ISSN 2330-717X

Pakistan’s Ceasefire With TTP: A Step Towards Regional Peace – OpEd

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After the incident of 9/11, US has declared its Global War on Terror  (GWOT) and Pakistan became a frontline state in this US-led war against terror. Pakistan decision to join US led war on terror was in the larger global interest of defeating terrorism in the region. Pakistan was the main country which have direct effects of US invasion in Afghanistan. Pakistan is the only country which has suffered so much due to US war in Afghanistan. Pakistan also paid a heavy price more than  any country in the region.

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 Due to geostrategic importance of Pakistan, Pakistan has a  key role in the region and what happening  in Afghanistan put direct impact on Pakistan. In the US war on terror Pakistan has lost its 80,000 people and faced about 150 billion dollars economic loss. But US and the west did not recognized Pakistan sacrifices as they should.

They also failed to recognize Pakistan’s internal security threats and economic conditions due to the Global War on Terror  (GWOT). While the rise of Islamist groups like  Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other terrorist groups have challenged the writ of the state and deteriorate Pakistan internal security. Pakistan became under heavy attacks from these terrorist groups. One side Pakistan was under terrorist attacks and on the other side US and West was demanding “Do More”.

Pakistan army launched its operation against these insurgent groups in  North Waziristan in 2003. Than launched Wana operation in March 2004. In September 2005 and  January 2008 Pak army launched another successful operations in North and South Waziristan. Operation Rah-e-Rast eradicate Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Swat section and cleared the Malakand division. In 2012,  Pakistan army brought peace to North Waziristan. The operation Zarb-e-Azb, operation Rad-ul-Fasad all were launched against the TTP and its affiliated groups. Operation Raddul Fasaad brought 59 per cent decline in terrorist activities in the country till 2018.

Because of Pak army strong and successful operations  hundreds of terrorist and their sympathizers killed and many were arrested. These operations broken the back bone of terrorists and they went to their safe havens near Pak-Afghan borders. The tribal areas of Pakistan were cleared from terrorists and their home were destroyed. Pakistan army succeed in getting peace back in these areas. This all done just due to the sacrifices of  our soldiers and our people who martyred for their homeland.

Pakistan has paid a heavy price to eradicate the terrorism from the country. Despite of operations Pakistan also tried to negotiate with TTP and its affiliated groups to brought them in the national mainstream. Most of the time they made interim ceasefire but broken it and again started operating against the state. They are not ready to accept law of the land and always tried to challenge writ of the state.

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Pakistani forces fought a decade-long war against terrorists for bringing peace in the country. But Afghan soil remained the main hub of organized terrorist networks that operate against Pakistan like Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP)  and its affiliated groups who operate against Pakistan and then went back to bordering areas of Afghanistan. 

After the fall of Kabul and the Taliban took over in Afghanistan on 15 August 2021, these groups got motivation from Taliban, unite themselves and again organized their attacks against the Pakistani security forces. Basically TTP was the biggest beneficiary of Taliban takeover in Kabul and it used this opportunity for conducting attacks against Pakistan.

But in the recent past Pakistan has witnessed a surge of attacks in many of its parts, Lahore, Islamabad, Baluchistan’s Panjgur, and Naushki areas which resulted in the loss of a number of lives. The responsibility for these attacks  claimed by TTP and BLA. According to intelligence inputs, the recent attacks against Pakistani forces all were planned from across the border and the attackers were connected with their handlers in Afghanistan.

After the Taliban took over in Kabul it was believed that Afghanistan soil will not be used against Pakistan. Taliban have also assured all neighboring countries that Afghan soil will not use against them. But multiple times attacks by Tehreek-i-Taliban on Pakistan security forces have increased. 

Pakistan government asked the Taliban government to negotiate with Pakistani Taliban living in mountainous areas near the Pak-Afghan border, under the ambit of Pakistan law, but TTP refused to do so. Although an interim ceasefire was made but it was canceled due to their harsh demands.

The Taliban government in Kabul was not ready to take action against these groups who are using Afghan soil against Pakistan. They are not even pressurizing enough TTP to make a permanent ceasefire with Pakistani authorities because they have the fear that if they pressurize them they would join Daesh or ISIS which will create problems for them.

For the sake of peace, Pakistani authorities again negotiated with TTP and this time Taliban mediated between Pakistani authorities and Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) in Kabul and again ceasefire has been announced by TTP. This a good sign and step towards bringing peace in the country. At this point of time Pakistan is facing multiple challenges like political, economic and security challenges and making ceasefire agreement with TTP is good step. It is also responsibility of Afghan Taliban to make sure that TTP abide by their commitments. They have to pressurize them, because it is interests of both Pakistan and Afghan relations and regional peace.  

Pakistan wants economic development, trade, and connectivity in Central Asian countries to boost its economy through, China’s Pakistan Economic Corridor which will be a game-changer not only for the region but for the entire world. 

The negotiations with anti-Pakistan elements are necessary because India and some other foreign force are using them against Pakistan to disrupt Pak-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is going to become a main hub of economic activities. On the other sides anti Pak-China forces do not want this CPEC be completed or functional. They are doing every efforts to create law and order situation in the country to derail the Pak-China cooperation.

On the other side   there are imminent threat of Daesh, Baloch insurgents and Islamic state of Khorasan (ISK) that they can also join TTP to create more security challenges for Pakistan. Hope this ceasefire with TTP will continue for a long time and Afghan Taliban should make sure that this will go long because it is need of the hour not only for Pakistan, but  for the entire region. If this time TTP again broken ceasefire than  it will provide a reason to Afghan Taliban to make  distancing from the TTP and take strong actions against them as Pakistan previously demanded to Afghan Taliban to take action against them but they had refused to do so.

Mansoor Ahmed is an Islamabad based Researcher and Freelancer

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