From Lalit K Jha Washington, Jun 20: Significant parts of Pakistan along its border with Afghanistan, including Waziristan, Balochistan and FATA, continue to be a safe haven for terrorists, the US State Department said in a report today.
Portions of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and southwestern Balochistan province remained a safe haven for terrorist groups seeking to conduct domestic, regional, and global attacks, the State Department said in its annual report on terrorism.
Al-Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, and other terrorist groups, as well as the Afghan Taliban, took advantage of these safe havens to plan operations in Pakistan and throughout the region, the report said.
In 2014, Pakistan launched military operations in North Waziristan Agency and Khyber Agency to eliminate terrorist safe havens, destroy terrorist infrastructure, and disrupt terrorist communication networks, it said.
"The military operations had a significant impact on TTP safe havens, but some terrorist organisations in the region continued to operate, primarily along the border with Afghanistan," the State Department said.
Particularly since the start of comprehensive military operations in North Waziristan displaced militants into Afghanistan, Pakistan has sought improved coordination to address cross-border threats from TTP emanating from safe havens in Afghanistan, the report said.
The US and Pakistan regularly discussed counter-terrorism and border-control efforts to interdict terrorists, it said.
The 2013 trilateral border standard operating procedures between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) expired at the end of 2014. Pakistan and Afghanistan continued to negotiate a replacement bilateral agreement, it added. According to the report, the potential for WMD trafficking, proliferation, and terrorism remained a concern in Pakistan.
"Pakistan is a constructive and active participant in the Nuclear Security Summit process and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and has worked to strengthen its strategic trade controls," it said.
"The Export Control and Related Border Security Program increased the government of Pakistan's enforcement capacity by training Pakistani customs officials on international border interdiction techniques," the report said.