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Afghanistan assures Pakistan of full support in NWA operation

19 June, 2014

ISLAMABAD: A top Afghan envoy is said to have assured Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif "full cooperation" from the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in ensuring effective border surveillance in the backdrop of the Pakistan Army's ongoing military operation against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in North Waziristan Agency.

In a rare visit to the General Headquarters (GHQ), Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Janan Mosazai met COAS General Raheel Sharif on Wednesday to discuss the relevant Pak-Afghan border issues involving Zarb-e-Azb operation. "The ongoing operation in North Waziristan Agency and matters of mutual interest, including measures to improve security along Pakistan Afghanistan border, were discussed," a brief statement from Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

The meeting was held hours after two US drone strikes in NWA targeted at least six militants in Dargah Mandi. Pakistan's Foreign Office condemned the drone hits. The number of drone strikes in the NWA in a week has now risen to four. Last Wednesday, the first two US drone strikes in the ongoing year had taken out at least 16 terror suspects in the NWA. On Wednesday, up to 16 militants were killed in the security forces action in Dandadarpakhel area of NWA, sources claimed.

The curfew hours in Mir Ali and Miranshah subdivisions of NWA were relaxed to allow maximum civilian displacement from NWA in three days from June 18-20. The security forces' siege around the two areas continues, officials said. Moreover, in the Wednesday meeting, according to military sources, the Afghan envoy was conveyed that Pakistan held serious reservations regarding the role of ANSF in the context of the ongoing operation Zarb-a-Azb.

Reportedly, the Afghan diplomat was informed that while there were adequate assurances from the NATO-led ISAF to assist Pakistan Army by means of taking on the TTP sanctuaries on the other side of the border, such kind of support and cooperation on part of the Afghan authorities, the officials believed, was lacking. Mosazai, the sources claimed, was also told that Pakistan Army had formally requested the Afghan authorities to cooperate for foolproof surveillance at Pak-Afghan border to block the way of runaway militants and to take on TTP sanctuaries in Khost, Nuristan and Kunar provinces.

In response, the Afghan envoy is said to have assured on part of the Afghan government that Kabul would extend "every possible assistance" to Pakistan to defeat the TTP militants in the ongoing offensive. Afghan Embassy spokesman Shams Zardasht, when called, was not available to comment on the issue. Meanwhile, the United Nations on Wednesday said the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of NWA needed shelter, access to health facilities and food.

End.

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