Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has been racketeering in the borderlands of Pakistan since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
The extortion incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s regions including Swat have been on the rise.
According to a report by AFP, a Pakistani lawmaker in the northwest has so far paid sums totalling Rs1.2 million since July due to fears of facing consequences otherwise.
From 2007 to 2009 TTP was the most potent in Pakistan-Afghanistan borderline areas and had made a stronghold in Swat which is just 140 kilometres from the capital city of Islamabad. However, the military’s hard operation from 2014 caused the outfit to route majorly fleeing to Afghanistan.
An analyst with Islamabad’s Centre for Research and Security Studies Imtiaz Gul has said that now with Afghanistan back under Taliban control the US-led force’s operations against them have been halted which has provided TTP with an open shelter.
According to Gul the rise in TTP attacks was because they have the freedom of action while living in Afghanistan.
A report from Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies has said that in a year since the Taliban’s return militant activity has risen in Pakistan and around 433 people have been killed so far.
According to KP’s MP Nisar Mohmand, 80-95 percent of the well-off residents in Swat’s surroundings have become the victims of blackmailing. He also said that alternate routes have been used by the militants.
The report has further said that the extortion calls have been made with phone numbers of Afghan Sim cards despite the Afghan Taliban’s long-standing differences with TTP.
The phone call is followed by a text or voice message in Pashto threatening of dispatching an action squad in case of declining to pay. The message also warns, “The days of cruelty are near. Don’t think we are a spent force.”