Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Resurgence

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TTP seem to be expanding its attacks to the Pakistani heart lands once again. For a long time the tactic was to limit the attacks to tribal region, KPK & Balochistan. Once again, TTP started claiming attacks in Punjab

1)TTP claimed responsibility for the killing of police officer

Mian Imran Abbas killed in Rawalpindi, Punjab. He was killed by motorcycle riding TTP gunman
20210308_042647.jpg
20210308_042650.jpg
 

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Motorcyclist gunman targeted police patroling unit in Islamabad

Militants targeted Police patroling unit in G-13 federal capital Islamabad, which killed a police officer Muhammad qasim. Attack also injured 2 other officers including an SI
20210308_043112.jpg
 

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TTP killed another police officer in Rawalpindi

Mujahideen have killed another thug in Rawalpindi

Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan's fully armed mujahideen on Thursday have fired and killed Sub inspector naveed who was on duty at carriage factory barrier in Rawalpindi. All praise to Allah.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan

Friday
12-Mar-21
28 Rajab 1442

 

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1)Attack on naPak army post in Bajur

Tehreek e Taliban Mujahideen on Tuesday have attacked naPak army post in Naava pass area in theseel Naavagai in bajur agency with light and heavy weapons.

Several army mercenaries were expected to have been killed or injured in the attack. All praise to Allah.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan

Tuesday
9-Mar-21
26 Rajab 1442

2)Missile attack on army fort in North waziristan

Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan's mujahideen on friday have fired missiles on naPak army fort in Damdel area in tehseel dosli in north waziristan

Missiles have landed inside the fort killing one mercenary and injuring several others while destroying property

All praise to Allah.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan

Friday
12-Mar-21
28 Rajab 1442
 

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1)Raid on 03 naPak army posts in Bajur agency

Tehreek e Taliban pakistan's mujahideen on Sunday evening attacked 03 naPak army posts in Tehseel Waara mamund in Bajur agency.

The raid was on posts in Dal kandao, dalser and supri area with 82mm, bm1 and other light and heavy weapons. As a result of the attack, all 03 posts were destroyed completely killing atleast 04 mercenaries and injuring many of them.

All praise to Allah.

The attack did not let napak army to recover nor any of mercenaries dare to fight and mujahideen with the help of Allah remain completely unharmed.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan

Monday
15-Mar-21
02 Shaban 1442


2)Sniper attack on naPak army in Bajur agency

Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan's mujahideen on Monday have killed a naPak army mercenary in a sniper attack in Hashimser area in Tehseel charming in Bajur agency.

All praise to Allah.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan

Monday
15-Mar-21
02 Shaban 1442
 

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Is TTP staging a comeback in Pakistan?

SAMAA | Roohan Ahmed
Posted: Mar 17, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 hour ago
samaa

Credit: Obair Khan

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the deadliest militant group in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region after the Afghan Taliban, appears to be staging a comeback in its former strongholds in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In the first two months of 2021, the group claimed at least 32 attacks in Pakistan. SAMAA Digital couldn’t verify the claims made by the TTP but the group is indeed trying to find a way back in its former strongholds and the country’s urban areas.

The killing of two policemen in Islamabad and Rawalpindi in two separate gun attacks on March 7 raised the alarm for Pakistani officials. Soon after the attacks, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said that major cities in Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad, were under threat from the TTP.

While law enforcers in Islamabad and Rawalpindi are still investigating the attacks, security agencies in Karachi have been on high alert.

Omar Shahid Hamid, a senior counter-terrorism police official, told SAMAA Digital that the TTP’s presence in Karachi can’t be denied.

“The TTP used to have a strong network in Karachi not long ago,” Hamid said. “It doesn’t exist anymore.”

The police official says the group has sleeper cells in Sindh and it’s not easy to detect them.

The police and Rangers have arrested or killed several suspected TTP militants in Karachi, Sukkur and other parts of Sindh in intelligence-based raids this year.

Unification of the TTP
Several groups, which had left the TTP after Fazlullah became its chief, rejoined the militant group last year under Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud. Noor Wali assumed the group’s command after Fazlullah’s killing in Afghanistan in 2018.

The homecoming of several such factions has boosted the TTP’s operational capacity, says Dr Amira Jadoon, a terrorism analyst and a professor at the Combating Terrorism Center in New York.

“Bringing experienced and highly lethal groups back into its fold is one easy way for the Pakistani Taliban to boost their operational capacity,” Dr Jadoon told SAMAA Digital.

The unification of militant groups was the first point on its new emir’s agenda. KP-based journalist Ihsan Tipu Mehsud said that Noor Wali always believed that rifts between TTP leaders weakened the group more than the military operations carried out by the Pakistan Army.

