Tehreek I Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Rises In Afghanistan – OpEd

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Tehreek Taliban Pakistan graduated Afghanistan’s first cohort of Manba-ul-Uloom students. There were 31 graduates in the initial group, with 17 specialising in advanced religious studies.

The Manba-ul-Uloom was inaugurated in Kunar, Afghanistan, in May 2022. Tehreek Ul Madaras, an organisation of the Tehreek Taliban Pakistan, was in charge of the institution. Tehreek Taliban Pakistan’s education ministry currently has 6000 students studying in 80 seminaries and schools. TTP-run Manba Al-Uloom (Source of Knowledge) madrassas are a source of ignorance and misinformation rather than knowledge. TTP’s Manba Al-Uloom programme intends to produce Muftis following a 7-month Islamic education programme rather than the traditional 8-year degree required to obtain the status of Iftaa (judgement of religious issues according to Shari’ah, Fatwa Deen).

As the saying goes, “a little knowledge is harmful,” therefore this so-called source of knowledge is more than simply a dangerous place to manipulate young minds. Students who graduated from the Manba Al-Uloom and Taliban academics are dooming Islam and Muslims with their erroneous interpretation of Sharia and deceptive concept of ISIS caliphate. TTP is living in delusion if it believes that the Pakistani and Afghan public are unaware that TTP’s Islam and Islamic traditions are supported by none and anti-Muslim elements. Threats, bullying, kidnapping for ransom, and illegal and illegitimate drug trafficking cannot lead to Jihad; they can only lead to riots.

TTP-run madrassas should serve as a wake-up call to the Afghan Interim Government to establish its writ. Terrorist danger, particularly from TTP, has plagued Pakistan for over 15 years. The ongoing threat presented by extremist armed organisations has also had a significant impact on Pakistan’s social fabric. The resurgence of the TTP, as well as the development of the ISKP and DAESH menace, has grave repercussions not only for Pakistan, but for the entire region’s security, stability, and economy. The comments, actions, and demands of the TTP and ISKPs validate their hostile intent to destabilise Pakistan. As a result, Pakistan is justified in undertaking a counter-terrorism initiative against the TTP, ISKP, DAESH, or any other group operating within or outside of Pakistan. Due to their Pushtoon tribal links, TTP commanders have been active in Afghanistan’s areas bordering Pakistan for years.

Despite repeated requests from Islamabad, the IEA is not serious about combating or controlling TTP, ISKP hostile actions. The unfettered acts of terrorist groups across Afghanistan demonstrate that the IEA has failed to meet its commitment under the Doha Agreement that Afghan soil will not be utilised for violence and terrorism against any country. Cooperation between Kabul and Pakistan in counter-terrorism measures is mutually beneficial, as Afghanistan is becoming a hub of terrorism due to the presence of ISKP, Al-Qaeda, TTP, East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). Given the cross-border aspects of the TTP and ISKP threat, Pakistan recognises the importance of close cooperation with the Afghan Interim Government.

Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram has also recently warned of probable Taliban defections to ISIS-K if Afghanistan’s current economic troubles continue. He mentioned insurgent groups including the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), as well as the regional ISIS-Khorasan branch, known as ISIS-K or ISIL-K, claiming that these groups occasionally collaborated against Pakistan’s interests.

Other groups, such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), also needed to be combated, according to Akram, but such attempts on the part of the Taliban would be impossible to achieve as long as the government was short on funds.

Recently, a suicide bombing outside the Afghan Foreign Ministry (MoFA) in Kabul was reported on January 12th. According to reports, a Chinese group was on its way out of MoFA when the incident occurred. This is the second attack against Chinese officials/investors; the first occurred on December 12, 2022, at a hotel in Kabul known for receiving foreigners, particularly Chinese business travellers. The increase in attacks within and across Afghanistan is not only a dangerous development, but it also reflects the IEA’s poor writ. In the absence of real political engagement with the IEA, a vacuum has been created for non-state actors to disrupt regional peace and stability.

The author is Ph.D. Scholar (SPIR-QAU). Currently, she is working at Islamabad Policy Research Institution (IPRI) as Policy Researcher/Consultant. Her work has been published in local and International publications.

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