RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: The Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar has said that Pakistan army has secured the Pak-Afghan border and is keeping an eye on the situation inside Afghanistan.
In a media briefing held in Rawalpindi on Friday, he said that the situation on the Pak-Afghan international border is normal and under control. He said that there has been no major incident but we have taken maximum measures and moved our regular troops to the border to cope with any situation.
The director-general ISPR told that 90 percent work on fencing the 1,700-kilometer Pak-Afghan border has been completed while 50 percent of the Pak-Iran border has been fenced.
“Illegal movement across the border has been completely stopped,” he said assuring that the Pakistani side of the border is completely safe.
Major General Babar Iftikhar said that Pakistan believes that the Taliban in Afghanistan will take measures so that the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) may not able to operate against Pakistan or any other Country. He said that the Taliban leadership has conveyed that they will not let the Afghan soil be used against any other Country.
The DG ISPR said that the TTP has no organized infrastructure in Pakistan and that is why they are taking refuge in Afghanistan.
Major General Babar Iftikhar said that swift change occurred in Afghanistan after August 15 and we remain vigilant over possible adverse situation inside Afghanistan.
The director-general ISPR said that we also facilitated in the evacuation of foreigners from the neighboring Country.
The DG ISPR said that the Indian training to the Afghan forces and the provision of financial support to Afghanistan had one-point agenda to field the former Kabul regime against Pakistan.
The DG ISPR clarified that Pakistan is not helping or favoring the Taliban regime in Afghanistan; rather, it wants an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political settlement there. He said that we sacrificed over 85,000 Pakistanis to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Major General Babar Iftikhar further told that all legitimate checkpoints along the borders with Afghanistan are open for trade and travel.
The following are points of DG ISPR’s media briefing held on August 27, 2021;
▪️ Western Border
• Without going into the details of how the Afghan Peace Process unfolded in last 2 years – Most details well known.
• Strictly in mil context, situation on ground in Afghanistan changed rapidly – against all expectations.
• However, since withdrawal of International forces from Afghanistan was already decided, Pakistan security forces had taken all necessary safeguards to avoid spill over effects of ensuing instability in Afghanistan, especially border regions.
• No doubt that any situation in Afghanistan directly impacts Pakistan immediately.
• Preceding 15 Aug, in several instances the notified border xings were closed and reopened as sit fluctuated.
• On different occasions 94 Afghan soldiers crossed over into Pakistan for safe passage – granted.
• Regular troops were deployed at almost all notified xings for better management and control of movement.
• Total Crossings – 78
Notified – 17
Trade Open on – 5
Sealed – 73
▪️ Post 15 Aug
• Terminals / Xings kept opened on humanitarian ground.
(Ghulam Khan, Angoor Adda, Torkham, Karlachi, Chamman, Badini)
• Trade continue.
• Biggest base in the region for evacuation of foreigners from Afghanistan.
• Apart from international organisations & media (World Food Programme, World Bank) 5538 Foreign Nationals from 24 countries have been facilitated.
▪️ As we spk
• Regular move on all notified xings.
• Situation normal despite challenges without any untoward incident at the border or inside country.
• Evacuation flights continuously landing in Pakistan.
• 113 Flights landed at Islamabad since 15 Aug.
▪️ Pakistan’s Efforts to Improve Security Envmt – Pak-Afg Bdr – Recent Past and Brief Hist Context
• The only country beside Afghanistan, Victim of Afghan conflict is Pakistan.
• Over 86000 lives and economic losses worth of 152 billion dollars in war against terrorism – still counting.
▪️ Let me just dilate on how the Pak Armed Forces coped with this challenge in last two decades and continuously invested in improving the security along Pak-Afg Bdr:-
• Massive IS challenges & deployment – 90 Maj incident per year at the peak (2013) reduced to only 13 in 2020.
• 12312 Cease Fire Violations on Line of Control between 2014-2020. (BJP Govt)
• 1237 Maj / Minor military operations in last 20 years – cleared 46000 sq kms territory from terrorists.
• Lost Pols, Soldiers / Gens, Artists, Women, Children, Journalists in hundreds.
• Support by the nation, our Armed forces and Law Enforcement Agencies overcame challenges and turned the tide.
▪️ As soon as we were able to establish normalcy, especially in the western zone, started border management initiative – massive undertaking.
▪️ No Coord Mech on Pak-Afg Bdr Before 2012
• Tripartite Border SOP (TBS) – 2014
• Bilateral Border SOP (BBS) – 2014
• Bilateral Military Coordination SOP (BMCS) – 2015
• Afg-Pak Action Plan for Peace & Stability (APAPPS) – 2018
▪️ Mil Asst Offered / Given
• Maximum efforts made to improve military to military coordination with ANA/ANDSF
• High level visits conducted on both sides including 4x COAS visits.
• Offered mechanism for intelligence sharing.