“He used to say that rifts destroyed the TTP and not the military operations,” the journalist said. Fazlullah was not a Mehsud Taliban (the founders of the group from the Mehsud tribe) and it weakened him as a leader, he said.

Pakistani security forces have killed hundreds of militants across the country in operations such as Zarb-e-Azb and Raddul Fasaad. The raids drove TTP fighters and leaders out of their strongholds in KP to the neighbouring Afghanistan.

“The attacks in North and South Waziristan have increased,” the journalist said. “Most of the attacks are carried out by Mehsud Taliban.”

Other experts believe that military operations are not enough to defeat groups such as the TTP.

“The Pakistani state’s response to the TTP was limited to a kinetic one, in the form of the Zarb-e-Azb military operation,” argued Madiha Afzal, the author of Pakistan under Siege: Extremism, Society and the State.

She said the country didn’t pay any attention to countering extremism in the population.

“Given that, it was only a matter of time before the group resurfaced — its pool of recruits to draw from remains intact,” she added.

‘Winning the hearts and minds’
Tipu says the TTP has focused most of its attacks on the police and security forces since it reorganized itself last year.

The attack on female NGO workers in North Waziristan last month was carried out by a splinter group and not the TTP itself, he added.

“The TTP appears to be following the strategy of winning the hearts and minds of local population,” the journalist said.

The attack left at least four women dead in North Waziristan’s Mir Ali area on February 23. According to the Pakistani military, the attack was carried out by the TTP’s Hafiz Gulbahadur group.

The TTP has not only increased attacks but intensified its propaganda too. For the first time in four years, it has released a statement on Aurat March.

On March 8 every year, women in Pakistan take to the streets to demand their rights and better opportunities. Right-wing groups have been opposing it since 2018 and their members actively try to counter the march on the streets as well as on social media platforms.

The TTP through its statement tried to cash in on the anti-Aurat March sentiment in the country.

“We want to send a message to the organisations that are actively spreading obscenity and vulgarity in our beloved Pakistan,” it said, referring to the marchers.

“Fix your ways, there are still many young Muslims here who know how to protect Islam and the boundaries set by Allah.”

Dr Jadoon sees the TTP statement against Aurat March as an attempt to become “politically relevant” in the country.

“Their statement against Aurat March shows that they are trying to increase their influence and visibility, and potentially appeal to audiences who may be against Aurat March,” she said.

Madiha Afzal had similar thoughts. She said the Pakistani state needs to “forcefully counter the TTP’s recent public statement, including those targeting Aurat March”.

“Branding the TTP as an Indian conspiracy against Pakistan, as the state has done, without heeding on its local roots is a misguided and an ultimately counterproductive approach,” the author said.
 

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Is TTP staging a comeback in Pakistan?

SAMAA | Roohan Ahmed
Posted: Mar 17, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 hour ago
samaa

Credit: Obair Khan

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the deadliest militant group in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region after the Afghan Taliban, appears to be staging a comeback in its former strongholds in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In the first two months of 2021, the group claimed at least 32 attacks in Pakistan. SAMAA Digital couldn’t verify the claims made by the TTP but the group is indeed trying to find a way back in its former strongholds and the country’s urban areas.

The killing of two policemen in Islamabad and Rawalpindi in two separate gun attacks on March 7 raised the alarm for Pakistani officials. Soon after the attacks, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said that major cities in Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad, were under threat from the TTP.

While law enforcers in Islamabad and Rawalpindi are still investigating the attacks, security agencies in Karachi have been on high alert.

Omar Shahid Hamid, a senior counter-terrorism police official, told SAMAA Digital that the TTP’s presence in Karachi can’t be denied.

“The TTP used to have a strong network in Karachi not long ago,” Hamid said. “It doesn’t exist anymore.”

The police official says the group has sleeper cells in Sindh and it’s not easy to detect them.

The police and Rangers have arrested or killed several suspected TTP militants in Karachi, Sukkur and other parts of Sindh in intelligence-based raids this year.

Unification of the TTP
Several groups, which had left the TTP after Fazlullah became its chief, rejoined the militant group last year under Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud. Noor Wali assumed the group’s command after Fazlullah’s killing in Afghanistan in 2018.

The homecoming of several such factions has boosted the TTP’s operational capacity, says Dr Amira Jadoon, a terrorism analyst and a professor at the Combating Terrorism Center in New York.

“Bringing experienced and highly lethal groups back into its fold is one easy way for the Pakistani Taliban to boost their operational capacity,” Dr Jadoon told SAMAA Digital.

