Islamabad, February 18 (PTI): Pakistan has reportedly launched “strikes” against militant bases in Afghanistan, hours after the army said it has found links that terrorists from across the border were behind a suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine that killed 88 people.
The army yesterday summoned Afghan diplomats and handed them a list of 76 militants who, they say, were supporting terrorist activities in Pakistan. The move came after 88 people died in a suicide bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in southern Sindh province on Friday night.
Immediately after the bombing, Pakistan claimed the attack was planned in militant sanctuaries in Afghanistan, in remarks that can renew hostility between Kabul and Islamabad.
Geo TV, quoting military sources, reported that the strikes were launched last night. But there have been no official word on the strikes, which, if confirmed, would be the first such operation on Afghan soil by the Pakistan Army.
The report said four camps of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar terror group were targeted in the strikes across the border of Pakistan’s Khyber and Mohmand tribal agencies. Some reports said several militants, including the deputy commander of Jamat-ul Ahrar, Adil Bacha, were killed in the strikes.
The report quoted the Afghan media reporting that the Pakistani ambassador in Afghanistan has been summoned by the Afghan government over recent shelling in eastern part of the country.
Pakistan has often warned Afghan authorities to prevent the use of their soil for terror activities in Pakistan.
Yesterday, Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa told Gen John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, during a telephonic conversation that terrorist activities and inaction against militants in Afghanistan were “testing our current policy of cross-border restraint”.
Pakistan Army has launched “intelligence-based operations” combing operations across the country and claimed it has killed “100 terrorists” since the attack on the shrine.
The army has so far provided no details of how and under what circumstances the militants were killed. In a statement yesterday, it claimed it has found linkages to militant support networks operating from Afghanistan and it has closed the border due to security reasons after the shrine bombing.
(The featured picture shows troops at the Sufi Lal Shabaz Qalandar shrine in Sindh where an IS attack had claimed 88 worshipers )