Pakistani terrorists move to Afghanistan after Balakot strike

14 Jul 2019 / 14:28 H.

NEW DELHI: Cadre of terror groups Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) have shifted to Kunar, Nangarhar, Nuristan and Kandahar provinces of Afghanistan after Indian Air Force’s strike on the Balakot terror camp in Pakistan.

Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage jets attacked JeM’s Balakot terror camp at Manshera in Pakistan after the Feb 14 strike by a Jaish suicide-bomber on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir.

The Hindustan Times reported that both the Pakistan-based groups have joined hands with the Afghan Taliban and Afghan insurgent group, Haqqani Network, across the Durand Line that separates Pakistan from Afghanistan, for training their extremist cadre in subversive activity.

Indian security agencies said the terrorist cadre’s shift to across the Durand Line has been done to avoid black-listing of Pakistan by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its Paris conference later this year.

The multilateral body formed to crack down on cross-border money laundering and terror financing has been extremely critical of Pakistan and placed it on a grey list.

A recent Pentagon report noted that the LeT, with more than 300 fighters in Afghanistan, posed a significant threat to the US and allied forces. The group has also been instrumental in forging peace between Taliban and so-called Islamic State of Khyber-Paktunkhwa.

Meanwhile, a US service member was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday, the Nato-led Resolute Support mission said in a statement today.

It gave no further details and withheld the name of the service member until the next of kin were informed.

The latest fatality brings the tally of US service member deaths in Afghanistan to at least seven in 2019.

About 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are in Afghanistan as part of a US-led Nato mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces.

Some US forces carry out counter-terrorism operations against Islamist militant groups.

A record 3,804 Afghan civilians were killed last year due to stepped-up air attacks by US-led forces and more suicide bombings, the United Nations said in a February report.

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