The unification of militant groups was the first point on its new emir’s agenda. KP-based journalist Ihsan Tipu Mehsud said that Noor Wali always believed that rifts between TTP leaders weakened the group more than the military operations carried out by the Pakistan Army.

“He used to say that rifts destroyed the TTP and not the military operations,” the journalist said. Fazlullah was not a Mehsud Taliban (the founders of the group from the Mehsud tribe) and it weakened him as a leader, he said.

Pakistani security forces have killed hundreds of militants across the country in operations such as Zarb-e-Azb and Raddul Fasaad. The raids drove TTP fighters and leaders out of their strongholds in KP to the neighbouring Afghanistan.

“The attacks in North and South Waziristan have increased,” the journalist said. “Most of the attacks are carried out by Mehsud Taliban.”

Other experts believe that military operations are not enough to defeat groups such as the TTP.

“The Pakistani state’s response to the TTP was limited to a kinetic one, in the form of the Zarb-e-Azb military operation,” argued Madiha Afzal, the author of Pakistan under Siege: Extremism, Society and the State.

She said the country didn’t pay any attention to countering extremism in the population.

“Given that, it was only a matter of time before the group resurfaced — its pool of recruits to draw from remains intact,” she added.

‘Winning the hearts and minds’
Tipu says the TTP has focused most of its attacks on the police and security forces since it reorganized itself last year.

The attack on female NGO workers in North Waziristan last month was carried out by a splinter group and not the TTP itself, he added.

“The TTP appears to be following the strategy of winning the hearts and minds of local population,” the journalist said.

The attack left at least four women dead in North Waziristan’s Mir Ali area on February 23. According to the Pakistani military, the attack was carried out by the TTP’s Hafiz Gulbahadur group.

The TTP has not only increased attacks but intensified its propaganda too. For the first time in four years, it has released a statement on Aurat March.

On March 8 every year, women in Pakistan take to the streets to demand their rights and better opportunities. Right-wing groups have been opposing it since 2018 and their members actively try to counter the march on the streets as well as on social media platforms.

The TTP through its statement tried to cash in on the anti-Aurat March sentiment in the country.

“We want to send a message to the organisations that are actively spreading obscenity and vulgarity in our beloved Pakistan,” it said, referring to the marchers.

“Fix your ways, there are still many young Muslims here who know how to protect Islam and the boundaries set by Allah.”

Dr Jadoon sees the TTP statement against Aurat March as an attempt to become “politically relevant” in the country.

“Their statement against Aurat March shows that they are trying to increase their influence and visibility, and potentially appeal to audiences who may be against Aurat March,” she said.

Madiha Afzal had similar thoughts. She said the Pakistani state needs to “forcefully counter the TTP’s recent public statement, including those targeting Aurat March”.

“Branding the TTP as an Indian conspiracy against Pakistan, as the state has done, without heeding on its local roots is a misguided and an ultimately counterproductive approach,” the author said.

Waziristan is turning into a graveyard for Pakistan Army now. 32 attack in 60 days
naPak army mercenaries killed in bajur agency

Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan's mujahideen in 02 attacks on Wednesday morning have killed 02 naPak army mercenaries in cagi candao in tehseel wara mamund in bajur agency

one mercenary was killed in sniper attack and the 2nd was killed by an ambush.
All praise to Allah.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan

Tuesday
17-Mar-21
04 Shaban 1442
 

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Big attack on naPak army in Bajur agency

Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan's mujahideen on Thursday have raided several posts of naPak army in Totiano kando in theseel salarzai in bajur agency.

In the raids mujahideen have used light & heavy weapons thereby inflicting heavy men & material losses to napak army.

All praise to Allah.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan

Tuesday
25-Mar-21
12 Shaban 1442
 
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Attack on police and naPak army

A rocket was fired 02 days ago at an armored vehicle of police in limits of Kolachi police station in Dera Ismail Khan . In the attack the vehicle got destroyed and two police thugs were severely injured.

Likewise, napak army mercenaries were attacked in twice in Loanri and Manrae areas of Tehseel kolachi. In these attacks several of napak mercenaries were killed or injured

All praise to Allah.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan

Tuesday
27-Mar-21
14 Shaban 1442
 
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Spike in Violence Follows Failed Negotiations Between the Pakistani Taliban and Islamabad


Sources reveal secret negotiations between Pakistan’s government and the TTP, which ultimately fell apart.

Franz J. Marty
By Franz J. Marty
April 03, 2021

Spike in Violence Follows Failed Negotiations Between the Pakistani Taliban and Islamabad
In this Aug. 5, 2012, file photo, Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan.


