Afghanistan and Pakistan agree to joint border operations against militants
Afghanistan and Pakistan will conduct joint military operations against militants' safe havens on both sides of the border, a spokesman of the Afghan presidential palace said on Tuesday.
Afghanistan has agreed to conduct the operations with neighbouring Pakistan to remove Taliban and Haqqani network safe havens, spokesman Najibullah Azad told journalists, adding that the U.S. and China will monitor operations. Relations between Kabul and Islamabad have been strained for months, with each accusing the other of providing sanctuaries for militants. A large number of militant groups targeting both countries have a presence in the border areas, which are also used by extremists seeking safe passage between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Taliban today controls or influences around 11 percent of districts while about 30 percent are embattled. NATO and the U.S. fear that the growing lawless areas in the country may once again become a refuge for terrorist groups with an international agenda as they were for al-Qaida. General John Nicholson, NATO's Resolute Support commander in Afghanistan, recently said that the Afghanistan-Pakistan region already shelters 20 of the 98 U.S.-designated terrorist groups, calling it "the highest concentration anywhere in the world."
Washington also accuses Pakistan of providing sanctuary to Afghan militants. The U.S. will introduce a new Afghan strategy that will also involve Pakistan sometime in July. (dpa)
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