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Saturday June 15, 2024

Islamabad asks Kabul to hand over TTP terrorists involved in Besham attack on Chinese nationals

Interior minister says they have contacted Taliban govt but “good results are not coming from there”

By Web Desk
May 26, 2024
Security officials inspect the wreckage of a vehicle carrying Chinese nationals that plunged into a deep ravine after a suicide attack near Besham city in Shangla, KP. — AFP/File
Security officials inspect the wreckage of a vehicle carrying Chinese nationals that plunged into a deep ravine after a suicide attack near Besham city in Shangla, KP. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: In view of concrete evidence and investigation reports, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi on Sunday urged the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan to hand over banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) terrorists involved in the Besham terror attack on Chinese nationals to Islamabad. 

Addressing a joint press conference flanked by officials of the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Necta), the interior minister said: “Whether Afghanistan try the terrorists [in the court of law] or not, it should hand over the militants to Pakistan.”

At least six people including five Chinese nationals were killed after a suicide bomber rammed into the bus transporting the staff working on the Dasu hydropower project in Bisham, Shangla district, in March this year.

Condoling the deaths of Chinese engineers in the attack, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had said that the “cowardly attack” was aimed at creating a wedge between iron brother Pakistan and China.

In view of the investigation report, the interior minister said that the TTP operated the Besham terror attack on Chinese citizens from inside Afghanistan.

“[Pakistan has formally] requested the interim government in Afghanistan to arrest the leadership of [banned] TTP,” he added.

Over the past two years, Islamabad has repeatedly conveyed its serious concerns to Kabul over the presence of terror outfits, including the banned TTP, inside Afghanistan. These terrorists pose a grave threat to Pakistan’s security and have consistently used Afghan territory to launch terror attacks inside Pakistani territory.

“We have repeatedly urged the Afghan authorities to take concrete and effective action to ensure that the Afghan soil is not used as a staging ground for terrorism against Pakistan. We have also called on them to deny safe havens to the TTP and to hand over its leadership to Pakistan,” the FO said in March.

Briefing the media about the progress of the probe, Naqvi said: “Probe agencies have prepared an investigation report."

He further said that they had concrete evidence that the TTP carried out the terror attack on the Chinese engineers and Afghan soil was used for it.

The security czar also said they wanted friendly ties with Kabul, adding that "it is only possible if they cooperate with Islamabad".

Responding to a question, he said the government had contacted the interim authorities in Kabul but “good results are not coming from there.”

It is pertinent to mention here that Afghanistan’s acting Deputy Prime Minister Maulvi Abdul Kabir, in his meeting with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) supremo Maulana Fazlur Rehman in January this year, had reiterated that the Taliban government would not allow Afghan soil to be used against anyone but the authorities have failed to fulfil their promise.

Pakistan witnessed a sharp surge since peace talks between the TTP and the government collapsed in 2021. The TTP formally ended the ceasefire on November 28 and since then executed hundreds of terror attacks inside Pakistan.

Talking to journalists, the interior minister said that Pakistan gave great importance to its ties with China, adding that both friendly nations support each other at different global forums. “The security of Chinese nationals is very important to us.”

He said the government "is taking all possible measures to ensure the security of the Chinese nationals" in the country.

To another question about the suicide attack on the Chinese nationals, Naqvi said that it was a planned attack.

“The government knows very well which forces want to create a law and order situation in the country.”

'Vehicle used in terror attack came from Afghanistan’  

For his part, Necta head Tahir Rai revealed that the explosive-laden vehicle that had hit the bus carrying the Chinese national was Japan-assembled and reached Pakistan via Afghanistan.

Giving details of the terror incident, Rai said the suicide bomber had targeted the bus when the driver slowed down the vehicle near a turn.

“The bust ploughed into a 150-feet deep ravine and subsequently caught fire due to the explosive material.”

A mobile phone having two SIMs had also recovered from the crime scene, he said, adding that one of the SIMs was issued in the name of Adil Shah resident of Mansehra and the other one in the name of Shafique Qureshi. “Adil Shah was in contact with a terrorist Hazrat Bilal.”

Both the suspects have been arrested by the authorities, said the Necta chief.

Giving further details, the Necta officer also said that Khan Lala and Qari Abdullah had purchased the vehicle for the terrorists in Afghanistan.

A car showroom owner, Imran Swati, received Rs260,000 to transport the vehicle to Pakistan.     

Rai said that 11 suspects have been arrested in this case so far.