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Rise of TTP in Pakistan: An Appraisal

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As proposed by Barry Buzan in his theory, the security of nations situated inside a specific geographical region is trapped with one another and any weakness inside one specific nation can spread to different nations of a specific security complex. Pakistan has been planning to deal with Afghanistan shifting political and security circumstances, as well as whatever may come next. Afghanistan’s new government must not lose this chance to build a strong, stable, viable, and progressive state based on an evolved concept of productive engagement with all stakeholders and to get recognized internationally. Many political and strategic analysts believe that the Afghan Taliban stronghold is stronger today than it was in the past, based on their observations but the rapid, massive, and complex developments currently taking place in Afghanistan will have long-term security consequences not only for Afghanistan but also for the entire region.

Pakistan provided the Taliban significant assistance throughout their power rise. However, since taking power, the Taliban has done little to reward that support. Instead, they have followed a foreign policy that may best be described as nationalistic, asserting Afghan sovereignty, and prioritizing the concerns of their own group. This includes harboring the TTP, which seeks to overthrow the Pakistani government; opposing Pakistan’s efforts to fence the two countries’ border along the disputed Durand Line; and, most recently, threatening Pakistan over its apparent decision to allow US drones to use Pakistani airspace to kill al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the heart of Kabul. Pakistan, for its part, continues to support the Taliban politically and provides major technical assistance, but has withheld significant amounts of aid, maintained tight border controls, and withheld diplomatic recognition.

“Pakistan wants to end its 14-year-long war with the TTP and restore peace in its border region. For that reason, it decided to engage with the militant group, with Afghan Taliban leaders acting as mediators,” “The talks have been frustratingly slow and difficult, though. The main sticking points are demands by the TTP to reverse FATA’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, imposition of Shariah law in the area, and the withdrawal of Pakistan’s military forces from the border region.”

Maleeha Lodhi)As per some reports TTA has pressurized TTP to leave Afghanistan and thus confusion exists in TTP on how to retain shelters! This has created a debate in TTP shura to talk to Pakistan which is not accepting TTP demands. One of the TTP demands is to restore the semi-autonomous status of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan. Islamabad merged the FATA region with its northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in 2018 to improve governance there. Instead, the Taliban asked Pakistan to address the TTP’s so-called “grievances” and offered to mediate talks. Moreover, Pakistan is enjoying the upper hand against the terrorists as they were successfully evicted from the country; therefore, Pakistan can gain maximum from these peace talks and can permanently settle the TTP’s threat. In Swat, some Taliban have requested the security forces for their return to Pakistan. On the other hand, the Afghan Taliban have forced TTP to leave Afghanistan. Thereby, TTP is neither getting refuge in Pakistan nor Afghanistan. The TTP leadership is killing its own people by making them fight among themselves and is getting money for this. Whereas in Pakistan some extremist groups are doing propaganda by sharing old videos and pictures that TTP is functional again in Pakistan but in reality TTP itself isn’t getting any hideout. Their return to Swat, Waziristan, and Dir hit raw sensibilities since it reminded people of the TTP’s carnage, which killed tens of thousands of Pakistani civilians and displaced millions. More crucially, these internal restrictions will prove to be key impediments to a long-term settlement between the TTP and Pakistan. For example, the Pakistani Taliban’s demands of lowering the number of security troops in tribal regions and reversing the FATA merger are issues that cannot be handled in black and white terms. Pakistan has a lot of strategic, social, and political goals, thus it cannot cut its army levels or reverse the merger. Furthermore, several political parties and public voices are concerned about the recent peace discussions between the TTP and the security establishment. These factors may be impediments to reaching a long-term and successful peace agreement with the TTP, and things will change.

 

About Author: Tahama Asad is a graduate of the National Defense University

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