Af-Pak border regions remain terrorists’ safe haven: US
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan is an under-governed area which hosts terrorist cells active in both countries, the US said here Friday in its annual report on terrorism.
In its report to the Congress, the State Department said Afghanistan has struggled to assert control over this remote terrain where the population is largely detached from national institutions.
Afghanistan generally cooperates with US counterterrorism efforts.
Since President Ashraf Ghani’s election, he has actively pursued cross-border security cooperation with the Pakistan, including the prospect of joint operations to reduce safe havens on both sides of the border, the report said.
Several terrorist networks active in Afghanistan, such as al-Qa’ida (AQ), the Haqqani Network, and others, operate largely out of Pakistan, the State Department said.
Al Qaeda has some freedom of movement in Kunar and Nuristan provinces largely due to a lack of Afghan National Security Forces’ capacity to control certain border territories in north and east Afghanistan. During 2014, the Afghan government continued to counter the Afghan Taliban and Taliban-affiliated insurgent networks with AQ connections, the State Department said.
The potential for WMD trafficking and proliferation remained a concern in Afghanistan because of its porous borders and the presence of terrorist groups, the report said. The US government worked with Afghanistan to implement comprehensive strategic trade controls and strengthen its border security system.
According to the report, Afghanistan continued to experience aggressive and coordinated attacks by the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network (HQN), and other insurgent and terrorist groups.
A number of these attacks were planned and launched from safe havens in Pakistan.
Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) provided security throughout most of Afghanistan as the transition to full Afghan leadership on security continued and U.S. and Coalition Forces (CF) continued to draw down during 2014.
The ANSF and CF, in partnership, took aggressive action against terrorist elements in Afghanistan, especially in Kabul, and in many of the eastern and northern provinces.
Pakistan continued to experience significant terrorist violence, including sectarian attacks.
The Pakistani military undertook operations against groups that conducted attacks within Pakistan such as TTP, but did not take action against other groups such as Lashkar e-Tayyiba, which continued to operate, train, rally, propagandize, and fundraise in Pakistan.
Afghan Taliban and HQN leadership continued to find safe haven in Pakistan, and although Pakistan military operations disrupted the actions of these groups, it did not directly target them.
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