Pakistan says it won't allow countries to shelter militants

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's political and military leadership on Monday vowed that no nation will be allowed to shelter militants who stage attacks against the country — an apparent reference to neighboring Afghanistan.

The statement came amid a spike in attacks by the militant Pakistani Taliban, many of whom are hiding in neighboring Afghanistan. The attacks are on the rise across Pakistan, especially in the northwest near the Afghan border.

The announcement came at the end of a lengthy meeting of Pakistan's National Security Committee, which was attended by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the newly appointed army chief Gen. Asim Munir, and other officials.

According to a government statement, the committee vowed that there will be “zero tolerance for terrorism in Pakistan" and that militants will be dealt with using the “full force of the state.”

The announcement came two weeks after Pakistan’s special forces killed more than two dozen detainees linked to the Pakistani Taliban in a raid after they overpowered guards at a counter-terrorism center in the northwest and killed three hostages. Before launching the rescue operation, the detainees had demanded safe passage to Afghanistan, a demand the government rejected.

The Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, are separate from, but allied with, the Afghan Taliban. The Afghan Taliban seized power last year as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final weeks of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war.

The takeover of Afghanistan emboldened TTP fighters who have stepped up attacks on Pakistani security forces since November when they unilaterally ended a monthslong cease-fire with Pakistan’s government. The increasing militant violence has strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers, who had brokered the cease-fire in May.