It is ironic that both the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Pakistan’s state apparatus were euphoric about the capture of Kabul by the Afghan Taliban (TTA). This was despite the fact that the TTP had been reemerging as a terrorist threat in the northwest of Pakistan since the start of this year.
Prominent terror raids include the attack on North Waziristan female development workers and Quetta’s Serena Hotel bombing. Both Chinese and Pakistani governments are convinced that the attack on the bus carrying Chinese engineers on July 14 was TTP-orchestrated.
Can alliance with TTA — which is of doubtful strategic value even if seen from a purely realist perspective — blind Pakistani security planners to an extent that they ignore such a blatant threat reemerging within its border?
Given the multilayered threat posed by al-Qaeda, Isis, and TTP, Afghan Taliban would not be able to contain violence within their borders, and Pakistan would bear the spillover
Perhaps the Pakistan government is talking about peace talks owing to the cost of a major operation against the TTP. With nobody ready to foot the bill, peace talks appear a natural option.
Pakistan Taliban pose two kinds of threats to the state. First, a threat to civic life in Pakistan, and indeed the security apparatus and installations. Second, the potential use of Pakistani soil to launch attacks elsewhere in the region.
According to a UN report, TTP carried out over a 100 attacks in Pakistan from Afghanistan in the last six months of 2020. Another 32 were orchestrated in the first two months of 2021 alone. Most have targeted Pakistani security personnel, especially the police.
The TTP has also continued its campaign against the polio drive in Pakistan, which it labels a western conspiracy, frequently targeting health workers and accompanying police officers. In 2019, the group targeted healthcare workers in Bannu, Buner, Lower Dir, Quetta and other parts of KP and Balochistan.
The ‘Taliban are our own people’ mindset among the religious right is too naïve and could destabilise Pakistan. Let’s not forget, the TTP was forced out of function after multiple military operations.
Pakistani intelligence believes the TTP has a large number of sleeper cells in the urban areas, which were formed after many of its members sneaked out of tribal areas after the 2014 operations in North Waziristan. Over 25,000 intelligence-led operations have been carried out in major cities to flush out these sleeper cells. But they’ve only been partially successful.
Perhaps Pakistan is talking about peace talks owing to the cost of a major operation against the TTP. With nobody ready to foot the bill, peace talks appear a natural option
This recent TTP regrouping could be motivated by the Afghan Taliban’s return to power. The noise regarding the TTA and TTP disagreeing over attacks in Pakistan could be a result of the former’s PR campaigning, especially considering the support they’ve enjoyed from the Pakistani military and intelligence.
Those who advocate peace talks with TTP try to portray them as some wayward youth who are simply angry with state machinery. We’re actually talking about a group, with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS, which has carried out some of the most horrific attacks in Pakistan. The TTP doesn’t merely ideologically overlap with the Afghan Taliban, but operationally as well.
Given the multilayered threat posed by al-Qaeda, Isis, and TTP, Afghan Taliban would not be able to contain violence within their borders, and Pakistan would bear the spillover. In this situation, ‘peace talks’ with the TTP are nothing but a joke.