TTP: Enemy of Pakistan, ally of Afghan Taliban | By Shahnoor Waqas Malik


TTP: Enemy of Pakistan, ally of Afghan Taliban

THE Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a designated terrorist organisation based along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The main aim of the TTP is to overthrow the Pakistani state by destabilising it – through which they have carried out various terrorist attacks across the country.

They justify their actions as ‘jihad’ so they may properly assert ‘Sharia Law’ in the country – in other words, they have radicalised what Islam is and have twisted it to support their fundamentalist extremist ideology.

Formed officially in 2007, the TTP roots stretch back to the war in Afghanistan when the United States of America launched an invasion against the Taliban regime in 2001 – a direct response to the 9/11 attacks and the Taliban refusal to hand over Osama bin Ladin (founder of Al-Qaeda).

Unfortunately, the Afghan Taliban saw Pakistan as a safe haven from US attacks and Pakistan as an enemy to Afghanistan for the military incursions conducted by the Pakistan army along their shared border to combat the fleeing militants illegally entering the country.

Leaders of these armed militia groups that were active in the war in Afghanistan, were united in their hate for Pakistan.

When the Pakistani military began an operation against Al-Qaeda in the FATA region (now merged into the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) in 2007, a coalition of these various terrorist groups formed the TTP as a counter.

Funded by the Al-Qaeda and supported by their global terrorist network with expertise and weapons, the TTP in turn is heavily relied on for their access to safe havens within Pakistan to the Al-Qaeda.

Notably, the TTP derives its ideological guidance from Al-Qaeda.The TTP, although a by-product of Al-Qaeda and its jihadi politics in Afghanistan post-9/11, is the largest militant organisation fighting against Pakistan.

They have been accused for their involvement in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto with the CIA confirming such collusion. They have additionally claimed responsibility for countless suicide bombings in Pakistan in for years onwards, with over 120 attacks conducted in the past year alone.

While they target military personnel and security checkpoints within Pakistan – they have also been known to target innocent children and those who belong to a different sect of Islam (Shia’s).

The youngest Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai, was a target of an assassination attempt by the TTP due to her advocacy of right to education for women and children.

Though she survived a shot to the head, the attempt on her life sparked international support for her and put even more pressure on the Pakistani state to conduct severe operations against the TTP.

She continues her advocacy for human rights and has co-founded her own non-profit organisation with the aim of ensuring females’ right to education, especially in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The 2014 Peshawar school massacre was planned and carried out by the TTP – out of the 149 people killed, 132 were schoolchildren with their ages ranging between 8 to 18 years of age.

It is the world’s 4th deadliest school massacre, of which Pakistan still bares the pain and consequence today. The Al-Qaeda denounced the attack done by the TTP, with Afghanistan given the message by Pakistan to ‘wipe out the Taliban or we will’.

Though Afghanistan security forces worked with the Pakistani agencies against members of the TTP, many of the militants who fled had found sanctuary in Afghanistan till date.

Aitzaz Hasan, aged only 15, is a hero of Pakistan. His effort of bear-hugging a suicide-bomber approaching his school cost him his life, but saved countless others.

His family remarks that while his mother mourns their son, their son saved hundreds of other mothers from crying for theirs.

Undeniably a martyr and symbol of resistance against terrorism, no child should have to risk their life and future.

Now that the Afghan Taliban has established a regime in Afghanistan — and with Pakistan’s historical relationship with the Taliban, his Pakistan cannot rely on Afghanistan against the threat of the TTP.

Though the inception of the TTP was through the Afghan Taliban, the Afghan Taliban of today reject any support for the TTP yet they refuse to take any action against the TTP. The TTP on the other hand has openly stated its support for the Afghan Taliban’s regime.

Despite a temporary ceasefire reached in late 2021 via mediated talks by the Afghan Taliban between Pakistan and the TTP, dozens of TTP prisoners were released and the end of the ceasefire not shortly after saw increased TTP attacks on Pakistan as well as on Pakistani security forces’ sanctuaries within Afghanistan. It is evident that the TTP is and will always remain an enemy of Pakistan.

Any act of negotiation or further recognising the legitimacy of the TTP is detrimental to Pakistan – what they aim to achieve is anti-Pakistan. The only solution is further operations against the TTP.

—The writer is Lawyer, Businessman.