| Welcome to Global Village Space

Friday, June 28, 2024

Azm-e-Istehkam to Also Target Terrorists Inside Afghanistan: Defence Minister

Operation Azm-e-Istehkam, announced by Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, aims to combat terrorism and ensure national security, with potential targeting of terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan, emphasizing political consensus and collaboration.

Pakistan’s Defence Minister, Khawaja Asif, announced on Thursday that “Operation Azm-e-Istehkam” might include targeting terrorist hideouts across the border in Afghanistan. This initiative is not a hasty decision but a necessary step to combat terrorism and ensure national security. Asif emphasized the operation’s importance, noting that it aims to dismantle terrorist networks that have threatened the stability of Pakistan.

Political Consensus and Collaboration

Asif assured that the government is open to addressing concerns raised by political parties, aiming for transparency and collaboration. He highlighted that the government would bring the matter to the assembly for discussion, building trust among members. The Defence Minister firmly rejected any possibility of negotiations with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), questioning the effectiveness of the previous PTI government’s reintegration program for TTP militants.

Read More: Gov. to File New Cases to Delay Imran Khan’s Release: Sanaullah

In an interview with Voice of America, Asif highlighted the need for political consensus to ensure the operation’s success. He mentioned that the Chief Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Ali Amin Gandapur, has not opposed the operation, emphasizing that the decision was driven by economic difficulties and the necessity to target TTP hideouts. Asif justified targeting terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan, arguing it does not violate international laws as terrorism is being exported to Pakistan from there.

National Action Plan Review

Last week, the Apex Committee of the National Action Plan (NAP), chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, approved the launch of “Operation Azm-e-Istehkam” to eliminate terrorism and extremism across the country. The decision was taken with a consensus of all stakeholders, including provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, symbolizing a national resolve to eradicate extremism and terrorism. The forum reviewed the ongoing counter-terrorism campaign, assessing the internal security situation, and scrutinized the progress on the multi-domain tenets of the NAP.

The operation will integrate and synergize multiple lines of effort to combat extremism and terrorism comprehensively and decisively. Asif noted that the operation has been approved by the cabinet and discussions could take place in the assembly or an all-parties conference. He expressed a desire to engage with the opposition and all political parties to ensure the operation’s success. Asif stated, “Nothing is more important than the country’s integrity,” underlining the operation’s significance.

Operational and Diplomatic Efforts

In the politico-diplomatic domain, efforts will be intensified to curtail the operational space for terrorists through regional cooperation. The Defence Minister highlighted the success of previous operations against terrorism, crediting the Pakistan Armed Forces as the key stakeholders.

However, he criticized successive civilian governments for failing to adequately support the efforts after operations were concluded. The operation aims to address these shortcomings and establish a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy founded on complete national consensus and system-wide synergy.

Operation Azm-e-Istehkam represents a critical step in Pakistan’s ongoing fight against terrorism. By addressing political sensitivities, ensuring transparency, and fostering collaboration among all political parties, the operation seeks to dismantle terrorist networks and restore stability. As Pakistan navigates these challenges, the success of this operation will depend on the unified efforts of all stakeholders, reaffirming the nation’s commitment to security and peace.