Pakistan launched cross-border attacks into Afghanistan

ALJAZEERA

NEGATIVE
Taliban claims to have fired across border following air raids targeting Pakistani Taliban.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan has launched overnight air attacks inside Afghanistan, while the Taliban claimed hours later to have fired across the border.
Pakistan said the attack had targeted armed groups hiding out in border regions.
The Afghan defence ministry claimed later on Monday to have fired across the border at Pakistan positions.
Islamabad claims that hostile armed groups carry out regular attacks from across the border.
In response, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif repeated the claim that armed groups are using Afghan soil from which to launch terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.
“We reject the presence of any … foreign groups in Afghanistan and they are not allowed to operate on Afghan soil.
Most attacks targeted the western provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, which border Afghanistan.
It has also been noted that the sharp response of Pakistan against targets in Afghanistan is similar in nature to its reaction to January’s cross-border attacks by Iran.
However, Rana suggests that the possibility of retaliatory attacks on targets in Pakistan following Monday’s air raids cannot be dismissed.

After airstrikes targeting Pakistani Taliban, the Taliban claims to have fired across the border.

Islamabad, Pakistan: The Taliban claimed to have fired across the border hours after Pakistan launched airstrikes inside Afghanistan during the course of the previous night.

After the raids during the night, tensions between Islamabad and Kabul erupted on Monday. Pakistan said that armed groups positioned in border regions were the target of the attack. Eight women and children, according to the Taliban, were slain.

Afterwards on Monday, the Afghan Defense Ministry said that it had fired across the border at positions in Pakistan. Concerning the allegation, Islamabad has not yet responded.

The retaliatory attacks against the hideouts of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistani Taliban, were carried out in response to “terrorist activities being sponsored and conducted from across border,” as confirmed by sources from the Pakistani military and foreign ministry, which spoke with Al Jazeera.

They provided limited information. However, seven soldiers were killed on Saturday when a group of suicide bombers attacked a military checkpoint in Pakistan’s North Waziristan district in the neighboring province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The houses of “ordinary people” in the provinces of Paktika and Khost were struck by Pakistani jets, according to the interim Afghan government. It was reported that a minimum of eight individuals were slain, comprising three children and five women.

Government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid stated that the person Pakistan claimed to have targeted is still living in Pakistan in a statement released on X.

He added that Kabul “strongly condemns” the “reckless action,” which violates Afghan territory.

According to the post, “No one is allowed to invade the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which has a long experience of freedom struggle against the world’s superpowers.”.

په افغانستان باند\ د پاکستاني الوتکو د تجاوز په اړه د اسلامي امارت د ویاند څرګندون\ — Zabihullah (. March 18, 2024 ذبــــٌح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33).

Pakistan and Afghanistan have experienced increased tension ever since the Taliban government took over in 2021. Based on reports from across the border, Islamabad says that hostile armed groups regularly launch attacks.

In April 2022, Afghanistan reported that 47 people had died as a result of airstrikes by Pakistan in the country’s east.

Experts speculate that Monday’s attack may be connected to the suicide assault that occurred two days prior. The assault was claimed by Jaish-e-Fursan-e-Muhammad, a recently established organization headed by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the head of a Pakistani Taliban faction with headquarters in North Waziristan Province.

The accusation that armed groups are launching terrorist attacks inside Pakistan from Afghan soil was reiterated by Pakistan’s Defense Minister, Khawaja Asif, in response.

He declared on Sunday that “terrorism against us is mostly being conducted from Afghanistan.”.

The Afghan Taliban have flatly refuted this accusation time and again.

Foreign groups are not welcome in Afghanistan and are not permitted to conduct business there. We’ve done everything we can to help in this regard, and we will keep trying, but we have to acknowledge that Afghanistan and Pakistan share a very large border and that there are areas with harsh terrain, such as mountains and forests, and areas that may be beyond our control,” Mujahid retorted.

A cruel year.

Pakistan experienced a bloody year last year, with over 650 attacks reported nationwide that claimed nearly 1,000 lives, the majority of them were security personnel.

The majority of the attacks were directed towards the Afghan bordering western provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Though many armed groups have carried out violent acts in Pakistan, the TTP, which shares ideological ties with the Afghan Taliban, has been the state’s principal enemy.

Numerous civilians and law enforcement officials have been killed by the TTP since its founding in Pakistan in 2007.

The group wants Pakistan to reverse its decision to combine their tribal areas with the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and to impose their strict interpretation of Islamic law.

According to Abdul Sayed, a researcher on armed groups in South and Central Asia based in Sweden, Pakistan’s airstrikes on Monday seem to be a reaction to the suicide attack that occurred two days earlier.

The attack in North Waziristan, which involved a truck bomb and six suicide bombers, was reportedly very large. Top Pakistani officials, including the army chief and president, attended the funerals, which raised the possibility of future cross-border operations by Pakistan, he told Al Jazeera.

Ramadan attacks by the TTP and other armed groups are common, according to Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS) and a security analyst based in Islamabad.

In response to any threats, the state institutions now respond tit-for-tat. There have been reports of Taliban members participating in attacks in Pakistan, and the group is known to have support from the TTP,” he told Al Jazeera.

It has also been observed that Pakistan’s retaliatory strike against targets in Afghanistan bears resemblance to its response to Iran’s cross-border attacks in January.

Rana, though, says it’s not impossible to rule out the chance of reprisals after Monday’s airstrikes against targets in Pakistan.

“Tense relations between the two nations are likely to worsen in the upcoming weeks unless diplomatic channels are opened,” the advisor warned.

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