Pakistan Closes Consulate in Afghanistan’s Mazar-e-Sharif After Terror Attack

Pakistan has closed its consulate in Afghanistan’s Mazar-e-Sharif after a foiled terror attack when a woman attempted to sneak a hand grenade into the consulate. Continued presence of ISIS and TTP in Afghanistan has long perturbed Pakistan.

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The suspect had concealed the explosives in her personal bag and was taken into custody by the Afghan authorities. Islamabad has urged the Afghan government to provide foolproof security to the consulate. The government has also asked for the investigation’s findings to be shared with them at the earliest.

The consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif will remain closed for visa services until the provision of foolproof security by the authorities to prevent any untoward incident from happening in the future.

The incident comes a day after the US negotiators and the Afghan Taliban admitted “progress on vital issues” in their talks in Qatar. US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad held negotiations with Taliban representatives at their political office in Doha for six days, much longer than planned and longer than any previous attempt to end the bloody conflict.

As the US and the Taliban are closing in on a deal to end the 17-year-long war in Afghanistan, the Pakistani Army expects that after the restoration of peace, the Kabul administration would act against terror groups operating from the Afghan soil.

Pakistani security officials have long stated that the banned terrorist groups – especially the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Khorasan franchise of Islamic State (ISIS) plan and mount attacks in Pakistan from their sanctuaries in Afghanistan. Most deadly terrorist attacks in Pakistan have been traced to eastern Afghanistan, where the TTP and ISIS maintain safe havens in the areas where Kabul has limited control.

Last year, the army said that it would complete fencing the 2,611 kilometres long border by the end of 2019 at a cost of $550 million. The pair of nine-foot wire fences, with a six-foot gap, and topped with barbed wire, runs along rugged terrain and snow-capped mountains as high as 12,000 feet.

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