Taliban commission to investigate Pakistan’s TTP concerns

Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhundzada recently set up three-member commission to investigate Islamabad’s complaints


Our Correspondent August 22, 2021
Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. PHOTO: Afghan Islamic Press

ISLAMABAD:

A commission set up by the Afghan Taliban has been working towards urging anti-Pakistan militants to stop violence against the neighbouring country and return to their homes across the border, the Voice of America (VOA) learnt through highly-placed sources.

Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhundzada reportedly set up a three-member commission recently to investigate Islamabad’s complaints that the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was using Afghanistan to plot cross-border terrorist attacks, sources said.

Quoting sources in Islamabad, the VOA reported that the TTP leaders were being warned by the commission to settle their problems with Pakistan "and return to the country along with their families in exchange for a possible amnesty by the Pakistani government”.

Taliban officials from either Pakistan of Afghanistan's side have not publicly commented on the matter.

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Sources have ruled out the possibility of Pakistan accepting any TTP demands, insisting the amnesty would be offered in line with the country’s constitution and law, which would require the militants to surrender their weapons.

The US and the United Nations have listed the TTP as a global terrorist organisation.

According to the February 2020 deal reached between the Taliban and the US in Doha, the militant group cannot permit regional or transnational terrorist groups to use Afghan soil to threaten global security.

"This concern is legitimate, and our policy is clear that we will not allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against any neighboring country, including Pakistan. So, they should not have any concern,” Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told media agencies.

Shaheen added that neither the TTP nor any other terrorist groups “will have no place in our country and that’s a clear message to all.”

Analysts have claimed that it would be extremely difficult for the Taliban to disregard reservations of all the neighboring countries, including Pakistan, on the presence of terrorists which have targets across the Afghan border.

The Taliban need support from regional and international countries now that they are in control of Afghanistan.

“If they fail to deliver on their counterterrorism commitments, not only Pakistan but China, Russia, Iran, and Central Asian countries would all be upset because they also complain that fugitive militants sheltering on Afghan soil threaten their national interests,” sources from Pakistan have stressed.

“Can they survive if they turn their guns against us and support TTP? This is not possible. Our trade routes are a lifeline for them, for landlocked Afghanistan,” they added.

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The TTP militants are responsible for killing tens of thousands of Pakistanis since their emergence in 2007 in retaliation to Islamabad’s decision to cooperate with Washington in the war against terrorism.

Despite assurances from the Taliban, there is widespread scepticism about whether the Afghan Taliban would want to upset groups like the TTP and the anti-China East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which sided with them in their insurgency against the US.

The Taliban regained power in Kabul last week after overrunning most of Afghanistan within the past two weeks in a largely unexpected development.

The militant group is currently consolidating its power by engaging former Afghan rivals in their bid to form an inclusive government and win international recognition for it.

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