When the Taliban fighters in August 2021 took control of Afghanistan, their government clarified that Afghan soil would not be used for any terrorist groups like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al Qaeda, or ISIS and so on for terror-attacks against neighbouring countries, including Pakistan. But, regarding some recent terror attacks, sources suggested that the militants of the TTP, which is based in Afghanistan, entered Pakistan from Afghanistan. Therefore, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership had warned Kabul to check this infiltration.
It is mentionable that the ink on Pak-China agreements related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is part of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative or BRI was barely dry when especially American CIA, Indian secret agency RAW and Israeli Mossad had accelerated by playing up the Baloch insurgency.
Notably, India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s OBOR or BRI; the USA also joined New Delhi.
Pakistan’s Armed Forces and primary intelligence agency ISI, have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists. Peace has been restored particularly in Balochistan province and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as well as in other vulnerable regions.
But, in the recent past, terrorist attacks particularly in Balochistan show that these external intelligence agencies are destabilising Pakistan and want to damage the CPEC.
Meanwhile, Taliban skirmished with Pakistani security forces at the Pakistani territory from across the Chaman border on December 10, 2022 and fired mortars at civilian areas martyring at least eight people.
Despite promises, Afghanistan failed to tackle the banned TTP and frequent border incidents took place, as did terror attacks inside Pakistan. The attacks occurred after the TTP on November 28 ended the ceasefire agreed with the Pakistan government in June and ordered its militants to stage attacks across the country. Both the TTP and Afghan Taliban share a similar hardline ideology.
Taking cognisance of the latest terror assaults by the TTP on Police in KP in Lakki Marwat Bannu Cantt, Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Bannua, deadly suicide blast at a mosque in the Peshawar Police Lines, which martyred many persons of the security forces, and civilians, including terror attacks in Balochistan, a high-level Pakistani delegation led by Defense Minister Khawaja Asif along with DG IST Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum, and other senior officials visited Kabul on February 22 with the main agenda of countering terrorism and the use of Afghan soil by the TTP militants.
In the recent past, while condemning the TTP insurgents’ inhuman activities and un-Islamic practices, Pakistan’s various Ulema (Islamic scholars) have clarified in their joint fatwa, and separate statements that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion…Islam does not forbid women’s education”
The Afghan intelligence agency, the GDI, briefed the Pakistani delegation and accepted the problem of terrorism originating from Afghani soil. They also presented details of the solution, but this was found unsatisfactory. Hence, Pakistan warned the interim Afghan Taliban administration that if the TTP involved in cross-border attacks are not eliminated, Islamabad would take action against them within Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Voice of America on April 11, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif stated: “The proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan is still using Afghan soil for launching attacks on Pakistan…especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa…The Afghan authorities have not succeeded in stopping the use of their territory in attacks on Pakistan.”
Besides various terrorism related attacks of the previous years, on 16 December 2014, in one of the bloodiest-ever terror attacks in Pakistan, six Taliban militants mercilessly killed at least 141 people, including 132 children and nine staff members, of the Army Public School and College in Peshawar. They also burnt a lady teacher alive. On the same day, the TTP claimed responsibility for the ghastly act at the Peshawar school.
During former COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure, continuing the military operation Zarb-e-Azb, in February 2017, the Pakistan Army launched ‘Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad aimed at indiscriminately eliminating the residual/latent threat of terrorism, and further ensuring Pakistan’s border security. However, these operations successfully eliminated terrorism, especially led by the TTP.
In this context, addressing the Defence Day and Martyrs Day ceremony on 6 September 2018, General Bajwa said: “The country passed through a very difficult phase during the past two decades…Our forces and nation have rendered sacrifices in the war against terrorism…Our houses, schools and leaders were attacked. Efforts were made to weaken us internally.” Noting that more than 70,000 Pakistanis were martyred and injured in this war (2017), General Bajwa vowed to collectively fight this menace of terrorism.
Nevertheless, in the past years, TTP insurgents and its affiliated outfits had been using various terrorism related attacks and suicide bombing as their main weapons by targeting the armed forces, government functionaries, anti-polio workers, female teachers, airports, schools, mosques, Imambargahs, churches, temples, shrines passengers’ trains etc. Their nefarious acts resulted in killings of several innocent persons as well as women and children.
In this regard, the Swat peace accord was signed on 15 February 2009 between the government and the militants led by Sufi Muhammad, head of the TTP. It was agreed to establish Nizam-e-Adl in Malakand Division and Kohistan District of Hazara in return for militants led by Maulvi Fazlullah (Sufi’s son-in-law) surrendering arms and refraining from all sorts of violent acts. Meanwhile, the National Assembly had passed the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation.
By transgressing the peace pact in Swat, Taliban re-initiated their past anti-social, anti-Islam and inhuman tactics— practice of beheadings, kidnappings, attacks on the checkposts of the security forces, on government buildings, girls’ schools, video shops, using car suicide bombers and so n.
Hence, the military operations were re-conducted to restore peace in Swat, Dir and Buner. During the military operations, tens of thousands of the TTP militants had fled Afghanistan.
Overwhelmingly the public, belonging to every province of Pakistan, supported the Swat and Malakand military operations, as majority of the people are against the Taliban style of Sharia.
Regrettably, those terrorist entities like TTP, which try to justify terrorism and suicide bombings in the name of Islam are misguiding the people, while these brutal acts are clearly against the teachings of Islam.
In this connection, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti (Mufti-e-Azam), Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh had issued a Fatwa (Religious verdict) asserting that suicide attacks are illegal and Haram.” He explained: “Such acts fall under the category of crime and suicide bombers or attackers are destined to go to Hell…they represent an adversary of Islam and enemy of Muslims and they commit crimes against humanity, while misguiding other Muslims, especially the innocent youth.”
In the recent past, while condemning the TTP insurgents’ inhuman activities and un-Islamic practices, Pakistan’s various Ulema (Islamic scholars) have clarified in their joint fatwa, and separate statements that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion…Islam does not forbid women’s education”.
Undoubtedly, Islam is a religion of universal application, as it emphasises peace, moderation and human rights, including tolerance of political groups, religious communities and sects which are in minority in an Islamic country. It also permits periodic reinterpretation of Islamic teachings which is called Ijtihad.
Nonetheless, by playing in the hands of anti-Pakistan foreign countries, particularly RAW, the TTP and its banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam, and are weakening the country.