Amsterdam: The escalating conflict between Pakistan and the Taliban could pose serious challenges to regional peace, said Amsterdam-based think tank in its commentary on Friday.

Pointing out the “sardonic twist of fate,” the think tank stated that Pakistan this week became the first country to formally accuse the Taliban regime.

Islamabad had painstakingly nurtured and harboured anti-Pakistan terrorist groups and allowed them the freedom to launch cross-border attacks against Pakistani forces and interests from within Afghan territory, the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) said.

Despite ample support, a rift has emerged between the two over the growing terror activity of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Recently, in the attack by the TTP since the Taliban grabbed power, at least five Pakistani soldiers were killed at a border post by firing from neighbouring Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Taliban, on its part, denied that the firing had come from within Afghan territory, EFSAS reported.

It further reported that the TTP has stepped up attacks since it unilaterally walked out of a month-long ceasefire agreement brokered by the Taliban in early December after accusing Islamabad of not fulfilling its promises.

Pakistani officials are convinced that the Taliban has turned a blind eye to TTP activities since returning to power. Islamabad, after trying to downplay security threats and other challenges from Afghan soil for some time now, seems to be at a juncture where it is running out of patience with the Taliban, EFSAS reported.

Highlighting another attack from Afghanistan soil, the think tank said, attacks by Baloch groups based in Afghanistan against Pakistani and Chinese interests in Baluchistan have also become more frequent, more sophisticated, and more lethal.

The TTP attack last weekend came just a day after the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), which seeks self-determination for the Baloch people and separation of Baluchistan province from Pakistan, claimed to have killed over 100 Pakistani soldiers in two separate attacks on Frontier Corps bases in Baluchistan's Panjgur and Noshki districts, EFSAS reported.

Although the Pakistan Army only acknowledged a much smaller number of casualties in the BLA attacks, the figure of 9 soldiers was nonetheless substantial, the think tank said.

According to the think tank, a BLA statement of February 5 claimed that the BLA’s Majeed Brigade had held control of the army’s Panjgur camp for 60 hours, and had repelled an attempt by the Pakistan military’s Special Services Group when it tried to retake the camp.

The BLA is strongly opposed to Chinese investment in Baluchistan, including at the port of Gwadar. It believes that the Pakistan army, hand in glove with China, is colonizing and exploiting the region’s rich mineral and energy resources, EFSAS reported.

EFSAS further reported that it is not just the Baloch groups that have been targeting Chinese interests in Pakistan. In 2021, as the Taliban advanced in Afghanistan, TTP members intensified their assaults in Pakistan and undertook at least two attacks targeting Chinese workers and the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan. The Taliban and the TTP share strong historical, ideological, cultural, ethnic and linguistic linkages, which make it very difficult for Kabul to act against the TTP.