As TTP Attacks Mount, Pakistan Runs out of Patience With Afghan Taliban

Islamabad: Pakistan once believed that the Afghan Taliban is a "strategic asset" but today it has turned into a foe, according to a report in The Khaama Press.

The conflict between Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban was initiated after the "Taliban took over Kabul on August 15, 2021. The deep state in Pakistan, once believed the Taliban would help them build "strategic depth" in Afghanistan. Yet the same Afghan Taliban, once hailed as a "strategic asset" has today turned into a foe. Imran Khan, then PM of Pakistan, declared that the Taliban had through its takeover, broken "the shackles of slavery. Many other Pakistanis also celebrated. Today, they are rueing their statements!", according to the Khaama Press report.

The report also said that: "Within a few days of their victory, the new rulers of Kabul released members of the Pakistani Taliban (known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP) who had been imprisoned in Afghan jails, the same people who have spent years waging war on the Islamabad government."

Taliban refused to accept the Durand Line, the Pakistan-Afghanistan border drawn by the British over a century ago.

After the fall of Kabul, Pakistan wanted to keep the US happy while also maintaining its support for the Afghan-Taliban. The policy, an ambiguous one, kept no one happy.

Pakistan's Lt. General Faiz Hameed, earlier the Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), flew to Kabul in mid-2021 to support the Taliban's efforts against the Panjshir fighters in Northern Afghanistan.

Hameed again visited Kabul in 2022 to persuade the Afghan Taliban to work out a peace deal with the TTP. He, however, failed the mission. The TTP, as a result, came back back to Pakistan. The terrorist attacks in Pakistan have since increased by 51 per cent.

According to The Khaama Press report, "The current situation on the border arose subsequent to General Asim Munir taking over as the new Chief of the Pakistani army. The next day, four civilians were killed in a suicide bombing in Pakistan; the TTP claimed responsibility."

"General Asim Munir presided over a meeting of senior generals at General Headquarters (GHQs) in Rawalpindi soon after taking over. It was decided to launch military operations against the TTP in KPK and northern Balochistan. The decision to launch the military operation followed the attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul earlier in December 2022 and the Afghan Border Forces' attack on the Chaman Border that resulted in the deaths of six Pakistani civilians," according to the Khaama Press report.

During a recent counter-terrorism operation in Banu, the TTP fighters took police personnel hostage and asked for their safe passage to Afghanistan in return for the hostages.

The Afghan Taliban is now challenging Pakistan through the TTP.