KABUL / JALALABAD — During 2020, the Pakistani government and the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has, since its inception in December 2007, been openly fighting the Pakistani government, conducted secret peace negotiations, militant sources exclusively confirmed to The Diplomat. While these negotiations went into much detail, the talks eventually collapsed in late 2020 or early 2021 with no indication that they might resume. To the contrary, a spike of attacks claimed by the TTP indicates that they are back on the war path, which has consequences for Pakistan’s tribal areas and beyond.

Negotiations Between the TTP and the Pakistani Government

That the TTP and the Pakistani government were negotiating peace was confirmed by two active TTP members residing in eastern Afghanistan, as well as a former insurgent who is still well-connected amongst TTP members.

The TTP members were reluctant to share details and TTP spokesman Mohammad Khorasani could not be reached despite repeated attempts. But the former insurgent, who is in regular contact with TTP members, outlined what was discussed during negotiations under the condition of anonymity. “The negotiations took place during 2020 and were facilitated by the Haqqani Network,” the source asserted. The Haqqani Network, a militant organization that emerged in the borderlands of southeastern Afghanistan during the Afghan resistance against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, has become an integral part of the Afghan Taliban and is said to have close ties to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

That the Haqqani Network has facilitated talks between the TTP and the Pakistani government was also briefly mentioned in an op-ed by Ehsanullah Ehsan, a former TTP spokesman, that was published on November 28, 2020. While Ehsan has a checkered history and is not necessarily a reliable source, Abdul Sayed, an analyst closely following the TTP, in early February 2021 also corroborated that there have been rumors about negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistani government mediated by the Haqqani Network.

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The former insurgent further sent The Diplomat a list of over 10 items that had reportedly been part of negotiations. Among the most important points was that TTP members shall cease all their attacks in Pakistan. In return, the Pakistani government would have released all imprisoned TTP members. Talks apparently proceeded to the point that TTP field commanders were instructed to compile lists of their detained brothers-in-arms. In addition and in case of a successful accord, the Pakistani Army would have withdrawn from several former Federally Administered Tribal Agencies, whereas the TTP would have pledged to guard the border in such areas.

According to the source, the TTP would also have been allowed to implement a Shariah-based system in tribal agencies vacated by the Pakistani Army, although the extent of this remained unclear. It should be kept in mind that, back in February 2009, the Pakistani government had likewise agreed to allow the implementation of Shariah law in the Swat valley and Malakand division, but this deal more or less fell apart when violence erupted again in these and surrounding areas a little later.

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Other points that were, according to the source, meant to be part of a new, comprehensive agreement concerned financial compensation for killed and wounded TTP members, for certain heavy weapons that the TTP would have had to hand over to the Pakistani government, as well as for expenses for final negotiations. The Pakistani state reportedly also insisted that the TTP would have to conduct final negotiations as a united front comprising all its splinter groups.

The latter point is interesting as several TTP splinter groups – most notably Jamaat ul-Ahrar and Hezb ul-Ahrar – have indeed reunited with the TTP main group since summer 2020. It remains unclear though what role, if any, the secret negotiations may have played in this reunification. Some reports note that bringing splinter groups back into the fold of the main TTP has been a personal focus of Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, the man who became the main TTP leader after his divisive predecessor Mullah Fazlullah was killed in a U.S. drone strike in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar in June 2018.

Furthermore, the former insurgent, who still follows TTP developments closely through his numerous friends in the movement, asserted that yet another party also played a role in the recent TTP merger. “Al-Qaida members were present in the jirgas [traditional meetings] that led to the re-unification. Given the animosity between the TTP main group and TTP splinter groups such jirgas would not have been possible without the mediation by al-Qaida members,” the source said. A United Nations report dated February 3, 2021 corroborated this, stating that the reunification of TPP splinter groups “was moderated by al-Qaida.”

Al-Qaida’s exact reasons for this move could not be determined. However, Asfandyar Mir, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, told The Diplomat that “the TTP’s leadership has been a powerful ally of al-Qaida in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, amongst others hosting top al-Qaida figures,” which means that al-Qaida has a vested interest in a strong TTP. In view of all this, an official TTP communiqué asserting that no “global [jihadi] organization” played a role in the merger sounds hollow.

In any event, by mid-December 2020 everything still looked good, with the former insurgent at that time having told The Diplomat that the official announcement of the negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistani government would be imminent. “One TTP member, whom I know and who lives in eastern Afghanistan, had already gifted an opened, but still half-full bag of flour to his Afghan neighbor as he was certain that he would return to Pakistan soon,” the source remembered.

