WASHINGTON: Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asim Bajwa on Sunday urged Afghan authorities to implement “strict surveillance” along the Pak-Afghan border to prevent terrorists from “escaping”.
“We had preempted that terrorists could flee to Afghanistan to avoid operation Zarb-i-Azb,” he said, stressing that Pakistan has always extended full support for peace in Afghanistan, and will continue to do so “with utmost sincerity”.
Addressing media in Washington ahead of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif’s forthcoming visit to the US, he said that the security situation on both sides of the border has improved due to Operation Zarb-i-Azb.
He said General Raheel Sharif’s visit to the United States held “great importance” in the changing regional situation and urged Afghanistan to take effective measures to prevent terrorists from fleeing.
COAS General Raheel Shareef left for the United States earlier in the day for a five-day visit, in which he will hold meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry, along with other civil and military leadership.
The visit — apparently instigated by General Raheel Sharif — comes weeks after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with US President Barack Obama at the Oval Office to discuss many of the same issues said to be on his army chief’s agenda, including Afghan peace talks and Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions.
Stability in Pakistan’s neighbour Afghanistan has spiralled after a Taliban surge in recent months, and Obama announced in October that Washington will keep thousands of soldiers in the country past 2016.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have accused each other of harbouring extremists on their lands, blaming the other for not doing enough to prevent acts of terrorism on both sides of the border.