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π„π¬πœπšπ₯𝐚𝐭𝐒𝐧𝐠 π“πžπ«π«π¨π«π’π¬π¦- 𝐀π₯ 𝐐𝐚𝐞𝐝𝐚, πˆπ’πŠπ & 𝐓𝐓𝐏:π€πŸπ π‘πšπ§'𝐬 𝐑𝐨π₯𝐞 𝐒𝐧 π‘πžπ π’π¨π§πšπ₯ πˆπ§π¬π­πšπ›π’π₯𝐒𝐭𝐲

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π„π¬πœπšπ₯𝐚𝐭𝐒𝐧𝐠 π“πžπ«π«π¨π«π’π¬π¦ - 𝐀π₯ 𝐐𝐚𝐞𝐝𝐚, πˆπ’πŠπ, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐓𝐓𝐏: π€πŸπ π‘πšπ§π’π¬π­πšπ§'𝐬 𝐑𝐨π₯𝐞 𝐒𝐧 π‘πžπ π’π¨π§πšπ₯ πˆπ§π¬π­πšπ›π’π₯𝐒𝐭𝐲

Since the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, Pakistan has experienced a significant escalation in terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from within Afghanistan, where the Taliban have seized power in Kabul.

The Taliban leadership has been providing the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) with secure sanctuaries and strategic backing in #Afghanistan, thereby perpetuating a longstanding nexus of terror.

Pakistan has vociferously protested against this egregious violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, lodging formal complaints with the Afghan interim government through various diplomatic channels, including a high-level delegation dispatched to Kabul, comprising the Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the then caretaker Defence Minister of Pakistan, Khwaja Asif.

This delegation engaged in strenuous efforts to persuade the Afghan authorities to acknowledge and address Pakistan's legitimate concerns pertaining to the TTP's entrenched presence in Afghanistan, which has engendered a pervasive climate of insecurity and instability in the region.

Notwithstanding the aforementioned diplomatic overtures and entreaties, the Taliban have demonstrated a marked lack of sincerity and resolve in curtailing the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's (TTP) nefarious activities or preventing the utilization of Afghan territory as a launching pad for assaults against Pakistan.

- In July 2023, nine Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred, and five terrorists were neutralized following a retaliatory operation by security forces against a "dastardly attack by TTP" on the Zhob garrison in northern Balochistan.

The assault, meticulously planned and executed from Afghan soil, prompted Pakistan to present irrefutable evidence to the Afghan authorities.

Among the casualties was a militant named Hujatullah Jan, hailing from the Nirkh district of Maidan Wardak province, Afghanistan. The TTP terrorists employed weapons left behind by the U.S. in Afghanistan, which were provided to them by the Afghan Taliban.

- In November 2023, nine terrorists were killed in a clearance operation after the Pakistan Army thwarted a terrorist attack on the Mianwali Training Air Base of the Pakistan Air Force.

This attack followed a series of incidents resulting in the martyrdom of at least 17 soldiers in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, all orchestrated by the TTP from Afghan soil.

Once again, U.S. leftover weaponry was recovered from the killed militants, with known orchestrators being sheltered by the Afghan Taliban.

- In March 2024, a lieutenant colonel and captain were among seven soldiers martyred in a terrorist attack in North Waziristan's Mir Ali.

The attack, which saw at least six terrorists killed, began with the troops successfully thwarting an initial intrusion attempt into the army installation during the early hours.

However, a subsequent assault involved a group of six terrorists driving an explosives-laden vehicle into the facility, triggering multiple suicide bombings. The ensuing explosions caused a building to collapse, resulting in the martyrdom of six courageous soldiers.

πŸ”Ί Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari attended the soldiers' funerals and vowed to retaliate, saying, "the blood of our martyred soldiers will not go in vain."

πŸ”Ί After consistently providing concrete evidence following each TTP attack originating from Afghan soil and facing the Afghan Taliban's continued inaction, Pakistan resolved to pursue the orchestrators of these deadly assaults on Pakistani soldiers and civilians deep within Afghanistan.

πŸ”Ί On March 18, Pakistani airstrikes targeted TTP hideouts in Afghanistan, specifically in Khost and Paktika provinces bordering Pakistan. Pakistani Air Force assets simultaneously engaged three trans-frontier targets during the operation.

Details of the hideouts:

Target-1:

Abdullah alias Tobagar, Paktika. The compound was completely destroyed.
β–ͺ️ Casualties: two terrorists killed, five injured. Abdullah Shah alias Tobagar was not present and remained safe.

Target-2:
Hassan Gul alias Toofan, Khost. The markaz of Commander Hassan Gul alias Toofan in Spera, Khost, was engaged.
β–ͺ️ Casualties: four terrorists killed (including Commander Naimat Ullah alias Zakir) and three injured.

Target-3:
Farman alias Akrama, Khost. The markaz of Commander Farman alias Akrama in Spera, Khost, was engaged.

β–ͺ️ Casualties: three terrorists killed and one injured.
Collateral: nil.

Target-4:
Moeez Khan alias Moeezgai, Paktika. The target was aborted at the last moment due to the possibility of high collateral.

