Riwaj and Law
Pakistan is engaging in peace talks with the outlawed militant alliance known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in an effort to steer them away from years of anti-state violence.
Pakistan demanded immediate action from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan(IEA)/Afghan Taliban against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Baloch groups immediately upon capture of Kabul by IEA. Pakistani interlocutors wanted denial of space and military action against all these groups. Given the fact that both Afghan and Pakistani Taliban had fought the occupation forces together in Afghanistan, it was understandable for the IEA leadership to seek a better deal for TTP. Hence, IEA instead proposed to mediate between Pakistan, TTP and its affiliates, promising to take military action against groups not willing to reconcile.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, the chief of Haqqani network mediated the sessions of ensuing parleys (one at Kabul and the remaining in Khost). Meanwhile, the TTP, on Oct 1, 2021 declared cessation of hostilities (orbandi) including a month-long ceasefire (dazbandi) in ‘South Waziristan District’ KPK, extended later elsewhere. TTP asked authorities to release around 100 of the Group’s prisoners in return.
PM Imran Khan acknowledged the talks and acting Afghan foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi - during his November visit to Pakistan - confirmed IEA’s mediatory role, hoping a “positive outcome” leading to a permanent ceasefire.
In the ensuing debate on ‘talking or not talking’ to the TTP, dialogue supporters cited the danger of radicalizing as many as 35,000 TTP/affiliate groups’ family members living in Pakistan. Pakistan is, reportedly, trying to woo reconcilable elements within the TTP and its affiliates, with particular focus on the foot soldiers to deplete the cadre.
As per press reports, TTP has made three interesting demands, namely; allowing it to open a political office in a third country, reversing FATA’s merger with KPK, and introducing Sharia in Pakistan. This smacks of the Movement’s confidence at par with its cohort the Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan (TTA). However, over-ask is traditional to such groups, who ultimately settle for much less.
After the Taliban takeover, the Afghanistan swamp has dried for terrorist groups of all motivations, including the TTP. With the US/NATO withdrawal, their raison d’être to continue fighting is gone. There is incorrect assumption in some quarters about IEA unwilling/unable to evict TTP from Afghanistan. IEA remains committed to not allowing the use of Afghan soil by any individual and/or group (including TTP) against any other country (including Pakistan).