Pakistan protests to Afghanistan over killing 23 troops

Taliban claimed killing kidnapped soldiers on Feb 15.

Taliban claimed killing kidnapped soldiers on Feb 15.

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has conveyed its 'strong protest' and serious concern to the Afghan government on the brutal murder of 23 security personnel inside the Afghan territory by the Taliban, the foreign office said on Thursday.

The slain security personnel had been kidnapped by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a conglomerate of various Taliban branches in Pakistan, and were reportedly killed on 15 February by the Taliban inside the Afghan territory in retaliation for deaths of their members in custody and "fake encounters" with security forces according to the foreign office.

"The protest was conveyed by Sartaj Aziz, an advisor to the prime minister on national security and foreign affairs, to Afghan Foreign Minister Zarar Maqbool Osmani Thursday in Male, Maldives where both were attending the SAARC Ministerial meeting," according to Foreign Office's spokesperson, Tasneem Aslam, in a statement.

"The advisor reminded his Afghan counterpart that in the trilateral summit in Ankara recently, it was agreed that both sides would not only prevent the use of their territory against each other but also take action against militants engaged in hostile action," she said.

Aziz urged the Afghan government to take prompt action to apprehend and punish the perpetrators of this "heinous and inhumane crime."

"The Afghan Foreign Minister promised to convey this message of concern to the relevant authorities in Afghanistan and revert shortly," she maintained.

Pakistani intelligence agencies believe that a large number of TTP members, including its chief Maulvi Fazlullah have been in the northwestern Kunar province of Afghanistan, which they are using as a base to attack Pakistani security forces.

Pakistan’s top defense officials, including Army Chief General Raheel Sharif raised the issue of alleged TTP bases inside Afghanistan, with U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Chief General Lloyd J. Austin at a meeting held in Islamabad on Wednesday, local media reported.

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