Pak summons Afghan diplomats and seeks extradition of key militant

Pakistan’s foreign ministry summoned the head of the Afghan diplomatic mission on Tuesday and sought the extradition of a key militant allegedly hiding in their country.

The demand for the handing over of Hafiz Gul Bahadur was made after the Army said that his group was responsible for the suicide attack in the Bannu area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday.

Two civilians were killed, while 10 others, including three security forces personnel, were injured in the attack.

The Army said on Monday that the motorcycle-borne suicide bomber was affiliated with the Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group. He was identified as an Afghan national who aimed to target a security force convoy.

The Express Tribune reported that the Afghan diplomat issued a strong protest over the attack and asked to convey serious concerns to the Taliban government over the repeated use of Afghan soil.

Sources revealed that the Afghan representative conveyed four key demands. They include a full investigation into the Bannu attack and stern action against perpetrators and abettors.

Pakistan also demanded immediate “verifiable actions” against all terrorist groups and their sanctuaries, according to sources.

The Afghan Taliban representative was told to apprehend Hafiz Gul Bahadur and hand him over to Pakistan. Islamabad also reiterated its demand from the Kabul regime to prevent the use of Afghan soil for terrorism against Pakistan.

It is not clear if the Afghan Taliban will pay heed to Pakistan’s latest demands, as it has in the past refused to act against the TTP and its affiliates.

There was no formal statement about the summoning of the Afghan representative.

The Sunday bombing was the 16th suicide attack in Pakistan, allegedly carried out by an Afghan national. Tensions have been running high between the two countries for months over the issue of cross-border attacks.

Since the return of the Taliban in August 2021 in Afghanistan, the number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan has gone up by 60 percent, while suicide attacks rose by 500 percent.