NEW DELHI, March 6, (Agencies): Afghanistan’s national security adviser said Monday that associating terrorism with Islam was inappropriate given the suffering Muslims have endured at the hands of terrorists and the sacrifices they have made to defeat such violence. The South Asian region, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, had the “highest concentration of organized terrorists anywhere in the world,” Hanif Atmar said.
He noted that 20 out of 98 groups designated by the US as terrorist organizations were operating in the region. Afghanistan has lost 10,500 people to terrorism over the last 14 months, with an average of 28 people dying each day, he said. “It is inappropriate to associate terrorism with Islam, because it fails to understand, to appreciate, the sacrifices that the Muslims are making in order to defeat terrorism, and the suffering that the Muslims have had at the hands of the terrorists,” he told participants of the Asian Security Conference, being held this year in New Delhi.
India’s Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said a global response to countering terrorism must come from Asia, since “Asians being subjected to the terrorist violence carried out by four out of five deadliest terror outfits in the world.” Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Monday that Taleban insurgents are the main reason for the continuing presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan. Ghani, speaking at the annual opening ceremony of the Afghan parliament, said that the Afghan government asked for the extension of the foreign military mission largely because of the ongoing militant threat. “Those Taleban who are killing our people are the enemies of our nation, as are Daesh (Islamic State group) and other terrorist groups,” Ghani told the parliamentarians. He claimed that there were 20 different militant insurgent groups, including the Taleban, operating in the country.
Five Pakistani soldiers and 10 militants were killed in a coordinated overnight raid at several border posts on the frontier with Afghanistan, the military said Monday. The fighting took place in Mohmand, one of Pakistan’s so-called tribal districts that form a buffer zone between the two countries, where the military has been battling Islamist militants for over a decade. Pakistan’s military issued a brief statement providing casualty figures, without mentioning which militant group was involved. “Effective presence, vigilance and response repulsed (the) terrorists’ attempt,” it said.