Resurgence of militancy

ByUzair Ali

He is in the finance sector


August 20, 2022

Uzair Ali describes a difficult situation

Terrorism is now rated as the most dangerous issue faced by the country and it has unnerved both policy makers and law enforcers. It is pointed out that the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan has made the militants to relocate and most of them are reported to have moved to the northern areas in Pakistan that are already limping from the after-effects of the rather long spate of terrorism that these areas were subjected to. The return of the conditions that had badly destabilised the country for more than two decades is indeed very worrying as it is certain to have a dangerous spillover effect in Pakistan that is already facing intense political uncertainty. Though it is reported that so far there has been only limited relocation of terrorists but it could increase as it is mentioned that the environment there may become more hospitable to ISIL or groups aligned with Al Qaeda.

It is reported that the prominent terrorist groups operate under Taliban protection and consists mainly of Afghans and Pakistanis. It is well known that the Afghan insurgents and Al Qaeda have had a mutually beneficial relationship which goes back decades and it is also clear that such links have endured as the Afghan side values their close relationship with the Pakistani Taliban with whom they are now linked on family basis and wish to maintain such bonds. It is also a fact that TTP maintains sanctuaries inside Afghanistan, particularly in the areas bordering Pakistan, that are tacitly supported by the Afghan Taliban regime and there are clear signals that this regime does not want to dislocate them due to strategic and ideological reasons. There is a strong and deep alignment of views between the TTP and Afghan Taliban regime and both parties do not wish to disturb the prevailing understanding with the implication that the collaboration will not only continue but may spread further.

After the Taliban control of Afghanistan, the Pakistani militants got tremendous encouragement and it was reported that their splinter groups slowly resurged particularly Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Hizbul Ahrar that lost no time in rejoining the fold and this reunification was reportedly overseen by the Al-Qaeda. This development considerably increased the fighting strength of these groups and this factor is reportedly considered the reason for the uptick in terrorist activities in Pakistan. The brunt is primarily borne by the people of Swat where several recent incidents indicate that militants are reasserting themselves in the area and have become emboldened enough to commit brazen acts of violence that hark back to the bad old days. It was recently reported that one PTI MNA was seriously injured and three others were killed in Lower Dir when the vehicle came under attack by militants. A video surfaced showing a man claiming to be a member of the TTP interrogating an army major whose hands were tied behind his back and asserting that the militants had taken him and two others hostage. A jirga later successfully negotiated the release of the captives.

There have been increasing reports over the past month about them establishing their presence in the area. Many analysts however ask that why Swat has become the hub of terrorism and that how this situation has developed despite negotiations between Pakistani officialdom and TTP leaders. The matter has been debated in the parliament and the defence minister admitted that anti-Taliban feelings were growing in KP as people were holding protest demonstrations in various parts of the province against the Taliban presence in their area. He regretted that PTI leadership in the past welcomed the Taliban in the province but now the PTI’s provincial government was itself protesting against the presence of the Taliban in the province. He said there were reports of the protests from Dir, Swat and other places in the province against the Taliban.

Quite intriguingly the defence minister also expressed his apprehensions about the success of the talks with the TTP. He added that the NA was given two briefings about this talks but the impression is that the danger is increasing exponentially. The main objection of the elected representatives is that they are mostly kept in dark about this crucial matter. It is also required to be looked into that how many militants were allowed to return and that also under what authority as there prevails confusion about these matters. It is also pointed out that the only possible way out of a scenario that threatens the hard-won peace against militancy in this country and could plunge the region into chaos once again, is for all sides to engage with the Afghan Taliban. In return for the economic cooperation that Afghanistan desperately needs, they must demand that the Taliban give iron-clad guarantees of reining in international militant groups on their soil so that the unrest does not put Pakistan to trouble. TW


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