Collapse of Talks

But only a little later, either in late December 2020 or in early January 2021 negotiations broke down. This was confirmed to The Diplomat by an active TTP member, who only said that the TTP rejected certain conditions without elaborating. The former insurgent stated, though, that the conditions that were unacceptable to the TTP would have amounted to the TTP becoming a proxy force of the Pakistani government. This echoes warnings voiced by former TTP spokesman Ehsan in the op-ed cited above. However, this should be taken with utmost caution Ehsan’s text is undoubtedly biased and the former insurgent who spoke to The Diplomat is also prejudiced against the Pakistani government.

Another cause for the collapse of the negotiations might have been dissent within the TTP. While not explicitly mentioning this as a reason for the failure of talks, the former insurgent told The Diplomat that “some, in particular younger TTP members, were opposed to negotiations as they thought that Pakistan would deceive the TTP and saw the proposed settlement as an undue capitulation to the Pakistani government.” Whether or not internal dissent was a significant reason for the collapse of the negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistani government, the reported reaction of some more radical TTP elements shows that chances to successfully negotiate with fundamentalist jihadist groups might have narrow limitations.

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It is also possible that the distrust between the TTP and the Pakistani government might have simply been too much to overcome. “There have been occasional contacts between the Pakistani government and certain TTP factions in the recent past, but they have never made any headway due to distrust between the involved parties,” Rahimullah Yusufzai, a veteran Pakistani journalist and analyst, said, referring to other examples.

The Pakistani Ministries of Foreign and Interior Affairs, as well as the Inter Services Public Relations, the Pakistani military’s media office, did not reply to a request for comments on the mentioned talks and their collapse.

Spike in Violence and Other Potential Consequences

The failure of these secret negotiations likely played a role in a spike in TTP claimed violence in early 2021. One example of the recent increase in violence was that the TTP claimed to have killed and injured over 57 Pakistani security forces between February 12 and 19 alone, in separate incidents that took mostly part in South and North Waziristan. Yusufzai also confirmed a general increase in TTP attacks in early 2021, explaining that this was probably caused by an array of reasons, including the recent reunification of TTP splinter groups with the main movement.

While this obviously has the potential to once again cause a deterioration of the security situation in the tribal areas of Pakistan, a reinvigorated and attacking TTP might also be bad news beyond that. The country that is most likely to be affected by a resurgent TTP is neighboring Afghanistan.

According to a report of the United Nations from May 2020 the TTP “is thought to have approximately 500 fighters in Kunar and about 180 in Nangarhar,” both provinces in eastern Afghanistan. The same report also notes that the “total number of Pakistani nationals fighting with terrorist groups in Afghanistan may be as high as 6,000 to 6,500,” which apparently also includes Pakistani fighters that do not belong to the TTP. While these numbers could not be independently verified, this author has himself met TTP members in Nangarhar. People who are in contact with TTP members and have visited the respective places have also told The Diplomat about significant TTP presences in parts of Kunar province, namely in areas of the districts of Shultan and Ghaziabad. In addition, sources also indicate a relevant TTP presence in Afghanistan’s southeastern province of Paktika.

That said, TTP members have in the past only seldom staged attacks inside Afghanistan and their relationship with the Afghan Taliban, at least in eastern Afghanistan, has oscillated between cooperation and outright hostility, including killings. However, this does not mean that it has to stay this way. Indeed, a bloody ambush on a convoy of the Khost Protection Force, a local militia loyal to the Afghan government and reportedly backed by the United States, that took place on March 9 in an area of the southeastern Afghan province of Khost near the disputed border with Pakistan was reportedly conducted by a group of Afghan Taliban and TTP members. While it is too early to assess whether this attack has been an exception or whether it is a sign for more to come, it is a concerning sign.

Whether or to what extent a reinvigorated TTP might also be a threat beyond the immediate region is even harder to determine. On one hand, on September 1, 2010, the United States designated the TTP as a foreign terrorist organization. This designation, which is still in place, was caused due to reported TTP involvement in attacks against U.S. targets, including a failed attempt to bomb Times Square in New York on May 1, 2010. However, in the recent past, the TTP has attempted to style itself as a regionally or even nationally focused movement and it seems, at least at the moment, unlikely that the TTP would aim to attack targets outside the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. On the other hand, the above-cited findings indicate that the TTP remains allied with al-Qaida – which, in turn, might mean that a more assertive TTP could give al-Qaida more breathing space in the Pakistani tribal areas. Al-Qaida could then use this foothold to attempt to facilitate internationally-oriented attacks.

