Alarm bells ring for Takhar residents over incoming TTP fighters

A number of residents of Takhar province voiced their concerns regarding the relocation of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) members and their families to the northeastern province, saying it will cause tension in their areas.

In recent weeks, the Taliban has initiated the relocation of TTP members and their families from eastern parts of Afghanistan along the Durand Line, the disputed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, to various northern regions. This transfer is part of an agreement in principle with Pakistan aimed at addressing the latter’s security concerns regarding perceived threats from Waziristan migrants who have resided for years in eastern provinces such as Paktia, Nangarhar, and Kunar.

The ongoing relocation, which has raised widespread alarm and unease among residents of northern and northeastern provinces, has been underway for nearly a month. The Taliban has stated that the migrants will be transferred to the north and central and other parts of the country.

“The concern extends beyond Takhar residents and affects numerous northern provinces. It is a sensitive issue that could potentially reignite crises in Afghanistan,” expressed Abdul Bashir, a resident of Takhar.

Other residents of Takhar echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing their deep concern over the situation.

Meanwhile, the Afghanistan National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, also known as the Junbish-e-Milli party led by former vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum, has warned of escalating tensions and raised the matter with the United Nations in search of a solution.

“We believe that tensions will increase, especially among different ethnic groups, if this continues,” stated Ihsan Nairo, a party spokesperson. “At the Junbish Milli party, we are actively working towards finding a resolution to this issue.”

Former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, in an interview with Radio Azadi, stated that the number of TTP members and their families in Afghanistan ranges from 30,000 to 40,000. He suggested that the best solution would be to repatriate them to Pakistan to resume a normal life.

Questions however, have been raised as to what consequences might such resettlement and movements have for Afghanistan in the long run?

“Given the current circumstances, any type of movement can carry security implications. If there are any hidden agendas behind these actions, it could lead the country toward further tensions,” cautioned Qadam Amin, a university lecturer.

TTP, formed in 2007 as an anti-Pakistan government movement, is known to maintain close ties with the Taliban. In recent months, the Taliban has made efforts to mediate between the TTP and the Pakistani government, highlighting their interconnectedness.