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Pakistani forces pound terrorist camps in Afghanistan

Islamabad, Feb 18: Pakistani security forces on Friday night pounded the camps of Jamaat-ul Ahrar terrorist group in Afghanistan, destroying four hideouts and a training compound, sources said on Saturday. The strikes came hours after Afghan Embassy officials were summoned to the Pakistan Army’s Headquarters in Rawalpindi, and handed over a list of 76 terrorists hiding in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military or government have so far not confirmed the development, but informed sources said the army targeted Jamaat-ul Ahrar sanctuaries across the border of Khyber and Mohmand agencies, The News Intertiol reported.

Pakistan has blamed Jamaat-ul Ahrar for Thursday’s attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalander in Sehwan town of Sindh province in which at least 83 persons were killed and nearly 250 injured. According to The News Intertiol, the camps were situated on the Afghan side of the porous border. According to sources, several militants including the deputy commander of the group, Adil Bacha, were killed in the strikes.

Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa earlier on Friday in a conversation over phone with US General John Nicholson, Commander of Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan, conveyed his concerns over continued acts of terrorism in Pakistan from Afghan soil. “Most of the incidents in Pakistan are claimed by terrorist organisations in Afghanistan,” an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement quoted Bajwa as telling Nicholson. “Such terrorist activities and iction against them are testing our current policy of cross-border restraint,” Bajwa said.

The US General expressed condolences over loss of lives in recent terrorist incidents and assured full assistance from the Afghan side. Meanwhile, the security forces have launched full-scale crackdown against terrorists after the recent spate of terror attacks killed over 100 persons within a week across Pakistan. The security forces have elimited over 100 terrorists across the country since Thursday night. Pakistan has also closed the Torkham border and other crossing points with Afghanistan due to security concerns.

“Responding to the terrorists activities across Pakistan, we have launched attacks to target militants’ sanctuaries near the Afghan border,” an official said requesting anonymity. He said the security forces used heavy weapons and mortar shells to hit several training centres of Omar Khalid Khorasani, the head of the Jamaat-ul Ahrar group operating in Afghanistan. Another official said the forces had decided to conduct military operations against various militants’ hideouts near the border with Afghanistan. He said people living near Landikotal in Khyber Agency have been asked to vacate their houses to avoid collateral damage. (IANS)