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Afghan-Backed Terror Outfit TTP Seeks To Control Parts Of Tribal Area: Pak Officials

According to a media report, the top official said that under the guise of negotiations, the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terror group was aiming to establish its own ‘empire’ within the former tribal areas with tacit support from the Afghan Taliban.

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Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or Pakistan Taliban
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A high-ranking Pakistani official has strongly refuted Afghan interim foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi's claims that Pakistan withdrew from a deal with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan at the last minute and claimed that the talks collapsed due to unreasonable and unconstitutional demands by the dreaded terror outfit.

According to a media report, the top official said that under the guise of negotiations, the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terror group was aiming to establish its own ‘empire’ within the former tribal areas with tacit support from the Afghan Taliban.

During an informal exchange between Afghan interim Foreign Minister Muttaqi and Pakistan’s Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayyed at the Palestine Conference in Tehran last week, the Taliban leader alleged that most of the issues between Pakistan and the TTP were resolved in 2022, according to The Express Tribune newspaper.

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He contended that the only remaining point of contention was regarding the merger of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). According to Muttaqi, Pakistan withdrew when both sides were on the verge of finalising an agreement.

However, this top-ranking Pakistani official familiar with the matter dismissed Muttaqi’s statement as absurd, stating that the Afghan diplomat’s narrative lacked veracity.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the subject’s sensitivity, explained that the talks collapsed due to unreasonable and unconstitutional demands by the TTP.

The newspaper reported that the official elucidated that under the guise of negotiations, the terrorist group aimed to establish its own ‘empire’ within the former tribal areas, with tacit support from the Afghan Taliban.  “Should we yield our territory to these terrorists? Absolutely not,” the official asserted, placing the blame on the Afghan Taliban government for the current impasse in bilateral relations.

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Another factor that hindered the progress of the talks was Pakistan’s realisation that the TTP was using the dialogue as a pretext to reorganise. Despite the ceasefire announcement, terrorist attacks by the TTP continued unabated.

The official emphasised that Pakistan had provided ample time to the Afghan Taliban to neutralise the TTP threat.

“We presented evidence and shared the whereabouts of TTP terrorists within Afghanistan. However, despite these efforts, the Afghan Taliban made mere promises and failed to take substantive action against the TTP,” the official added.

The official stated that Pakistan has now adopted a clear stance: “There will be no negotiations with terrorists.”

According to the official, the Afghan Taliban must take verifiable action against the TTP and its associates. The results of these actions should manifest in a reduction of cross-border terrorist attacks. Without such progress, Pakistan cannot maintain ‘business as usual’ with Afghanistan.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have deteriorated significantly in recent months, leading to a lack of high-level communication between Islamabad and Kabul.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Munir Akram, in a policy statement last week, asserted that any engagement with the Afghan Taliban should hinge on their actions against all terrorist groups, including the TTP.

This marks a notable shift from Pakistan's earlier stance, where Islamabad urged the international community to engage with the Afghan Taliban government, according to the paper.

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Pakistan has regularly witnessed a series of terror attacks in recent months.

Six terrorists linked to Tehrik-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP), a newly formed militant group that is an affiliate of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), rammed an explosive-laden truck into the security post in Dera Ismail Khan in the South Waziristan tribal district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province on December 12, killing 23 soldiers.

Pakistan soon summoned Afghan Chargé d'Affaires at Islamabad and delivered strong demarche to the interim Taliban government in the context of the deadly attack on the military check post.

Earlier on December 2, counter-terrorism police in Pakistan claimed to have foiled a major terror plot to target key installations in the Punjab province by arresting 14 suspected terrorists from different banned terror groups. While most of the terrorists belong to the banned organisations TTP and Daesh (ISIS), the others had links with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) terror group.

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At least two civilians were killed and 10 injured, including three security personnel, in a suicide bombing by a splinter group of the banned Pakistani Taliban terror group targeted a convoy of security forces in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on November 26. The Hafiz Gul Bahadur group of the banned TTP claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), army’s media wing, said.

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