The collapsed negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistani government seem to make at least one thing clear: Pakistan’s tribal areas won’t come to rest any time soon.
 
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Spike in Violence Follows Failed Negotiations Between the Pakistani Taliban and Islamabad


Sources reveal secret negotiations between Pakistan’s government and the TTP, which ultimately fell apart.

Franz J. Marty
By Franz J. Marty
April 03, 2021

Spike in Violence Follows Failed Negotiations Between the Pakistani Taliban and Islamabad
In this Aug. 5, 2012, file photo, Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan.


KABUL / JALALABAD — During 2020, the Pakistani government and the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has, since its inception in December 2007, been openly fighting the Pakistani government, conducted secret peace negotiations, militant sources exclusively confirmed to The Diplomat. While these negotiations went into much detail, the talks eventually collapsed in late 2020 or early 2021 with no indication that they might resume. To the contrary, a spike of attacks claimed by the TTP indicates that they are back on the war path, which has consequences for Pakistan’s tribal areas and beyond.

Negotiations Between the TTP and the Pakistani Government

That the TTP and the Pakistani government were negotiating peace was confirmed by two active TTP members residing in eastern Afghanistan, as well as a former insurgent who is still well-connected amongst TTP members.

The TTP members were reluctant to share details and TTP spokesman Mohammad Khorasani could not be reached despite repeated attempts. But the former insurgent, who is in regular contact with TTP members, outlined what was discussed during negotiations under the condition of anonymity. “The negotiations took place during 2020 and were facilitated by the Haqqani Network,” the source asserted. The Haqqani Network, a militant organization that emerged in the borderlands of southeastern Afghanistan during the Afghan resistance against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, has become an integral part of the Afghan Taliban and is said to have close ties to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

That the Haqqani Network has facilitated talks between the TTP and the Pakistani government was also briefly mentioned in an op-ed by Ehsanullah Ehsan, a former TTP spokesman, that was published on November 28, 2020. While Ehsan has a checkered history and is not necessarily a reliable source, Abdul Sayed, an analyst closely following the TTP, in early February 2021 also corroborated that there have been rumors about negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistani government mediated by the Haqqani Network.

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The former insurgent further sent The Diplomat a list of over 10 items that had reportedly been part of negotiations. Among the most important points was that TTP members shall cease all their attacks in Pakistan. In return, the Pakistani government would have released all imprisoned TTP members. Talks apparently proceeded to the point that TTP field commanders were instructed to compile lists of their detained brothers-in-arms. In addition and in case of a successful accord, the Pakistani Army would have withdrawn from several former Federally Administered Tribal Agencies, whereas the TTP would have pledged to guard the border in such areas.

According to the source, the TTP would also have been allowed to implement a Shariah-based system in tribal agencies vacated by the Pakistani Army, although the extent of this remained unclear. It should be kept in mind that, back in February 2009, the Pakistani government had likewise agreed to allow the implementation of Shariah law in the Swat valley and Malakand division, but this deal more or less fell apart when violence erupted again in these and surrounding areas a little later.

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Other points that were, according to the source, meant to be part of a new, comprehensive agreement concerned financial compensation for killed and wounded TTP members, for certain heavy weapons that the TTP would have had to hand over to the Pakistani government, as well as for expenses for final negotiations. The Pakistani state reportedly also insisted that the TTP would have to conduct final negotiations as a united front comprising all its splinter groups.

The latter point is interesting as several TTP splinter groups – most notably Jamaat ul-Ahrar and Hezb ul-Ahrar – have indeed reunited with the TTP main group since summer 2020. It remains unclear though what role, if any, the secret negotiations may have played in this reunification. Some reports note that bringing splinter groups back into the fold of the main TTP has been a personal focus of Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, the man who became the main TTP leader after his divisive predecessor Mullah Fazlullah was killed in a U.S. drone strike in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar in June 2018.

Furthermore, the former insurgent, who still follows TTP developments closely through his numerous friends in the movement, asserted that yet another party also played a role in the recent TTP merger. “Al-Qaida members were present in the jirgas [traditional meetings] that led to the re-unification. Given the animosity between the TTP main group and TTP splinter groups such jirgas would not have been possible without the mediation by al-Qaida members,” the source said. A United Nations report dated February 3, 2021 corroborated this, stating that the reunification of TPP splinter groups “was moderated by al-Qaida.”

Al-Qaida’s exact reasons for this move could not be determined. However, Asfandyar Mir, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, told The Diplomat that “the TTP’s leadership has been a powerful ally of al-Qaida in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, amongst others hosting top al-Qaida figures,” which means that al-Qaida has a vested interest in a strong TTP. In view of all this, an official TTP communiqué asserting that no “global [jihadi] organization” played a role in the merger sounds hollow.

