South Asia and Beyond

TTP’s Toll: Strain On Af-Pak Relations

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan stretches more than 2,600 km from the mountainous terrain of the Wakhan Corridor in the north east to the flat desert of Nimroz province in the south … terrain that is no challenge to fighters determined to wage jihad in Pakistan and the figures bear it out.

A recent UN Security Council report said there were 6000 fighters of the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) based in Afghanistan and they had been emboldened by the Taliban takeover of Kabul

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A Voice of America report quoted Pakistani officials as claiming a 70% increase in attacks by the TTP in the last two years

More than 450 people have died in attacks by the TTP this year alone, the officials said

The Pakistani army has admitted losing 120 officers and men in such attacks in the first seven months of this year

Former Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto warned that if the attacks did not stop “We will act under the international laws to defend ourselves. If the Afghan authorities don’t act then action inside can be one of the options.”

The Taliban leadership in Kandahar says their jihad ended in 2021 when all foreign forces left Kabul … and there is no question of backing the TTP against Pakistan but Islamabad says TTP leaders have pledged their allegiance to the Taliban … have moved their bases to Afghanistan and are attacking from there.

The Taliban says it is prepared to move out TTP fighters and their families from areas bordering Pakistan but they need financial assistance to do so which bankrupt Islamabad cannot provide.

Pakistan is facing the consequences of its policy of backing the Taliban in its war against the former US backed government of Abdul Ghani Pakistan may well lose control of its north western territories bordering Afghanistan if the fighting continues and expands.


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