‘Halt in Indian funding leaves TTP in chaos’

-Info Minister says India should stay clear of interference as it has no border with Afghanistan
-Adds Cabinet deliberates on Pakistan’s responsible role in the formation of an Afghan govt -IMF thanks Pakistan on staff’s evacuation from Kabul

By Asghar Ali Mubarak

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was in a state of “disarray” after Indian funding for the militant outfit had stopped.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad following a meeting of the federal cabinet, Chaudhry said: “We should be satisfied to know with regards to the TTP that for the first time the process of Indian funding to them, which had been going on for a long time, has ended and at this time they are in disarray.”
Talking about the TTP’s actions inside Pakistan, the minister said Pakistan was not a “weak country” and possessed the capability to overcome such challenges.
“These internal challenges are not a problem for us. Our belief is that once they stop having a funding stream from abroad then it will be a big blow for them and the rest we will handle ourselves.” He also said that the announcement by the Taliban that Afghanistan would not be allowed to be used for terrorism against any country was a very “positive” one.
“We think the Taliban authorities will act on this Pakistan’s top terrorists from the BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army) and TTP are sitting in Afghanistan and we want them.
“We hope we will have cooperation from Afghanistan on this. Inside the country we will look at these matters ourselves,” Chaudhry added.
His comments come a day after Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said the Afghan Taliban had reassured the government that the TTP would not be given permission to operate in Afghanistan against Pakistan.
Rashid said the government was in “full contact” with the Taliban on the issue of some TTP members such as Maulvi Faqir Mohammad being released after the takeover of Kabul.
Last week, the Foreign Office had said that Pakistan would ask the incoming government in Afghanistan to act against the TTP.
“Pakistan has been taking up the issue of the use of Afghan soil by the TTP for terrorist activities inside Pakistan with the previous Afghan government and would continue raising the issue with the incoming government in Kabul as well to ensure that the TTP is not provided any space in Afghanistan to operate against Pakistan,” the FO spokesperson had said.
Chaudhry said the cabinet meeting had also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, particularly Pakistan’s “responsible role” in the formation of an Afghan government.
“We have close contact with Turkey, China and other countries so on one hand we are continuing our contact with Afghan authorities and on the other, with foreign countries,” he said.
He said the cabinet had also stated that “India should stay clear of interference in Afghanistan. India has no border with Afghanistan.”
Dring the former Afghan government’s tenure, Chaudhry said, India had used Afghanistan’s land against Pakistan and “at this time too we are seeing a continuous effort visible on Indian media that the Afghan peace process is sabotaged.”
The minister also provided updates about Pakistan’s facilitation of evacuations from Afghanistan, saying that up till now “thousands of people” from different nationalities had been evacuated.
“Over 3,400 people have been evacuated through airplanes, [while] around 19,000 have come through the borders so Pakistan is one of the primary stakeholders in this whole process and we are trying to create this environment so that the people stranded in Kabul can be evacuated,” he said.
Meanwhile, Managing Director International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva has sent a note of thanks to Prime Minister Imran Khan, expressing gratitude over the “safe and swift evacuation” of its staff from Afghanistan.
“I wish to offer my deep and sincere gratitude on behalf of the International Monetary Fund and its staff for Pakistan’s assistance, in the safe and swift evacuation of Fund personnel and their families from Afghanistan,” reads the letter dated 23 August 2020, as shared by the PM Office on Tuesday.
The IMF head especially appreciated the “instrumental roles” played by Pakistan’s ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Defence, as well as the Governor State Bank of Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s efforts at the highest levels, amid immensely difficult and complex circumstances, to help the Fund by securing a corridor to the airport and arranging the convoy that included our staff, were absolutely critical to this successful evacuation,” she said.
“Thank you very much, from the bottom of my heart,” she added.
Georgieva said IMF was grateful for the partnership with Pakistan and looked forward to continuing the cooperation.
She also extended best wishes to Prime Minister Imran Khan and the people of Pakistan.