‘Our soil is not used for carrying out terrorist attacks,’ Pakistan PM claims

While deflecting blame for last week’s suicide attack in the Indian state of Kashmir that killed dozens of Indian soliders, Pakistan’s prime minister denied that his country is harboring terrorist groups. His denial is strikingly similar to the Taliban’s claim that it does not permit Afghan territory to be used as a launching pad to strike at other countries.

Prime Minister Imran Khan made the statement in a message which addressed the Feb. 14 suicide attack in the city of Pulwama. Jaish-e-Mohammad, a terrorist group supported by the Pakistan state and military, claimed credit for the attack, which killed more than 40 soldiers.

“We believe that it is in our interest that our soil is not used for carrying out terrorist attacks in other countries, nor do we want outsiders to come and carry out terror attacks here. We desire stability,” Khan claimed, according to Dawn.

“If someone is using Pakistan’s soil [to carry out terror attacks elsewhere], it is [akin to] enmity with us. It is against our interests,” Khan continued.

Khan then demanded the Indian government provide evidence of Pakistani collusion in the attack and offered to conduct a joint investigation. The Pakistani government has made similar offers after Pakistan-based terrorist groups launched major attacks inside India. The most egregious example is after the coordinated suicide assault on the city of Mumbai in Nov. 2008 that killed more than 160 people. Pakistan refused to take action against Lashkar-e-Taiba, Pakistan’s premier proxy terrorist organization.

Pakistan remains a hub for terrorist groups

Khan’s denial is nothing new for Pakistan. After President Trump called out Pakistan for its harboring of terrorist groups in Aug. 2017, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs took umbrage. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that “Pakistan does not allow use of its territory against any country,” and denounced the so-called “false narrative of safe havens.”

Yet Pakistan’s continual support for terrorist groups is an established fact. Terrorist outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harakat-ul-Muhahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen, and Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami were created with the support of Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate and continue to operate inside Pakistan with the assistance of the government to this day (see map above for a sampling of the most important groups).

Pakistan helped create these outfits with the idea that they would focus their activities against Indian forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir to help bring down the country’s most critical enemy, India. But they quickly integrated with the jihadist syndicate that supports both al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. This terrorist syndicate also supports the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, which routinely kills Pakistani soldiers and civilians.

The US government continually calls out Pakistan for harboring terror organizations. In its latest Country Reports on Terrorism, the US State Department noted that terrorist attacks in Afghanistan by the Taliban continue to be “planned and launched from safe havens in Pakistan.”

Pakistan lies like the Taliban

Khan’s claim that “our [Pakistani] soil is not used for carrying out terrorist attacks in other countries” is remarkably similar, if not identical to the Afghan Taliban’s false assurances that it won’t allow its territory to be used by terror groups.

The Taliban has claimed since the 1990s that this is the case. Most recently, in its latest statement on the summit in Moscow, the Taliban stated “we do not allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against other countries including neighboring countries.” [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Taliban continues to host foreign terrorist groups, despite assurances to the contrary for more details.]

The Taliban is making this assurance in an attempt to give the United States cover so it can withdrawal its forces from Afghanistan. However, the Taliban’s claim is undeniably false. Details of US raids against al Qaeda and a host of terror groups that conduct attacks in the region, as well as martyrdom statements from these organizations, prove that they continue to operate inside Afghanistan to this day (see map below)

The Afghan Taliban is backed by the Pakistani government, military, and intelligence services, so it is unsurprising that the two share the same language when denying their undeniable complicity in backing terror groups.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Paddy Singh says:

    This man is a first class idiot. How he had the brains to reach where he did in cricket beats one. But leader after leader has said the same thing, the ISI of Pakistan has been ravaged and made rabid by Zia, who should have been a cleric rather than a general and the same rogues that Imran Khan denies are on his soil, slowly throttle the nation that trusted him to govern.

  • Dominic Chan says:

    Constant denial even after independence. This has always been how Pakistan conduct its check and balances even during the days of the British Raj. The BJP will be resorting to a bombardment soon.

  • S R says:

    I don’t understand why if Pakistan supports the Taliban, it doesn’t stop allowing NATO to use Pakistan as a supply route for NATO’s mission in Afghanistan? If Pakistan stopped allowing NATO to use Pakistan as a supply route for NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, NATO would get into big trouble and it would be a big boost for the Taliban.

    In fact, the TTP was created in 2006 in response to Pakistan continuing to allow NATO to use Pakistan as a transit and supply route for NATO’s mission in Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban has criticized Pakistan for this “betrayal” and that is why the TTP call Pakistan “murtad”.

  • Conrad vonBlankenburg says:

    Oh OK!

  • JB Shreve says:

    Excellent and timely article. I note that last week, in the span of three days Feb 13-15, three terrorist attacks from groups harbored or based in Pakistan struck at Kashmir, Iran and Afghanistan.

  • arvind says:

    I like your reports on the issue of terrorism in this part of the region. They are accurate, objective and always give the right perspective. I sincerely hope that based on your reports President Trump reconsiders his plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. Despite billions of dollars of economic and defense aid Pakistan has repeatedly ignored America’s request to stop supporting terror groups. This in contrast to what Islamabad did to China-centric Jihadist groups under the garb of Zarb e Azb. Sanctions can do only so much, drones have proved effective but effective enough to make Pakistan stop using terrorism as an instrument of state policy. World, including China and Saudi Arabia, need to acknowledge the dangers a nuclear armed Pakistan with its Jihadist mentality presents to the world peace.

  • Mast Shpoon says:

    An excellent and factual report. Imran Khan’s brain has left him, unfortunately. May I remind him that Osama Bin Ladin was found & killed by the Americans in his safe haven protected by the Pakistani army in Pakistan.

  • KW Greenwood says:

    Pakistan logic 101 ?

  • pre-Boomer Marine brat says:

    And in other news today, DAWN announces that the Punjab gov’t has taken (cough) “administrative control” of the Bahawalpur which is the JeM’s headquarters.

    If Khan is correct, then that action is unconscionably uncalled for.

    If he’s lying his *ss off … … …

  • James says:

    It’s time for US to work as a team with India on this matter. In fact it has been too long overdue.

  • John says:

    Hilariously, the Pakistani government (ISI) has always supported Jihadis, even after Bush said “you’re with us or against us”. They took US dollars, but quickly funneled that into weapons, training, and ammunition to use against US forces. Everybody knows it, but nobody wants to do anything about it. If the US government wanted to win, it would have been done years ago, and Pakistan would be a burning hole in the ground like it should be. The US should have encouraged and supported India in 2001 to invade. Fight to win or don’t fight.

  • Lakshman says:

    Slowly I begiñ to feel Pak political parties are also as much a victim of its own Army like any other country. International pressure to be exerted on its army to give up its authority to elected people’s representatives. Failing that splitting the country only option for ending Islamic terrorism

  • Vikram says:

    Pakistani leaders lie outright and shamelessly. Just arrest and prosecute the LeT leader which is designated as a terrorist organization by UN. He is moving freely and collecting money for several years. Words mean nothing.


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