TTP is a Pakistani-based terrorist organization based in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region and in bordering areas of Afghanistan, most of their recruits come from tribal areas of the Pak-Afghan border according to the US department of defense there are about 3 to 4000 terrorists active at present mostly operating from Afghanistan. It is said that they have links with the Afghan Taliban, but the latter denies it. They share the same ideology as of Taliban and want to establish the Islamic Emirates of Pakistan just like how the Taliban did in Afghanistan. It doesn’t want any American influence in Pakistan and is not happy with the current state of relationships with the USA.
History of Terror Attack
TTP has involved in many terrorist activities and attacks in fact recently is you must be hearing about Pakistani army personnel being targeted by TTP, other than this Pakistan government held TTP responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, but TTP denied the allegations, TTP targeted Pakistan army installation and police academy and the most inhumane was Peshawar school attack where 136 innocent school children lost their lives.
Pakistan Army Counter-Offensive
In 2014 Pakistan army came down heavily on TTP, Pak Army launched an operation “Zarb-e-Azab” with help of US drones. Pak army recently struck TTP hideouts in Afghanistan. Pakistani sought help from the Taliban to eliminate TTP, but the response from the Taliban was lukewarm. With the Taliban coming to power many TTP terrorists who were in Afghan jails have been released by the Taliban. The return of the Taliban in Afghanistan has backfired for the Pakistani establishment in the context of countering TTP
Jan 2022 three months has been facilitated by Taliban between TTP and Pakistan. Pakistan wanted TTP to disband its network disassociate itself from other terrorist organizations and accept the Pakistani constitution and surrender all its arms to Govt but TTP refused to bow down. Both sides agreed to resolve the issue through dialogue to end two decades-old militancy and bloodshed. In May it was decided to extend the ceasefire amid ongoing negotiations. Some in Pakistan including Judges of SC questioned the ceasefire and said Govt surrendered to TTP, while some said it was necessary to end trouble in the KPK region.
Why TTP is a big problem for Pakistan
From security, prospective TTP poses a huge national security threat to Pakistan state. It has a huge support base in the KPK region and Karachi as well where a large number of Pashtuns reside. Taliban though never expressed open support to TTP but never condemned any of its actions. Pakistan still looks forward to the Taliban’s help in eliminating TTP, but to the irony, the Taliban claims the entire KPK region and rejects the colonial Durand line. TTP targeting the Pak army costs the Pakistani army huge manpower as well as a financial burden. For the Pak army, it will be difficult to engage India, Baloch fighters, and TTP at the same time. From a financial standpoint, Terrorism hampers the growth of business and investment as we have seen in the case of CPEC projects in Balochistan, which have been affected by attacks from Balochi fighters, Karachi the financial capital of Pakistan has the largest Pashtun population has some kind of soft corner for TTP, according to some analyst Taliban is providing safe heaven for TTP. if issues are not resolved then the attacks are bound to increase in the coming years posing a huge national security threat to the Pakistani state.
Pakistan’s support for the Taliban kind of backfired on itself, Pakistan classifies Afghan Taliban as good Taliban and TTP as bad Taliban but we have to remember that terrorism of any kind is bad and destructive and poses a national security threat to any state and its people. As Hilary Clinton once said, “you can’t keep the snake in a backward and expect them to only bite your enemy, but one day it will come to you to bite”. The same thing happened with Pakistan which thought of having strategic depth in Afghanistan and dreamt of using the Taliban against India causing trouble in Kashmir and in other parts of India. If Pakistan wants to come out of its mess, then it must listen to Indian advice and should stop providing safe haven to terrorist outfits and its leaders, take active steps to prevent the radicalization of its masses, and make efforts in improving relations with its neighboring countries to slowly march towards gradual economic growth. As Gen Bajwa said its time to put “It’s time to put geoeconomics above geostrategic ambitions”.