• Offered training to Afghan officers and soldiers in Pakistan training institutions. (only 6 Afghan cadets trained at PMA) – Hundreds went to India for training and thousands were trained by Indians in Afghanistan.
• Afghan COAS invited as chief guest PMA. (18 Apr 2015)
• Offered Training & equipping a Brigade size force on Gratis bases- COAS.
• GLOCs for US / NATO troops facilitation.
• How was this reciprocated by Afghan?
▪️ Stated all the time – Pak’s peace is directly proportional to Afg’s peace.
• Peace in Pakistan is directly linked with peace in Afghanistan. Internal security of Afghanistan directly affects security and stability of Pakistan.
• Pakistan has made utmost efforts towards a peaceful and strong Afghanistan. Pakistan’s facilitative role in Afghan peace process has been appreciated by the world.
▪️ Capacity Building on Our Side
• COAS since his first visit to Afghanistan in 2017 has consistently been endeavouring for negotiating peace process in Afghanistan for which he has visited Afghanistan four times.
• Pakistan has repeatedly cautioned the world about negative role played by spoilers of peace in Afghanistan who for vested interests have been fomenting unrest in Afghanistan.
• Pakistan has remained supportive of a graduated and responsible withdrawal to avoid any negative spillover effects on security and stability of Afghanistan.
• Pakistan has been supportive of peace and stability in Afghanistan so terrorists are denied any freedom of action.
• To ensure long-term security of Pakistan, military leadership decided to fence Pak Afghan Border.
• In line with COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s vision of securing western borders, a comprehensive strategy to manage western borders was formulated since 2017. As per this strategy, work on various important projects was initiated to enforce a comprehensive border management regime.
• I will just mention some key steps taken in this regard:-
• Capacity building of FC was given special attention and more than 60 new wings were raised.
• Border control mechanism has been technologically upgraded include surveillance & biometrics.
• Construct of hundreds of border forts and new posts along the 2611 Km long Pak-Afg border.
▪️ Border Fence
• Alhumdolliah, more than 90% of fencing on PAB has been completed. For this landmark project to complete many Pak Army jawans have sacrificed their lives for the motherland.
• Working is also in progress on the Pak Iran Border.
• On Pak Afghan Border 1238 border posts / forts exist whereas on Afghan side only 377 posts have been established.
• Pakistan has maximum stakes in Afghanistan stability and it is Pakistan which has contributed the maximum in this regard also.
• Pakistan has defeated terrorism to a great extent with astute strategy, national resolve and immense sacrifices.
• After two decades we can say that we have fought-off this menace as one nation. Operation Sherdil, Operation Al- Mizan, Operation Rah-e-Rast, Rah-e-Nijat, Zarb-e-Azb, Khyber Operations, Operation Dawatoi; North Waziristan, & the country-wide Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad; is an epitome of insurmountable spirit, supreme sacrifices + Whole of nation efforts.
• Pakistan Armed Forces are rendering numerous sacrifices for security of CPEC and related projects.
• Roads / and highways constructed under CPEC in far flung areas of Bln have helped in enhancing eco and trade activities.
• Investigations of recent terrorist’s incidents at Dasu, Lhr, Qta & Gwadar reveal that these were planned & executed from Afghanistan with collaboration of NDS & RAW.
• No cease fire violations have taken place on LOC since Feb 2021 after DGsMO hotline contact that was done in line with 2003 Ceasefire Agreement.
▪️ IS Situation
• During Muharram-Ul-Haraam, with support from civ adm, Armed Forces and LEAs ensured peace and security.
▪️ Dividends of Peace
• Due to improved security situation, socio-economic uplift of Balochistan & KP is underway.
• Pak Army assisting Federal / Provincial Government in development of these areas.
• 199 developmental projects worth 601 Billion rupees are in progress in Balochistan under the Government of Pakistan Vision Balochistan – 2030.
• 831 developmental projects worth 31 Billion rupees are in progress in the tribal districts of KP.
▪️ Some questions that we need to find answers to
• What has been India’s role as spoiler in the Afg conundrum?
• Reasons for Afg mil meltdown?
• Our apprehensions?
• Why terrorism incidents inc?
▪️ 6 Sep – Defence & Martyr’s Day
• Defence and Martyr’s Day will be commemorated nation-wide with traditional zeal and fervour on 6th of Sep 2021.
• September is the month to pay tribute and homage to our valiant soldiers, martyrs and all those who are associated with them.
• The theme of Defence and Martyrs Day – 2021 is ‘WATAN KI MATTI GAWAH REHNA’.
• The ceremony will be held at GHQ in the evening of 6 Sep in which our Ghazis and relatives of the Martyrs of Pakistan will participate.
• Adherence to all the COVID-19 SOPs will be ensured during the ceremony.
• Great nations always remember their martyrs and heroes.
• Outreach campaign will commence from 1 Sep 21.
• I request the whole nation to visit the families of our martyrs in their respective areas, pay tribute to them and acknowledge sacrifice of their families for the country.