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‘No dialogue’: Pakistan says open to attacks on Afghan-based armed groups

The comments come amid heightened tensions between the neighbours and a new Pakistani military offensive.

Islamabad, Pakistan — Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has warned that the country would not hesitate to launch attacks on the territory of Afghanistan, its neighbour, amid rising tensions between the two over security concerns.

When asked whether Pakistan would consider cross-border attacks to control perpetrators, the Asif replied to an interviewer, “If the need arises, there is nothing more important than Pakistan’s sovereignty.”

Addressing the legality of potential cross-border attacks, Asif argued that Pakistan must prioritise its own interests. “It is also a violation of international norms when Afghan soil is used to export terrorism, with those responsible receiving protection and safe havens by the people there,” he added.

In the interview on Thursday, he also rejected the prospects of any dialogue with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistan Taliban, an armed group accused by Pakistan of launching attacks from across the border.

“There is no chance of a dialogue with them. What do we talk about, we need to have a common ground to speak to them,” Asif said.

The interview follows Pakistan’s recent announcement of a renewed military operation named Azm-e-Istehkam, aimed at curbing escalating violence since November 2022, when the TTP unilaterally ended a ceasefire.

Founded in 2007 and aligned ideologically with the Afghan Taliban, the TTP is an armed group advocating for the reversal of the merger of Pakistan’s northwestern tribal regions with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and stricter enforcement of their interpretation of Islamic laws in the region.

Pakistan has repeatedly