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Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Stresses Repatriation of Afghan Refugees

(Last Updated On: February 19, 2018)

Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has stressed that repatriation Afghan refugees can improve the security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Addressing the Munich Security conference, Gen. Bajwa has declared that Afghan refugees’ repatriation is the key to eradication of terrorism from the region.

“Today I can say with pride and conviction that there are no organized camps on our side of the border. However, the presence of terrorists of various hues and colors cannot be ruled out.

“We still have their active and sleeper cells and they are hiding in mountains, border towns, and 54 refugee camps, besides some major town and cities,” said General Qamar said.

According to the Gen. Bajwa, Pakistan still hosts nearly 2.7 million Afghan refugees “whose concentration is regularly used by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Haqqani network to recruit, morph and melt”.

“It is time for these refugees to be repatriated with dignity. It is the only way we can ensure that no one is misusing our hospitality and soil for mischief in Afghanistan. This is possible at the fraction of the cost of the war in Afghanistan which is around $46 billion per year currently,” he added.

While refusing to blame the Kabul administration, General Qamar said of the last 130 terrorist attacks in Pakistan’s border areas last year, 123 were conceived, planned and executed from Afghanistan.

“We understand their [Kabul’s] predicament and therefore we do not blame them, but instability in Afghanistan is also hurting us badly. And it is happening despite the presence of the most powerful alliance in Kabul,” he said.

However, the Afghan government called Pakistan’s claims baseless, saying all the terrorists are fighting in Afghanistan with the support of Pakistan.

“He (Gen. Bajwa) completely denies that there are no terrorists in Pakistan and they organize their attacks from Afghanistan. I wish Pakistan stop supporting terrorism. It will be in the interest of both Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said Dawlat Waziri, spokesman of the Ministry of Defense.

The deputy spokesman of the Ministry of Interior also said, “We have always called on the International Community, particularly the United States to target terrorist groups that are in Pakistan to reduce war in Afghanistan.”

While the Afghan government considers Pakistan the only hope for the end of violence in the country, it always accused Islamabad of supporting and sponsoring terrorism.

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