- Time to call in favors
A number of recent terror attacks in North and South Waziristan and Balochistan should be a cause for concern for the government and the armed forces. Security forces are being targeted on a regular basis with one attack occurring a week ago claiming the lives of three soldiers in North Waziristan, and another, a few days later in South Waziristan resulting in a similar body count, including the death of a 23-year old officer. An MPA from North Waziristan narrowly escaped an attack when assailants opened fire on his car last week. Balochistan’s security situation is not dissimilar, with frequent IED blasts, a deadly example of which took place a month back when seven soldiers were killed in the same day in two separate incidents. While great strides have been made in the efforts to clamp down on terrorism in the country, a potent threat still clearly remains that emanates from across the Afghan border. The TTP has regrouped with Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) and Hizb-ul-Ahrar (HuA) in Afghanistan with a sole objective to restart terrorist activities in Pakistan. All three groups, as a whole and even in their individual capacities have been responsible for some of the deadliest and brutal terrorist attacks in Pakistan. A lot of sacrifices had to be made to eliminate this threat from Pakistan and the era of almost daily large-scale deadly attacks across the country is behind us. But that should never be a source of complacency so long as the TTP and suchlike terrorist outfits continue to operate and plan operations against Pakistan from beyond its borders.
At present, the Afghan peace process is moving along slowly and Pakistan is playing a central role in ensuring it is a success. It would be advisable at this stage that Pakistan uses this leverage to force some meaningful action on part of the Afghan forces and more importantly the United States to at least disable the TTP and its allies to the extent that they pose a more manageable threat to Pakistan. Once the Afghan peace deal is done, the American’s will have left the region permanently and Afghanistan will be in a better position to deny any assistance. The time is now to call in favors and nip a potentially lethal threat in the bud.