A think tank based in the Netherlands said that the rise of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, was aided by the Afghan Taliban’s unwavering support. This will increase the risk of terrorist attacks on Pakistan, including civilian targets.
The TTP has been the most powerful and violent anti-Pakistani terrorist organization in South Asia since its inception in 2007. TTP has no favourable relationships with Islamabad, unlike its Afghan counterpart.
The Taliban’s fall from Afghanistan in August 2013 has created a new level of uncertainty in South Asia’s security.
International observers are concerned that the Taliban could transform Afghanistan once more into a safe haven to terrorist groups, despite the organisation’s claims to the contrary. This is similar to what happened prior to the US-led invasion in Afghanistan in 2001.
The research paper was published by the Amsterdam-based thinktank. It stated that the Taliban’s behavior after the takeover of Kabul has also raised alarm bells in Pakistan. “This deterioration is primarily related to the Taliban’s support for Pakistani Taliban offshoots, known as TTP, with which the Taliban has claimed to be in’very good relations’,” stated the European Foundation for South Asian Studies. This independent think tank and policy research institution on South Asia.
TTP has made it clear that it will not target security personnel or security infrastructure. However, civilian casualties are inevitable from attacks and volatility.
What implications will Pakistan’s TTP’s resurgence have? EFSAS stated that the immediate answer is no positive: The TTP’s continued rise, enabled in part by Taliban’s unwavering support, will increase the threat of terrorist attacks on Pakistani civilian targets.”
This is the result of Pakistan’s distinction of ‘good’ Taliban and ‘bad Taliban (the TTP), and the inability of large sections of the establishment to stop its support for Islamic fundamentalism or terrorism.
“The distinction between a ‘good or bad’ Taliban has not taken into account the fact the TTP’s activities were inexorably linked and supported by the Taliban. ISKP’s continued presence in Afghanistan is a factor in Taliban’s struggle for political control. This makes it more difficult for the Taliban to contain the TTP and prevent ISKP-led defections. EFSAS stated, “It is unlikely that exerting pressure upon the Taliban to limit the cross-border activities by the TTP will produce satisfactory results.”
The think tank also argues that Islamabad is limited in its strategic options to combat the TTP by having the TTP operate out of Afghanistan. “Unless Pakistan is willing and able to seriously infringe Afghanistan’s sovereignty, such as by conducting cross-border aerial raids, Pakistan’s options for combating the TTP are very limited if the Taliban remain unwilling to contain it.”
According to the research paper, Pakistan’s options in containing TTP effectively are limited. Ironically, limiting the TTP will require some political settlement. Although the State is unlikely make significant political concessions that would threaten its long-term standing, it may make small concessions in exchange for a more lasting ceasefire.
EFSAS states that the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul by Pakistan was initially seen as a significant win. However, it has now been deemed a pyrrhic victory, leaving Islamabad with very few policy options.