Pakistan asserts Taliban not operating from its soil

| Updated: Dec 23, 2016 16:00 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Dec 23 (ANI): Dubbing Pentagon's latest assessment that the Taliban and Haqqani network were freely operating from the country as a mere 'rhetoric', the Pakistan Foreign Office instead accused Afghanistan of being an epicentre of terrorism in the region. "This is more of rhetoric than anything else. Afghanistan is infested with most terrorist organisations due to the instability there, which has created space for these terrorist elements," the Dawn quoted Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Nafees Zakaria as saying. His remarks were in response to the recent biannual report of the US Department of Defence on security and stability situation in Afghanistan. The report said: "Afghan-oriented militant groups, including Taliban and Haqqani network's senior leadership, retain freedom of action from safe havens inside Pakistani territory. The United States continues to be clear with Pakistan about steps it should take to improve the security environment and deny safe havens to terrorist and extremist groups." Recalling the counterterrorism operations by Pakistani security force in tribal areas, he said the operations have restored peace there. He also acknowledged that a large number of terrorists had moved to Afghanistan after the start of the operations. The number of "senior commanders of Haqqani network, Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups killed in Afghanistan this year," he stressed, tells where the leadership of these organisations was currently based. Also, a senior FO official, in a testimony at the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee earlier in the week, had said that the Haqqani network and Taliban had been told to end violence in Afghanistan. (ANI)