Pakistan says TTP could soon pose global terrorist threat; urges UN to investigate source of financing

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Pakistan has urged the United Nations to investigate the sources of financing of the banned outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and how they acquired advanced military equipment, stressing that they could soon pose a global terrorist threat, The Express Tribune reported.

Speaking at the UN Security Council on Afghanistan, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN in New York Ambassador Munir Akram also urged the UN Security Council to join Islamabad in its demand from the interim Afghan government to sever its ties with the banned TTP.

“I am confident that this Council will join Pakistan in demanding that the AIG terminates its relationship with the TTP and its affiliates and prevents them from having free rein to conduct cross-border attacks against Pakistan or other neighbours,” Ambassador Munir said.

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Further, he warned that if left unchecked, the TTP, supported by Al-Qaeda and some state sponsors, could soon pose a global terrorist threat, according to The Express Tribune. “The UNAMA mandate does not cover issues relating to terrorism. Yet, terrorism, within and from Afghanistan, poses the most serious impediment to normalization in Afghanistan,” he said.

Further, he stated that the terrorist organisations pose a security threat to each one of Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours. “Counterterrorism must be the highest priority in any future Road Map for engagement with the Afghan Interim Government,” he said.

Meanwhile, many countries including the US, China, Russia, the UK and India, participated in the debate. Reportedly, China and Russia favoured continued dialogue with the Afghan Taliban and release of frozen funds and the lifting of sanctions on the Taliban leadership.

Moreover, the Pakistan envoy stressed that despite concerns, Pakistan continued to provide the principal avenue for humanitarian help, trade and development for Afghan people, The Express Tribune reported. “We will continue to offer this support. The destinies of Pakistan and Afghanistan are intertwined. Peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan are an imperative for Pakistan,” he added.

Further, he said that Pakistan has sheltered almost five million Afghan refugees for over 40 years at great economic, social and security costs, with little help from the international community. “It is untrue to assert that there were “large scale forced returns of undocumented Afghans from Pakistan” or that there was “large scale return of refugees from Pakistan,” Munir said.

He added that the Afghans were not forced to leave, emphasising that 98 per cent of them returned voluntarily, whereas, two per cent included people who were involved in terrorism, drug smuggling and other crimes.

“In fact, after Pakistan declared the intention to apply its laws regarding the presence of illegal and undocumented aliens on our territory, about 500,000 undocumented Afghans chose to return to Afghanistan. They were not forced. 98 per cent of these returns were voluntary in nature. The 2 per cent who were deported included people who were involved in terrorism, drug smuggling and other crimes, or were convicted prisoners who had completed their jail terms,” he said.

Pakistan envoy Munir also said that today, over one million undocumented Afghans remain in Pakistan. “Even today, over one million undocumented Afghans remain in Pakistan. They should return forthwith. We have made several exceptions for those with Afghan ID cards, POR cards, for those who may be “vulnerable” if they return, and for the over 60,000 Afghans whom third countries have offered to receive but have not done so for over two years,” he added.

“We would expect the UN to call on the Afghan Interim Government to prevent such cross-border attacks and infiltration by the TTP and other terrorists into Pakistani territory,” he urged during the session, reported The Express Tribune. He further noted that these groups include Daesh, Al Qaeda and particularly the TTP and its affiliates, who are responsible for persistent attacks against Pakistan’s military and civilian targets.