Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal claims that the country has killed more than 17,600 terrorists since the 9/11 terror attack. Faisal also disclosed that counter-terrorism operations had destroyed extremist training camps in the tribal regions that border Afghanistan as well as cleared an estimated 46,000km of land from the terrorists.
Faisal revealed that the counter-terrorism operation named Raddul-Fassad was launched by the Pakistan military in 2017 and killed many terrorists belonging to the hardline extremist groups Tehreek-i- Taiban Afghanistan (TTA) and the Haqqani Network (HN).
Some of the strategies employed against HN included identifying terrorist strongholds and camps in Waziristan, blocking transportation of medical supplies, disrupting funding sources and training camps.
Last January, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the United States would withhold foreign aid to Pakistan because of the country’s perceived “soft stance” versus terrorism. President Trump made the announcement through Twitter:
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than US$33 Billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
President Trump has asked Pakistan to take “more decisive action” against terror groups that have been suspected of housing operations on their soil. As outlined in President Trump’s National Security Strategy (NSS), Pakistan needs to intensify its counter-terrorism efforts and eliminate suspected terrorist sanctuaries to validate the “massive payments” the U.S. has made to them every year.
Faisal refuted Trump’s claim and said that Pakistan has continued to prevent TTA and HN groups from setting up operations on their country. According to Faisal, Pakistan has deployed more than 200,000 troops to fight the militants. Effective border management was one the military’s primary objectives.
“Large swathes of ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan are leaving a vacuum for safe havens and terrorists sanctuaries to flourish and launch attacks on Pakistan. Incidence of cross-border terrorist attacks from Afghanistan has increased since 2016 and peaked to 417 in 2017.”
Faisal confirmed that Pakistan has continued to share intelligence reports with more than 75,000 civilians, 6,000 soldiers while the economy has lost an estimated US$ 123 Billion in the “War on Terrorism”:
“We reject any allegation of support to the Haqqani network or the Taliban and of them using our soil. Pakistan has been taking action against all terrorist groups in its territory. It is our commitment to eradicate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”
Questions on Pakistan’s motives and commitment on the War on Terrorism reached a fever pitch when 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden was found to have established his base of operations in the country for a number of years.
U.S. Navy Seals killed Osama Bin Laden during a daring raid at his compound located at Abbottabad, Pakistan on 02 May 2011.