The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) director general has said Islamic State militants operating from Afghanistan were responsible for the recent terrorist attack in Parachinar.
“These militants were pushed out of Pakistan in a successful military operation but they found refuge in areas across the border close to Khyber and Kurrum agencies,” Major General Asif Ghafoor told Express News.
“This concentration and contiguity [of terrorists] near the border allowed them to make Parachinar their soft target,” he added.
Hundreds of protesters in Parachinar on Friday ended their eight-day long sit-in after army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa assured them of better security, according to protest leaders and the military.
The protesters were staging a peaceful sit-in following two blasts at a market in the town on June 23 that killed at least 72 people and injured several others — the latest in a series of attacks that have targeted hundreds in the Kurram Agency.
“Islamic State militants,” the ISPR DG added, “are gaining strength in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nooristan because of the absence of Afghan troops on the border.”
The militants, he continued, were attempting to exploit a sectarian fault-line, which was also evident in the Middle East and elsewhere.
He reiterated that the Islamic State had not been allowed to gain foothold in Pakistan and there was no organised presence of the terrorist organisation in the country.
“The fencing of the porous and difficult 2,600-km long Pak-Afghan border has already started and additional troops of the Frontier Corps have been deployed,” Maj Gen Ghafoor said.
“This is in addition to establishing posts and forts to improve border management and security.”
However, he added, this border security and management was still almost unilateral. “There are loopholes on the Afghan side.”