In any event, by mid-December 2020 everything still looked good, with the former insurgent at that time having told The Diplomat that the official announcement of the negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistani government would be imminent. “One TTP member, whom I know and who lives in eastern Afghanistan, had already gifted an opened, but still half-full bag of flour to his Afghan neighbor as he was certain that he would return to Pakistan soon,” the source remembered.

Collapse of Talks

But only a little later, either in late December 2020 or in early January 2021 negotiations broke down. This was confirmed to The Diplomat by an active TTP member, who only said that the TTP rejected certain conditions without elaborating. The former insurgent stated, though, that the conditions that were unacceptable to the TTP would have amounted to the TTP becoming a proxy force of the Pakistani government. This echoes warnings voiced by former TTP spokesman Ehsan in the op-ed cited above. However, this should be taken with utmost caution Ehsan’s text is undoubtedly biased and the former insurgent who spoke to The Diplomat is also prejudiced against the Pakistani government.

Another cause for the collapse of the negotiations might have been dissent within the TTP. While not explicitly mentioning this as a reason for the failure of talks, the former insurgent told The Diplomat that “some, in particular younger TTP members, were opposed to negotiations as they thought that Pakistan would deceive the TTP and saw the proposed settlement as an undue capitulation to the Pakistani government.” Whether or not internal dissent was a significant reason for the collapse of the negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistani government, the reported reaction of some more radical TTP elements shows that chances to successfully negotiate with fundamentalist jihadist groups might have narrow limitations.

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It is also possible that the distrust between the TTP and the Pakistani government might have simply been too much to overcome. “There have been occasional contacts between the Pakistani government and certain TTP factions in the recent past, but they have never made any headway due to distrust between the involved parties,” Rahimullah Yusufzai, a veteran Pakistani journalist and analyst, said, referring to other examples.

The Pakistani Ministries of Foreign and Interior Affairs, as well as the Inter Services Public Relations, the Pakistani military’s media office, did not reply to a request for comments on the mentioned talks and their collapse.

Spike in Violence and Other Potential Consequences

The failure of these secret negotiations likely played a role in a spike in TTP claimed violence in early 2021. One example of the recent increase in violence was that the TTP claimed to have killed and injured over 57 Pakistani security forces between February 12 and 19 alone, in separate incidents that took mostly part in South and North Waziristan. Yusufzai also confirmed a general increase in TTP attacks in early 2021, explaining that this was probably caused by an array of reasons, including the recent reunification of TTP splinter groups with the main movement.

While this obviously has the potential to once again cause a deterioration of the security situation in the tribal areas of Pakistan, a reinvigorated and attacking TTP might also be bad news beyond that. The country that is most likely to be affected by a resurgent TTP is neighboring Afghanistan.

According to a report of the United Nations from May 2020 the TTP “is thought to have approximately 500 fighters in Kunar and about 180 in Nangarhar,” both provinces in eastern Afghanistan. The same report also notes that the “total number of Pakistani nationals fighting with terrorist groups in Afghanistan may be as high as 6,000 to 6,500,” which apparently also includes Pakistani fighters that do not belong to the TTP. While these numbers could not be independently verified, this author has himself met TTP members in Nangarhar. People who are in contact with TTP members and have visited the respective places have also told The Diplomat about significant TTP presences in parts of Kunar province, namely in areas of the districts of Shultan and Ghaziabad. In addition, sources also indicate a relevant TTP presence in Afghanistan’s southeastern province of Paktika.

That said, TTP members have in the past only seldom staged attacks inside Afghanistan and their relationship with the Afghan Taliban, at least in eastern Afghanistan, has oscillated between cooperation and outright hostility, including killings. However, this does not mean that it has to stay this way. Indeed, a bloody ambush on a convoy of the Khost Protection Force, a local militia loyal to the Afghan government and reportedly backed by the United States, that took place on March 9 in an area of the southeastern Afghan province of Khost near the disputed border with Pakistan was reportedly conducted by a group of Afghan Taliban and TTP members. While it is too early to assess whether this attack has been an exception or whether it is a sign for more to come, it is a concerning sign.

