded people. Bodies lay strewn on the road in the aftermath outside the high-walled compound of the ministry, marked with the Taliban flag, a video verified by AFP showed.

Later, Daesh claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, saying that its member slipped by Taliban security barriers "before blowing up his explosive belt in the middle of employees and guards". 

After the attack on the Kabul Ministry, Pakistan’s Foreign Office released a statement strongly condemning the attack and expressed solidarity with the Afghan brothers and sisters.

"Pakistan strongly condemns the brazen terrorist attack that took place in Kabul today resulting in loss of precious lives. The Government and people of Pakistan extend their deepest sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families. We stand in solidarity with our Afghan brothers and sisters in the fight against the scourge of terrorism."

Since the formation of the Taliban government in 2021, there have been dozens of bomb blasts and attacks, despite claims that the Taliban have improved the country’s security. Many of these attacks have been claimed by the local chapter of the Daesh group.

Last month, at least five Chinese nationals were injured in a Kabul hotel when armed men stormed the hotel, which was popular with Chinese business people.

Daesh took the responsibility for that attack, along with an attack on Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul not long after. The attack on Pakistan’s embassy had been denounced by Islamabad as an assassination attempt against the ambassador.

Earlier, in October, four people were killed and 25 wounded in an attack on a mosque on the grounds of the interior ministry in Kabul.


— Additional input from AFP