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BRICS States Name Pakistan-Based Groups As Security Concern In Unprecedented Move


Brazil President Michel Temer (left to right), Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the opening ceremony of the BRICS cultural festival in Xiamen on September 4.

Five of the world's leading emerging economies have issued a statement that includes for the first time Pakistan-based militant groups as a regional security concern and calls for their patrons to be held accountable.

Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, which comprise the BRICS grouping, called for an immediate end to violence in Afghanistan at a summit in the Chinese city of Xiamen on September 4.

"We strongly condemn terrorist attacks resulting in death to innocent Afghan nationals," the leaders said in a declaration

"We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, [Islamic State]..., Al-Qaeda and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e Taiba, Jaish-e Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir."

Preeti Saran, an official with India's Ministry of External Affairs, said it was the first time there had been a specific listing of militant groups in a BRICS document and that his country welcomed the move as "a very important development" in the fight against militant attacks, of which it has been a target.

Lashkar-e Taiba is a militant group based in Pakistan that India has blamed for cross-border attacks, including a 2008 assault on Mumbai in which 166 people were killed. Jaish-e Mohammad, another anti-Indian group based in Pakistan, was blamed for a 2001 attack on parliament.

Officials in Islamabad have denied any involvement in attacks in India, including in the disputed region of Kashmir. Pakistan has itself claimed to be a victim of attacks.

"You cannot have good and bad terrorists, and it is a collective action. Members of the BRICS countries have themselves been victims of terrorism, and I would say that what has come of today acknowledges the fact that we must work collectively in handling this," Saran said.

China, a close ally of Pakistan, has repeatedly blocked attempts by India to get the head of Jaish-e Mohammad added to a UN blacklist of groups linked to Al-Qaeda.

There was no immediate comment from Pakistan on the BRICS resolution.

The five BRICS countries also pledged their opposition to protectionism, a theme pushed by Chinese President Xi Jinping given rising antiglobalization sentiment in the West that threatens China's access to export markets.

They also strongly condemned North Korea's sixth -- and most powerful -- nuclear test on September 3 that has loomed over the two-day BRICS summit.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and The Hindu

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