Pakistan seeks Taliban assurances to counter TTP threats

Pakistan has requested assurances from the Taliban to effectively tackle the threat posed by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). According to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry, the Taliban has offered “specific assurances” to address this pressing concern.

Pakistan has reported a sharp rise in insurgent attacks over the past two years, blaming TTP fighters for them, and saying that the incidents have been carried out by militants who are operating in Afghanistan.

“We are obviously very disappointed that we have not seen the kind of results that we have expected from the Afghan authorities,” said Zahra Baloch, a spokesperson for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters. We believe that the channels of communication should continue, and we would continue to impress on Afghan authorities to take effective action against these terrorist groups.”

“We have been given certain assurances with reference to our demands on the Afghan authorities,” she said.

But she refrained from providing details about these assurances, emphasizing that, despite disappointments in the Taliban’s actions, communication channels and dialogues persist.

“The Taliban in Afghanistan does not want to take action against the TTP,” said Mahmood Jan Babar, a Pakistani journalist, commented. “They say they not only provided us refuge in Pakistan but also fought alongside us against the United States. Now, we won’t act against them. If the Taliban takes action, their own people will be upset.”

In the latest development, based on reports from Pakistani media, Islamabad has urged the Taliban to apprehend Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the commander of the TTP’s splinter group, whom Pakistan holds responsible for the suicide attack in Bannu last week. The Taliban, however, claims they have not permitted any anti-Pakistan elements to operate and that they do not allow it.

Burna Salehi, an international relations analyst, said, “They have their own command centers inside Pakistani soil; areas where they can travel, operate, and act against the Pakistani government. This is a very serious problem between the Taliban and the Pakistani government and is not easily resolved.”

Meanwhile, the US State Department, in its Reports on Terrorism 2022, mentioned that while the Taliban committed to preventing terrorist groups from using Afghanistan for attacks against the U.S. and its allies, their ability to prevent external operations by groups like Al-Qaeda, TTP, and ISIS-K remains uncertain.

“It is a good idea that a joint fight [should] be initiated, and a common fight against terrorist groups is carried out collectively,” said Sarwar Niazi, a political analyst, stated.

Pakistan authorities have said that since the Taliban took power in August 2021 in Afghanistan, incidents of terrorist attacks in Pakistan have increased by 60 percent, and some of these attacks are planned from Afghan soil.

The Taliban, however, claims that Islamabad is attempting to escape its security failures by making accusations.