DG ISPR Press Briefing: ‘Forces Deployed At Western Border Against Non-State Actors’

Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Thursday addressed a press conference at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

The press conference follows a visit to Kabul by Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Sunday, and comes as Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif is meeting the United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor conceded to there being threats at Pakistan’s borders, but said the important question was “whether the threat is because of a state or non-state actors” and what the country’s response to it is.

“Pakistan is an indispensible reality,” he asserted. “When multiple interests collude, it is natural that it creates conflicts.”

“There has been war in Afghanistan for the past four decades. We fought with jihadis against the Soviet Union. We have fought well, as a nation, the war that entered our borders after 9/11,” he said.

“There are no organised bases of any terrorist organisations in the country anymore. On the ground, more than 50 per cent of Afghan territory is out of their [Kabul’s] control, which is also affecting Pakistan.”

“There is a strategic threat that exists on the western borders which forces us to keep our army at the borders, because of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and other such non-state actors.”

“Our [western] border also meets Iran. It is important to mention that our deployment is not against Iran or Afghanistan but against non-state actors,” he explained.

“In the east, we have a border with India which is unsafe because of India’s inappropriate reactions,” he said.

“Ceasefire violation in 2017 are larger than any other year before this, with 222 civilians killed along the Line of Control. But India has also paid a price with our response and we will continue to do so [respond] if it does not act with restraint.”

“Threats from India are perpetual. We are a peaceful country and we do not want war with them, but we will defend ourselves and have the capability to do so,” he cautioned.

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