WASHINGTON: There is no indication that Afghan refugees in Pakistan or along its border have engaged in acts of extremism, the White House said, after Pakistan’s army expressed concern that militants had found safe havens in Afghanistan.
“We’ve seen no indication that Afghan refugees in Pakistan or along that border are guilty of acts of terrorism,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters in a press briefing on Monday.
Nine soldiers died after militants stormed an army base in Pakistan’s southern Balochistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, and three more were killed in an exchange of fire in the area last week, according to the Pakistan military.
“And we’re grateful to Pakistan for the incredible generosity that they have extended to so many Afghans who are just looking for a safe and secure place to be,” Kirby said. “And we’ll continue to work with Pakistan as we have on their legitimate terrorism threats.”
The Pakistan army has “serious concerns on the safe havens and liberty of action available to TTP in Afghanistan,” it said last week, referring to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militant umbrella group.
“Such attacks are intolerable and would elicit effective response from the security forces of Pakistan,” it said.
Kabul has denied past accusations that it allows militant groups to launch attacks on Pakistan from its territory.
Balochistan is a mineral-rich region that has been troubled by a decades-old ethnic Baloch insurgency.
Militants, who aim to overthrow the Pakistan government and install their own brand of strict Islamic law in the predominantly Muslim country of 220 million people, have also been active in Balochistan.
They have stepped up attacks since revoking a cease-fire agreement with the government in late 2022, including the bombing of a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar that killed more than 100 people earlier this year.