By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Government forces in border areas of the country said foreign fighters, particularly Pakistani citizens, are fighting against them with the Taliban, adding that they have found many dead fighters with Pakistani identity cards.
In July, a report submitted to the United Nations Security Council indicates that the total number of “Pakistani foreign terrorist fighters” in Afghanistan is estimated at “between 6,000 and 6,500, most of them with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).’ But the Taliban rejected the presence of Pakistani nationals among their fighters.
“Dozens of terrorist groups are helping the fighters and have a presence in their lines,” said Asadullah Khalid, the acting minister of defense.
“Terrorist groups either from Afghanistan, or Pakistan and Central Asia are active in different parts (of Afghanistan) and the Taliban has provided an umbrella for their activities,” said Massoud Andarabi, the acting minister of interior affairs.
“Fighters with Pakistani identity cards have been arrested in our operations in Maiwand, Maroof and Spin Boldak districts of Kandahar,” said Jamal Barikzai, spokesman for Kandahar police.
The Afghan government said the Pakistani fighters are mostly active in the border provinces of Kunar, Nangarhar, Kandahar and Helmand.
The fighters are active in Dangam and Marawara districts in Kunar, Nazian and Khogyani districts in Nangarhar, Maiwand, Maroof and Spin Boldak districts of Kandahar and Musa Qala and Sangin districts of Helmand. An army commander said Pakistanis are also helping the Taliban in their equipment and financing.
“It is clear that foreign countries have a hand in this, and they are supported and equipped by them and we confirm this,” said Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, commander of the Afghan army’s 215 Maiwand Corps.
Local officials also confirmed the presence of foreign fighters, particularly Pakistanis, in eastern parts of the country.
“Unfortunately, they have activities in Nazian and Khogyani (districts) and their bodies have been found in those areas,” said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for Nangarhar’s governor, as quoted by a Tolonews report.
“Recently, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is a group made by Pakistan’s intelligence, have movements in bordering areas of Kunar. They planned an offensive in Marawara district along with the Taliban two days ago,” said Mohammad Yusuf Mazloomyar, the Kunar police chief.