Whether or to what extent a reinvigorated TTP might also be a threat beyond the immediate region is even harder to determine. On one hand, on September 1, 2010, the United States designated the TTP as a foreign terrorist organization. This designation, which is still in place, was caused due to reported TTP involvement in attacks against U.S. targets, including a failed attempt to bomb Times Square in New York on May 1, 2010. However, in the recent past, the TTP has attempted to style itself as a regionally or even nationally focused movement and it seems, at least at the moment, unlikely that the TTP would aim to attack targets outside the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. On the other hand, the above-cited findings indicate that the TTP remains allied with al-Qaida – which, in turn, might mean that a more assertive TTP could give al-Qaida more breathing space in the Pakistani tribal areas. Al-Qaida could then use this foothold to attempt to facilitate internationally-oriented attacks.

The collapsed negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistani government seem to make at least one thing clear: Pakistan’s tribal areas won’t come to rest any time soon.

Pakistan Army attempting to negotiate with TTP is again an acknowledgement of heavy losses taking in Western front by Pakistan Army. With the reunification, TTP is now at its strongest after 2014. The Pakistani offer to TTP was

1) Giving control of Waziristan to TTP
2) Sharia law in tribal area
3) TTP protecting the border with Afghanistan

Pakistan also demanded TTP to work as a ISI proxy force in Afghanistan like the good old days, a demand TTP rejected
 
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1) Conflicting attack on army in Bajaur Agency

On Wednesday morning, Mujahidin of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) launched a counter attack on the posts and scouts of the Napak army in Dande Sar area of Loi Mamond Tehsil of Bajaur Agency.

The attack used light and heavy weapons, including 82mm, which targeted several military posts in the compound at close range.

Three soldiers and five others were injured in the attack while military structures were also damaged and Mujahideen remained completely safe. Praise be to Allah.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan

18 Sha'ban Al-Mu'azzam / 1442 AH - 31 / March / 2021

2)A military vehicle was blown up by a mine in Bajaur

Two days ago, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) mine masters blew up an pakistan army vehicle in Matak Sar area of Charmang Tehsil of Bajaur Agency.

The blast killed three personnel in the vehicle and completely destroyed the vehicle. "Alhamdulillah."

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan

20 Sha'ban Al-Mu'azzam / 1442 AH - 2 / April / 2021 AH

3)Three soldiers killed in North Waziristan

Yesterday, in North Waziristan Tehsil Dosli Khaisur Neski Kali, an ambush was carried out on the personnel carrying foot supplies for the posts of Napak Pakistan army, as a result of which the slave army's soldiers were killed on the spot. Alhamdulillah

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan

Saturday
21 / Sha'ban / 1442 AH
April 3, 2021

4) Police thug targeted in Bannu

Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan's target killer mujahideen on Monday targeted and killed a police thug named Sadiq Khan in Town ship area in District Bannu

All praise to Allah.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan

Monday
5-Apr-21
24 Shaban 1442

5)ISI Spy disguised as Praryer leader killed

Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan's mujahideen from secret unit TIA have targeted and killed in Takht bhai ganjai kali area, a surrendered ex taliban commander Mian umer shah s/o mian syed ali shah, who was hidding as Prayer leader while spying for ISI. All praise to Allah.

The said thug not only surrendered to naPak army and accepted their authority but also started working shoulder to shoulder with napak army by spying against Taliban mujahideen. Whenever some mujahid got arrested this person takes on the duty of interrogation and torturing him.

Last year he organised through his nephew the martydom of an important commander of Tehreek e Taliban commander Naik Muhammad later Taliban mujahideen killed his nephew for the same.

This will be the end of every one who challenge the Authority of Allah by submitting to unislamic, represive and temporary writ of Government and army.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan

Saturday
10-Apr-21
28 Shaban 1442
 

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03 operations by mujahideen in North waziristan

Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan's Mujahideen on friday have attacked napak army post adjcent to market in Tehseel mir ali in north waziristan.

second attack was on napak army convoy in which one vehicle was bombed in moski area in tehseel mir ali. In third attack muhajideen ambushed an army castle near mir ali market.

In all 03 operations several napak army mercenaries were killed and injured while one vehicle and a lot of other items were destroyed.

All praise to Allah.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan

Sunday
11-Apr-21
29 Shaban 1442
 

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Two operations of Mujahideen in Zhob area.

Between Saturday and Sunday night, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Mujahideen ambushed a vehicle of FC personnel in Khosai Ghatta area of Zhob district of Balochistan province, killing four personnel and injuring two others.

A nearby police station, Kundralgad, was also attacked, which was completely engulfed in flames, killing and injuring several policemen.
Praise be to Allah. (Alhamdulillah)

Video recordings of the attack have also been made, which will be published on Umar Media soon, InshaAllah.

Muhammad Khurasani
Spokesperson: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan

Monday
30 / Sha'ban al-Mu'azzam / 1442 AH April 12, 2021