Photo: Foreign Ministry of Pakistan

Pakistani minister: Taliban issued demarche over Chitral attack

Pakistan has issued a demarche to the Taliban authority in Islamabad over the Chitral attack that left several Pakistani soldiers dead and wounded earlier this week.

“Pakistan registered a strong protest over the incident, summoned the [Taliban] charge d’affaires in Islamabad yesterday, and handed over a protest note (demarche) to him,” The Pakistani Interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilan told the press on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants carried out intense attacks on military outposts in Kalash, situated in the northwestern region of Chitral, killing four Pakistani soldiers and wounding five others.

Pakistan said that the TTP militants had coordinated the attacks from Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nuristan provinces.

“It is the responsibility of the Afghan government that if attacks are occurring in Pakistan from their soil then it should stop them,” Jilan told reporters during the press, “So our expectation is that it suppresses all such elements, whether it is the TTP or others.”

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, also said on Monday that the Chitral attack was brought to the Taliban’s attention, indicating that TTP militants were armed with latest weapons.

Although Baloch did not blame anyone, she said that weapons left behind in Afghanistan during US and NATO withdrawal require global attention since they have fallen into the hands of terrorist groups.

Anwarul-Haq Kakar, Pakistan’s acting prime minister, had previously voiced concerns that the US equipment and weapons in Afghanistan was now empowering insurgents, posing serious security challenges for the region. 

However, John Kirby, the US National Security Council spokesperson, denied the charge.

Pakistan has consistently pressed the Taliban to rein in cross-border attacks.

Earlier Pakistan’s Army Chief, General Asim Munir, threatened the Taliban with an “effective response” if the group does not stop harboring militants who plot attacks in Pakistan.