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Army leaders hint at a tougher approach to TTP

On Thursday, the army’s top brass hinted at a stronger approach against the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakis­tan (TTP), while emphasizing the continuation of counterterrorism operations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

According to ISPR, Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa “ordered formations to maintain operational preparedness and efforts to confront terrorism, particularly in KP & Balochistan must continue.” Bajwa made these remarks at the 250th Corps Comm­anders’ Conference, a monthly event held at General Headquarters. The army’s flood relief efforts and current security situation were the main topics of discussion.

The ISPR press release did not elaborate on the conference’s focus on counter-terrorism efforts. Baloch rebels (in Balochistan), the Gul Bahadur group (in KP), and other militant groups have been the target of ongoing operations. Since Eidul Fitr, however, security forces and TTP have ceased hostilities, at least unofficially according to Pakistani security forces.

There has been a three-month ceasefire while representatives from both sides meet to discuss a settlement. Anger at the return of TTP fighters has prompted Gen. Bajwa to pledge to maintain kinetic operations in KP and Balochistan regions. Many believe the TTP soldiers’ return was a part of the ongoing peace discussions.

At least one incidence of TTP clashing with law enforcement was recorded earlier this month in the Matta district of Swat.

In North and South Waziristan, where their presence has also been reported, there has been an increase in targeted killings and kidnappings. There have been anti-TTP demonstrations as a result of this in both Swat and North Waziristan.

There has been tension in peace talks in Afghanistan, which is roughly coinciding with the release of Gen. Bajwa’s comments. Both parties feel their faith in the other is eroding, but neither is willing to walk away from the negotiations.

The TTP’s suspected involvement in the Gul Bahadur group’s attacks against security forces has grown in recent months. However, the organization denies any knowledge or responsibility for these assaults.

Meanwhile, the TTP has pointed fingers at the security forces for the deaths of two of its fighters in North Waziristan.

The terrorist group had previously issued a statement earlier this week indicating that their tolerance was nearing its breaking point.

The killing of TTP spokesman and senior commander Omar Khalid Khorasani in an Afghan bombing has also caused internal strife.

Meanwhile, Sirajudddin Haqqani, the Taliban’s interior minister and the mediator in discussions between the TTP and Pakistan, is feeling the heat after the US drone strike last month that killed Al Qaeda’s top leader in Kabul.

Security experts concluded that the COAS statement was an attempt to allay domestic fears about the TTP’s revival while sending a strong warning to the organization.

Mahnur Mehfooz
Written By

Mahnur is MS(development Studies)Student at NUST University, completed BS Hons in Eng Literature. Content Writer, Policy analyst, Climate Change specialist, Teacher, HR Recruiter.

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