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The Taliban and the TTP

The Taliban government is falling short on the many promises it made after it came back to power in Afghanistan in August of last year. There is no denying the fact that their failure to abide by the very pledges they themselves had made is the reason the West, particularly the US which has frozen the Afghan assets, has been hesitant in recognizing the Taliban regime. And it is the same reason that is coming in the way of the ‘good relations’ Pakistan and the incumbent Afghan regime enjoy.

One of the vows made by the Taliban was to take action against militant outfits, including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), present in Afghanistan and to ensure that the Afghan soil is not used as a launching pad for terror attacks on other countries. But in August since the regime came back to power, 45 terrorist attacks in Pakistan were reported in that month alone – highest in a single month since 2017. In fact, a surge in TTP-sponsored attacks has been witnessed in 2021 with a 56 percent increase compared to 2020. And instead of taking action against the banned outfit, the Taliban offered their good offices for negotiations between the TTP and Islamabad. But just as previous such deals had been concluded, these talks too came to an end with no further progress after a month-long ceasefire that began in November. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar also recently stated that operations against the outlawed group were being conducted and the fight against the “violent non-state actors” will continue till their threat was completely eliminated.

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The fact that the Taliban has been hesitant in taking action against the TTP, which poses a threat to this country, can affect the way the world looks at the regime. Pakistan has been the only country vociferously urging the international community to aid the war-torn nation amid the prevalence of a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Islamabad also recently hosted the 17th session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Kabul. The message that the world is getting is that if Pakistan, despite its good relations with the Taliban regime and its efforts to unite the world for the people of Afghanistan, is unable to move it to come true to its promises, than what leverage does the West have. The TTP is a test case for the Taliban and it is in their interest to move against the outfit. It must act wisely.

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