Tuesday May 21, 2024

'Washington, Islamabad agree on deterring terrorist groups'

State Dept spokesperson underscores bilateral collaboration over technical assistance regarding Pakistan's western border

By Web Desk
May 15, 2024
US State Departments Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel addresses a press briefing in Washington, on May 15, 2024 in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/US Department of State
US State Department's Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel addresses a press briefing in Washington, on May 15, 2024 in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/US Department of State

WASHINGTON: The United States Wednesday said that it has reached consensus with Pakistan on deterring terrorist groups along with continuing cooperation on terrorism and related issues.

Speaking at a press briefing US State Department's Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said: "We also agreed about preventing and deterring terrorist groups and the work that can be done in that place, such as counter-IED investigations, technical assistance at Pakistan's western border, and other issues."

His remarks refer to a high-level meeting between the two countries held in Washington earlier this week wherein the discussion centred on the counter-terrorism landscape in the region.

"We confirmed with Pakistan today our bilateral intention to increase our capacity to meet emerging threats, specifically to increase communication on terrorism," Patel added while responding to a query regarding the security talks.

His remarks come as Pakistan has faced an increased wave of terrorism in recent months with scores of attacks targeting civilians, law enforcement agencies and security forces in various areas across the country.

Pakistan has time again raised its concerns with the interim Afghan Taliban government over the use of Afghan soil by various militant organisations including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The meeting was co-chaired by Additional Foreign Secretary for the UN and OIC Ambassador Syed Haider Shah and US Department of State Coordinator for Counter-terrorism Ambassador Elizabeth Richard.

As per the statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO), during the huddle, both countries recognised that a partnership to counter the ISIS-Khorasan — also known as Daesh — the TTP, and other terrorist organisations will advance security in the region and serve as a model of bilateral and regional cooperation to address transnational terrorism threats.

It is to be noted that as per the Q1 2024 Security Report issued by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in April this year, at least 92% of all fatalities and 86% of attacks in Pakistan, including those related to terrorism and security forces operations, were recorded in the Khyber Pakhtun­khwa and Balochistan provinces in the first quarter of 2024.

The report mentioned that the country witnessed at least 432 violence-linked fatalities and 370 injuries among civilians, security personnel and outlaws resulting from as many as 245 incidents of terror attacks and counter-terror operations.

Among the 432 fatalities, 281 included that of civilians and security forces personnel.

The KP and Balochistan province alone have accounted for 51% and 41% of the total fatalities in Q1, 2024, respectively. The data indicates that the remaining regions were relatively peaceful, suffering less than 8% of all deaths.