Taliban unlikely to stop harboring foreign terrorists, says new report

Two Taliban fighters in Panjshir province in September 2021.

The Institute for the Study of War said in a report this week that the Taliban government is unlikely to change its policies toward harboring foreign fighters in Afghanistan.

The report stated that the Taliban’s continuing failure to prevent the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from using Afghanistan to support its campaign against the Pakistani government “will strain the relationship between the Taliban government and Pakistan.”

“The Taliban has not fulfilled its previously stated commitment to relocate TTP militants in Afghanistan away from the border with Pakistan, which will enable TTP militants to continue conducting cross-border attacks into Pakistan,” the report added.

According to the report, the Taliban this month announced that it was planning to relocate members of TTP militants from the bordering areas with Pakistan to northern Afghanistan.

The TTP, however, has rejected the report and the group also instructed its commanders to resist efforts to relocate them.

Meanwhile, the report added that TTP attacks inside Pakistan tripled between 2020 and 2022 and increased terrorism-related deaths by 120 percent in Pakistan in 2022.

“On June 22, Pakistan rejected the Taliban government’s offer to mediate renewed talks between the TTP and Pakistan. Prior negotiations collapsed in November 2022, leading to renewed TTP attacks,” the report said.

“TTP safe havens in Afghanistan will support frequent TTP attacks in Pakistan, which will deteriorate relations between Pakistan and the Taliban government over time as the Taliban fails to address TTP safe havens,” the report added.

This comes after many residents of Takhar and Kunduz provinces in northern Afghanistan last week raised their concerns about the steady influx of people moving into the provinces from Pakistan.

Some critics say the families are being moved from Waziristan and that they have links with TTP – which will lead to ethnic conflicts.

But people who have relocated to Takhar, said they have come to the province due to the dire situation in Pakistan, citing compelling circumstances that have “left them with no choice”.

“I have come from Pakistan, we are around 20 families and we are friends. The situation in Pakistan is bad. We have been forced to come here,” said Nasir, one of the relocated people.

However, the Junbish-i Milli of Afghanistan Party believes that the Taliban, in collusion with Pakistan, have started relocating members of the TTP militant group and their families to northern Afghanistan.

According to the National Movement of Afghanistan, this relocation is expected to ignite long-standing ethnic tensions in the region.

Bashir Ahmad Tahyanj, a member of the National Movement of Afghanistan, expressed his concerns, stating: “The relocation of Waziristan people to northern Afghanistan is the start of a problem, the start of a tragedy, and the beginning of long-term ethnic conflicts. We hope that the international community and other stakeholders in Afghanistan’s fate will not remain indifferent to this matter.”