The South-Asian part of the continent, particularly the bordering nations of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kyrgyzstan are known for fostering terrorism in their sleeves fueling them with indirect sources of diplomatic support and financial aid. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is the largest militant organization, which, in the past two decades, has manifested itself into an undeniable threat to the state of Pakistan itself, as the increased ties with China warrants a cleaner portrayal of the state’s image in the globe.
Although, Pakistan’s military actions along with the U.S. military inclusions in the Afghanistan circuit and factional infighting in the organization led to the TTP’s decline from 2014 to 2018. However, as the Taliban rose to the power gaining control of Afghanistan, a new, strong, and sound resurgence of Tehrik-e-Taliban is witnessed since the Afghan Taliban and U.S. government signed a peace deal in February 2020. Furthermore, since July 2020 numerous militant groups have merged with the TTP and as a result, the infused violence is exponentially increased. The violent streaks continue to accelerate as the same was witnessed in the Afghan Taliban’s takeover in Kabul in August 2021.
The Taliban-controlled Afghanistan has received a warm welcome from several political leaders of eminent states and therefore has provided a strong and unthinkable boost to the TTP. Consequently, an increase of 42% was observed in Pakistan in 2021. The TTP has itself claimed to have executed 282 attacks in 2021 and boasts to have killed more than 500 law enforcement personnel. The terrorist organization further claimed to have successfully engineered 42 attacks in January 2022. In more recent years, the Taliban, in accordance with their manifesto in 2018, has focused its recent attacks on security personnel in Pakistan’s western border regions. The most targets are security personnel, military officials, and intelligence agents deployed at remote locations and therefore, public information has been tightly controlled by the Pakistani state foreclosing any sensitization amongst the public.
In October 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan revealed during an interview mentioned that there are various groups in a coalition that form the Tehrik-e-Taliban, and some of them are willing to talk to the government in furtherance of maintaining peace. The Prime Minister has termed this as a reconciliation process. Furthermore, the foreign minister also hinted that Islamabad would be open to pardoning the terrorist organization if they laid down arms and surrender to Pakistan’s constitution. The public sentiment however is in contravention to the soft stance of Pakistan. The people feel that the government is grossly incompetent, spineless, and subservient to the terrorist organization. Strategical analysts also feel that Pakistan should re-adapt the aggressive outlook observed during the kinetic operations post 2014 and take on the terrorist organization militarily, and hold the TTP militants accountable for their actions, by prosecuting them.
The TTP is clearly resurgent and it is past time for Pakistan to take a bold and consistent approach towards the group. It is imperative for the nation to firstly clear with its robust intent to its citizenry about the roots of the TTP’s extremism and not cave in fear, attesting to the terrorist organization’s undue demands.