Pakistan-Afghanistan conflict: Pakistan is quietly encouraging the Afghan Taliban government to neutralise the threat posed by the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) after the banned militant outfit in recent months have stepped up terrorist attacks across the country, according to a media report on Wednesday.
However, it has emerged from the efforts so far that the interim government in Kabul still sticks to its earlier stance that the only way to resolve the TTP issue is through dialogue, The Express Tribune quoted officials familiar with the development as saying.
Pakistan pursued peace talks with the terror outfit at the request of the Afghan Taliban. Initially, talks produced some results as the group agreed to a ceasefire in return for Pakistan allowing certain TTP members to return home.
Ceasefire violation continues near Afghan-Pak border
The ceasefire, however, collapsed after the group continued to target security officials, ramping up their attacks in recent months. In the last three months alone, the TTP, which wants to impose the law of Sharia across Pakistan, claimed responsibility for over 150 terrorist attacks. The flurry of attacks compelled the country’s civil and military leadership to revisit the Afghan strategy.
Earlier this month, the National Security Committee (NSC) held an extended meeting for two days to discuss the spike in terrorist attacks. The civil and military leadership decided not to pursue talks with the TTP and conveyed the same to the Afghan Taliban. The Express Tribune quoted sources as saying that in line with the decision of NSC, the Afghan government was told that Kabul will have to neutralise the TTP threat as promised in the Doha agreement as well as bilateral meetings between the two countries.
"Afghan Taliban government was adamant"
To avoid any deterioration in ties, Pakistan persuaded the Afghan Taliban behind closed doors. The Afghan Taliban government, which relies heavily on Pakistan’s crucial support, was informed that the failure to address the TTP issue would only complicate bilateral ties between the two neighbours, forcing Islamabad to halt cooperation.
Sources, however, told the newspaper that the Afghan Taliban government was adamant that Pakistan must pursue talks with the TTP.
Islamabad was told that Kabul’s priority was to tackle groups like Daesh, which are posing a direct threat to their rule. As far as the TTP is concerned, the issue can be best dealt with politically by Pakistan, suggested the government in Kabul.
Pakistan, however, has set certain red lines for any talks with the TTP. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah earlier said that Pakistan could talk to the TTP if they surrendered and accepted the writ of the state. Sources said the Afghan Taliban in private meetings were willing to address Pakistan’s concerns but were reluctant to take any action against them because of their close links with the TTP.
Hence, the Afghan government has kept urging Pakistan to pursue talks, the paper reported. The TTP was set up in 2007 as the main militant group and carried out dozens of attacks on security forces and civilians. Pakistan had hoped that the Taliban government would help to restrain the monster but the hope has not materialised.
(With inputs from PTI)
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