ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has expressed the hope that Afghan security forces would take on elements of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who are using Kunar and Nooristan provinces as havens to destabilise Pakistan.

“These elements are carrying out undesirable activities against Pakistan. And Islamabad has raised its concerns with Afghan authorities and the United States over continued presence of TTP’s safe havens (in Afghanistan),” Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said Thursday during his weekly briefing.

He said Pakistan has taken up the matter many a times with Afghanistan at all levels and hoped that these hideouts of TTP would be eliminated. He said presence of TTP havens is a serious matter but Pakistan would continue to remain in collaborative and cooperative mode with Afghanistan, as this is best way to defeat the evil forces.

When asked for his intake on recent statements of the Afghan president and foreign minister, the spokesman said both sides have concerns and Pakistan believed that the best way to remove concerns and misunderstandings is to keep all channels of communications open. “Pakistan is following a policy of restraint and goodwill towards Afghanistan and wanted its reflection in Afghan policy as well,” he added.

He was equally concerned about Afghan government decision of not sending its military delegation for a training course in Quetta. “Training activities are meant to build trust and confidence between the two countries. We should not miss this opportunity as it promoted bilateral relations and build trust,” he added.

As for the excuse presented by Afghanistan for not sending delegation for training, the spokesman said, “There was some intrusion from Afghan side and our troops only responded and that too in a disciplined and responsible manner. There was no artillery shelling as alleged by the Afghan side.” The spokesman emphasised that Pakistan and Afghanistan have to work together in harmony to promote stability not only in Afghanistan but also in the whole region.

“Pakistan will continue to make use of its good offices for bringing reconciliation, peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the spokesman reiterated Pakistan’s unflinching commitment. He said that Pakistan supports intra-Afghan dialogue and that is why it instantly conceded to the request of Afghan High Peace Council for releasing of prisoners and provision of safe passage to Afghan Taliban.

To a question, he said Pakistan has already released 26 Taliban leaders, and Pakistan could release more on the request of the technical group set up by the two countries. The spokesman pointed out that Pakistan and Afghanistan in the trilateral meeting held in London have formed a technical group to finalise the list to release more Taliban prisoners from Pakistan.

Answering a question on US drone attacks, he said Pakistan also conveyed its point of view to the UN Special Rapporteur who will be presenting the report at the UN Human Rights Council and to the UN General Assembly session in October this year.

Reacting to the statement of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about relations with Pakistan, the spokesman said Pakistan believes that good, healthy and constructive bilateral relationship is in the interest of people of the two countries and the region. “We hope this commitment of Pakistan to promote relations would be well appreciated by the other side,” he added.

When his attention was drawn towards media reports about New Delhi’s renewed interest in joining Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, the spokesman said ‘India has not formally approached us’ and Pakistan would respond after formal communication in this regard. To a question about death of an Indian prisoner in Lahore, he said details were being sought from the interior ministry and Punjab home department, adding that representative of Indian High Commission was present during postmortem.