Summary:
Casualties: Nine terrorists killed and seven to nine injured.
β–ͺ️ Overall, sources reported 18 terrorists killed and nine to 12 injured.

β–ͺ️ Reports regarding the injury of Commander Mufti Sadiq Noor alias Talha, Deputy to Hafiz Gul Bahadar, and the killing of Molvi Jehadyar, Samiullah, and Qari Abid were also received.

πŸ”Ί Some reports suggested that on May 9, Pakistan conducted new drone strikes in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, specifically targeting certain TTP terrorists. However, neither the government of Pakistan nor the Afghan Taliban officially claimed the strikes.

The essence of the issue is that Pakistan's tolerance towards the TTP and Afghan Taliban is dwindling.

During a press conference in early May, DGISPR Major General Ahmed Sharif asserted that the March 26 attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, resulting in the deaths of five Chinese engineers and one Pakistani driver, was orchestrated in Afghanistan and executed by an Afghan national.

Regional and Global powers, through their neglect of Afghanistan, are jeopardizing global security. The persistence of global terrorism is evident, exemplified by the recent ISKP terrorist attack on Crocus City Hall near Moscow.

The connections between the TTP and transregional/global terrorist groups, alongside the dynamic nature of the militant landscape in the region, demand attention.

ISKP emerged from dissatisfied TTP members, led initially by Hafiz Saeed Khan, a former TTP commander. Current reports indicate a potential ongoing nexus between the TTP and ISKP.

Numerous reports indicate that al-Qaeda is supplying weapons, equipment, and personnel to the TTP. The expansion of TTP correlates directly with the escalation of al-Qaeda's ambitions.

Al-Qaeda is operating militant training camps and collaborating with the Afghan Taliban in various illegal enterprises such as drug trafficking, mining, and smuggling, channeling the profits to fuel jihadist movements globally.

The Taliban provide extensive support to al-Qaeda, ranging from logistical assistance to access to illicit networks, including the lucrative heroin trade.

With the Taliban's backing, al-Qaeda has seized control of drug smuggling routes, previously utilized by the Taliban to finance their insurgency against the former Afghan government.

Over the past two years, al-Qaeda has siphoned off a staggering $195 million from these mines, with a significant portion channeled directly into its coffers. Recent investigations within Afghanistan have unveiled the presence of senior al-Qaeda operatives embedded within the Taliban administration, signaling a resurgence of the terrorist network's influence and operational capacity.

Al-Qaeda has established multiple training camps in Ghazni, Laghman, Parwan, Uruzgan, and weapons depots in Panjshir, Afghanistan. Given the proximity of the two groups and the nature of their relationship, the TTP is a force multiplier for al-Qaeda.

An al-Qaeda camp located in the Afghan border province of Kunar is reportedly engaged in "conducting suicide bomber training" to bolster TTP operations against Pakistani security forces.

The Taliban, who are sympathetic to TTP objectives, have disregarded Pakistan's repeated appeals to curb cross-border militant violence, resulting in the deaths of nearly 1,000 Pakistani security personnel and civilians last year alone.

Besides supplying weapons and equipment, Taliban rank and file, al-Qaeda core, and AQIS fighters assist TTP forces in cross-border attacks. Some Taliban members also joined TTP, perceiving a religious obligation to provide support. TTP members and their families receive regular aid packages from the Taliban. The defacto Afghan authorities reportedly provide a monthly $50,500 to TTP leader Noor Wali Mehsud.

Al-Qaeda core and AQIS continue to provide training, ideological guidance, and support to TTP. Pakistan has witnessed a surge in violence over the past 18 months, with data showing more than 700 attacks in 2023 alone.

The close relationship and shared ideology between the TTP and the ruling Afghan Taliban make it challenging to envision a scenario where the Afghan Taliban would crack down on the Pakistani Taliban.

On June 22, Pakistan’s top leadership approved a new military operation named Azm-e-Istehkam, or 'Resolve for Stability,' to address the surge in violence and terrorism.

This initiative follows Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s review of the country’s counterterrorism operations, focusing on the National Action Plan adopted after the December 2014 Peshawar Army Public School attack, which resulted in over 140 deaths, mostly students.

Operation Azm-e-Istehkam aims to counter security threats and armed fighters crossing over from Afghanistan. The campaign will also include socioeconomic measures to address the population’s concerns and create an environment discouraging extremist tendencies.

In a recent interview with VOA, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif issued a stern warning, stating that the country would not hesitate to conduct military strikes on Afghan territory if necessary. When questioned about the possibility of cross-border operations to apprehend perpetrators, he emphasized, "If the need arises, Pakistan’s sovereignty takes precedence above all else."

Addressing the legality of potential cross-border attacks, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif argued that Pakistan must prioritize its own national interests. He emphasized, "It is also a violation of international norms when Afghan soil is used to export terrorism, with those responsible receiving protection and safe havens from the local populace."

Global and regional powers must urgently address the situation in Afghanistan without neglect, as the country increasingly becomes a focal point for terrorism. Ignoring this escalating threat could potentially pave the way for an incident akin to the catastrophic events of 9/11.


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