KABUL: The Taliban in Afghanistan have reportedly taken action against suspected militants involved in cross-border attacks on Pakistan and arrested around 200 militants associated with the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
According to Pakistani officials familiar with the situation, the development occurred following a bilateral meeting held in Kabul between Afghan and Pakistani delegates.
This move came in response to a recent attack on two Pakistani security posts in the Chitral border district on September 6th. During this assault, heavily armed militants martyred four Pakistani soldiers. In prompt retaliation, 12 terrorists were killed . The banned outlet TTP had claimed responsibility for the attack.
An anonymous official disclosed, “The Taliban arrested 200 TTP members who were linked to the Chitral attack. They are now in custody.” Additionally, Afghan authorities are reportedly in the process of relocating other TTP members away from the Pakistan border. However, it is emphasized that the effectiveness of these measures needs to be assessed over time.
The Taliban leadership has not yet publicly commented on the reported crackdown against the TTP.
On Monday, the Taliban’s chief spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, reiterated their commitment to preventing Afghan soil from being used against Pakistan. He stated, “This is our stated policy and is central to Afghanistan’s national interest in promoting peace and reconciliation.” He also emphasized that their capacity to assist Pakistan with its internal security issues is limited and that border security remains Pakistan’s responsibility.
Pakistan’s special representative on Afghanistan, Asif Durrani, led the delegation to Kabul, and the discussions with the Taliban were described as “promising” by Pakistani officials.
When asked about the sincerity of the Taliban’s intentions to curb TTP militants on Afghan soil, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the caretaker Pakistani prime minister, stated, “We are not here to judge the intentions of that de facto government.” He acknowledged concerns about TTP’s presence in Afghanistan but expressed a desire not to complicate the relationship.
The TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, is designated as a global terrorist organization by Pakistan, the United States, and the United Nations. It emerged in Pakistan’s border regions in 2007, aligning itself with the Afghan Taliban and supporting them in attacks on U.S.-led NATO troops in Afghanistan until the foreign forces withdrew in August 2021.
Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada has forbidden cross-border attacks against Pakistan and has prohibited Afghans from collaborating with or donating to the TTP. He also banned the TTP from conducting fundraising campaigns in Afghanistan.
Pakistani officials believe that the Taliban are actively distancing themselves from groups previously aligned with them during the insurgency, which are now engaged in criminal activities in Afghanistan, including extortion, kidnapping, and terrorism. They see this as a demonstration of the Taliban’s responsibility as they seek international recognition for their government.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Counter Terrorism Department DIG Imran Shahid on Tuesday said that TTP militants are involved in extortion and terrorists activities in the province and the issue will be take up with Kabul.