Taliban appointed minister Amir Khan Muttaqi arrives at airport in Pakistan's Islamabad

The TTP shares “close and symbiotic” ties with the Afghan Taliban and is seeking a merger with the regional affiliates to expand its terror operations

The outlawed Islamabad-based terrorist group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakis­tan (TTP) is seeking a merger with the global Sunni pan-Islamist terrorism group Al-Qaeda to formulate an umbrella organisation to provide safe refuge to all the terror groups operating in South Asia, a report submitted to the UN Security Council on July 25 has warned. UN member states have expressed concerns that the TTP terrorists will affiliate with different foreign terror outfits, and will seek a merger with Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

The TTP shares “close and symbiotic” ties with the Afghan Taliban and is seeking a merger with the regional affiliates to expand its terror operations to Jammu and Kashmir, Bangladesh and Myanmar, the report on global operations of al-Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) by the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the UN Security Council said. While Al-Qaeda has an estimated 400 fighters in Afghanistan, its affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), has an estimated 200 fighters led by the emir of AQIS, Osama Mehmood.

Based on an internal investigation and assessment of a UN state that requested anonymity, the report unveiled that al-Qaeda is “shaping AQIS to spread its operations” into Jammu and Kashmir, Bangladesh and Myanmar. It continued that “certain limited elements of AQIS are ready to either join or collaborate with the Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISIL-K).”

“Some [UN] member states registered concern that TTP might provide an umbrella under which a range of foreign groups operate, or even coalesce, avoiding attempts at control by the Taliban,” the report that was submitted on July 28, Friday stated.

No Distinctions Between Al-Qaeda, Islamic State’s Khorasan, The TTP And Other Terrorist Groups?

The explosive report was compiled by the UN committee that is involved in monitoring global terrorist activities and was endorsed over Pakistan’s complaint that the terrorist group TTP has upped its influence across the region since the fall of Kabul to the fundamentalist faction Taliban and the exit of the US military. “One member state noted the possibility of [Al-Qaeda] and TTP merging. It assessed [Al-Qaeda] to be providing guidance to TTP for conducting increased attacks within Pakistan,” the report said. It outlined the recent terror attacks in Pakistan, warning that the TTP has been focusing on “high-value targets” in border areas and “soft targets” to launch its assaults in the urban areas.

It underscored that there would no longer be a distinction between Al-Qaeda, Islamic State’s Khorasan, the TTP and other terrorist groups as the association will be “blurred.” Their fighters tend to “identify with more than one group” and there is also “a tendency for people to gravitate towards the dominant or ascending power,” the states warned in the report. The “link between the Taliban and both Al-Qaeda and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remains strong and symbolic,” another document drafted by the UN sanctions monitoring team, said. “A range of terrorist groups have greater freedom of manoeuvre under the Taliban de facto authorities,” it noted.

“The TTP’s capability is assessed as not matching its ambitions, given that it does not control territory and lacks popular appeal in the tribal areas,” according to the report.

“The member states are concerned that the TTP could become a regional threat if it continues to have safe operating base in Afghanistan,” it continued.

Responding to the report submitted to the UN, the spokesman of the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed that details outlined in the document were ‘false.’ “The Security Council’s report that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has relations with the Al-Qaeda organisation is not true. The Al-Qaeda organisation has no presence in Afghanistan, and the reports are false. The Islamic Emirate does not allow anyone to use Afghanistan’s soil against the security of any other country,” Mujahid said in a tweet.