Weapons Left Behind By US In Afghanistan Now With Pakistan Taliban Militants: Pakistan PM Anwaar-Ul-Haq Kakar

The military aircraft, vehicles, firearms, and ammunition that the United States had provided to the Afghan military was taken over by the Taliban after it took over Afghanistan in 2021. It is this equipment that Pakistan Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has now said has made its way to TTP.


Second anniversary of Taliban takeover

Pakistan Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Monday said that the weapons left behind by the United States in Afghanistan are now with the Pakistan Taliban.

The Pakistan Taliban, formally called the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is a banned militant organisation that's waging a bloody insurgency against the Pakistani government. Since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, the TTP has emerged stronger and has mounted a series of deadly attacksin Pakistan. 

Kakar, the caretaker prime minister, did not provide any evidence to support his claim but said a "coordinated approach" was needed to tackle the situation. 

After 20 years of presence in Afghanistan, the United States and Western forces withdrew in 2021. The withdrawal was accompanied by a Taliban offensive that swept through the country. Around two weeks before the US-led Western withdrawal was concluded, the Taliban took over Kabul and most of the country as most of the US-trained and -equipped Afghan military surrendered or easily lost. Since then, the TTP, a group separate from Afghan Taliban but allied to it, has found support in Afghanistan, which it had been used for a staging ground for attacks inside Pakistan.


The military aircraft, vehicles, firearms, and ammunition that the United States had provided to the Afghan military was taken over by the Taliban. It is this equipment that Kakar has now said has made its way to TTP. He further said this is "emerging as a new challenge" for Pakistan as it has enhanced the fighting capabilities of the TTP, said Kakar, as per Associated Press (AP).

"There is no definite information on how much US equipment was left behind — but the Taliban seized US-supplied firepower, recovering guns, ammunition, helicopters and other modern military equipment from Afghan forces who surrendered it. Though no one knows the exact value, US defence officials have confirmed it is significant," reported AP.


What is Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan?

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a Islamist militant group that's also commonly called Pakistan Taliban.

The TTP is separate from the Afghan Taliban but is aligned to it and is also understood to have links with the terrorist group Al Qaeda.

The TTP was formed in 2007 to oppose the US-led Western intervention in Afghanistan and the oppose the Pakistani rule in Northwest Pakistan.

"The TTP was founded in late 2007 by a group of Pakistani militants who had previously fought in Afghanistan alongside both the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and the group has maintained close ties to both organizations since...The TTP’s founding leadership and rank and file had spent the decade preceding the group’s formation fighting alongside both al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan, and the tribal militants who would later form the TTP harbored al-Qaeda members in Pakistan following the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan," says think tank Counter Extremism Project (CEP).

The US National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) says that the TTP, an umbrella group of militants, has stated objectives to implementat a strict interpretation of Islamic law called Sharia throughout Pakistan and the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Pakistan that would require the overthrow of the Pakistani Government.

The corea areas of interest of the TTP are Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATAs) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.

Rise in TTP violence

Kakar's comment came within days of a suicide bombing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by TTP that killed nine soldiers.

This year, so far, the TTP attacks have well over a hundred people. Last year, the two sides negotiated and observed a ceasefire for months, but the talks fell apart and TTP announced a new offensive in November. Since then, the TTP has mounted a series of deadly attacks. 


The AP reports that the TTP's methods of attacks has improved as they now have access to better weapons.

"Two security officials in Islamabad told The Associated Press that the TTP either bought the equipment from the Afghan Taliban, or was given it as an ally. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the subject. The Pakistani Taliban have also released statements and video clips in recent months, claiming they possess, for example, guns with laser and thermal sighting systems. TTP fighters now target Pakistani troops from a distance, while before their only weapons were AK-47 assault rifles, one of the officials said, without elaborating," reported AP.


Last month, two policemen were killed awhen TTP attacked a police checkpoint in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

On January 30, a Pakistan Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up during the afternoon prayers in a mosque in Peshawar, killing 101 people and injuring more than 200 others. The deceased included largely Pakistani police personnel. 

Overall, Pakistan witnessed 18 suicide attacks in the first seven months of 2023, which is significantly more than last year when there were 15 attacks in the entire year, according to a report from the Pak­is­tan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS). Notably, the report did not include attacks just by TTP but by all the groups active in the country.


Kakar ruled out any talks between the government and the TTP since the militants unilaterally broke off a cease-fire last November, reported AP.

"Since the Taliban takeover next door, Islamabad says TTP fighters have increasingly been given shelter by the Afghan Taliban, straining relations between Islamabad and Kabul," noted AP.