The Support of Afghan Taliban to Terrorist Groups in South Asia

Putting the lid on terrorism needs much effort

The recent revelations by the monitoring team of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) shed light on the patronage of Afghan Taliban towards the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is a cause of concern.

This affiliation poses a significant threat not only to Pakistan but also to the stability of South and Central Asia. Since the fall of Kabul in 2021, the international community has been warning the Afghan Taliban government about the regrouping of terrorist groups in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the Afghan Taliban failed to take punitive actions against these groups, which are now posing challenges to the entire region. Likewise, these terrorists are using Afghan soil to carry out attacks against other countries’ interests.

The failure of the Afghan government to act decisively against these groups has increased the fear of the resurgence of terrorism in the region. Recently, the analytical and sanctions monitoring team’s 33rd report of the UNSC underscores the TTP’s operations from Afghan soil, with support from both the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Pakistan has been suffering badly due to the recent resurgence of terrorist activities. Its security forces are tirelessly fighting against these non-state actors in order to mitigate this menace from the region for global peace. Thousands of civilians and officials of law enforcement agencies have laid down their lives for greater cause. It is high time for the international community to pressurize the Afghan Taliban to curb their support to non-state elements. The international community must also acknowledge and support Pakistan politically, economically and militarily to enhance its counter-terrorism capacity. Terrorists are a threat to the entire world, not only Pakistan. Therefore, they cannot be defeated by only one country. Other states must come forward and support those who are determined to eradicate these groups from the region

The TTP, which is known as a regional menace, continues to perpetrate acts of terrorism in South and Central Asia, and its activities are being orchestrated and facilitated from Afghanistan under the patronage of Afghan Taliban. Al-Qaeda’s involvement in bolstering the TTP’s capabilities for carrying out terrorist activities in the region adds another layer of complexity to the situation. The support provided by both the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda signifies a dangerous collaboration aimed at destabilizing the region. This support of the Afghan government to TTP and other non-state actors has been increasing extensively since 2021.

Notably, the TTP operates under the guise of Tehreek Jihad Pakistan, a name strategically chosen to alleviate pressure on the Afghan Taliban from Pakistan. This affiliation highlights the interconnectedness of terrorist organizations in the region and underscores the need for concerted efforts to combat their nefarious activities. The influx of Afghan citizens joining the TTP further underscores the cross-border nature of this threat and the complicity of elements within Afghanistan.

Likewise, the reports indicate that individuals such as Hakeem al-Masri of Afghanistan’s Kunar province are actively involved in providing training for suicide attacks to members of the TTP and other organizations as well. This underscores the permissive environment within Afghanistan for fostering terrorism and highlights the complicity of certain factions within the Afghan society in supporting such activities. The Afghan Taliban’s sympathy towards the TTP’s objectives further exacerbates the security challenges faced by Pakistan and the broader region.

The supply of arms by the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda to the TTP and other terrorist groups, particularly for cross-border attacks targeting Pakistani citizens and security forces, poses a direct threat to Pakistan’s security and stability. The practical integration of Afghan Taliban members into the TTP further blurs the lines between these terrorist groups and underscores the need for decisive and punitive action to counter their terrorist activities in the region.

Additionally, the provision of regular aid packages, vehicles, and armed fighters by Al-Qaeda to the TTP underscores the depth of their collaboration and the extent to which terrorist organizations are willing to go to achieve their objectives. The Afghan Taliban’s financial support to TTP leader Noor Wali Mehsud highlights the sustained nature of their backing and the challenge it poses to regional security efforts.

The supply of sophisticated weapons captured from the US forces and the now defunct Afghan National Army, such as M24 sniper rifles, M4 carbines, and night-vision devices, by the Afghan Taliban to the TTP, demonstrates the gravity of the situation and the urgent need for robust counterterrorism measures. Pakistan’s persistent calls for action against the TTP by the Afghan Taliban have thus far gone unheeded, which has been highlighting the need for stronger diplomatic and security initiatives to address this threat.

The support of the Afghan Taliban to terrorist groups like the TTP poses a grave threat to the security and stability of South Asia. The complicity of elements within Afghanistan, coupled with the collaboration between the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda, underscores the urgent need for concerted efforts by regional and international stakeholders to counter this menace. Implementing agreements like the Doha agreement must be accompanied by concrete actions to prevent the use of Afghan territory for terrorist activities directed against other countries. Failure to address this threat comprehensively risks further destabilization of the region and exacerbation of the terrorist threat.

Pakistan has been suffering badly due to the recent resurgence of terrorist activities. Its security forces are tirelessly fighting against these non-state actors in order to mitigate this menace from the region for global peace. Thousands of civilians and officials of law enforcement agencies have laid down their lives for greater cause. It is high time for the international community to pressurize the Afghan Taliban to curb their support to non-state elements. The international community must also acknowledge and support Pakistan politically, economically and militarily to enhance its counter-terrorism capacity. Terrorists are a threat to the entire world, not only Pakistan. Therefore, they cannot be defeated by only one country. Other states must come forward and support those who are determined to eradicate these groups from the region.

Asad Ali
Asad Ali
The writer is a freelance columnist

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