Pakistan’s interior minister on Monday said that the Afghan Taliban have assured the government that it would not allow their soil to be used against it by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militants, amidst reports that several hardcore TTP terrorists have been released in Afghanistan after the insurgents seized Kabul. The TTP, commonly known as Pakistani Taliban, is a banned militant group based along the Afghan-Pakistan border. It has carried out a number of major terror attacks across Pakistan and reportedly been using Afghan soil to plot terrorist attacks in this country.
Addressing a press conference, Pakistan interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the government has taken note of the reports that the Afghan Taliban have set free some TTP militants, including its leading commander Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, after taking over the war-torn country, and it is in “full contact” with the Taliban on the issue. “The related (Afghan) authorities there have been told to control those who have done terrorism in Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban have reassured (us) that Afghanistan’s land will not be allowed to be used in any case by the TTP,” he said.
The minister’s remarks came amidst a media report that Pakistan has handed over to the Afghan Taliban a list of most wanted terrorists linked to the TTP, who were still active in Afghanistan. According to The Express Tribune report, the list was shared with the Afghan Taliban leadership recently after they took control of Kabul.
“We have taken up the issue with them (Afghan Taliban). We have given them a list of wanted TTP terrorists operating from Afghanistan,” the report said, quoting an unnamed senior Pakistani official familiar with the development. Besides, Afghan Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhundzada has reportedly set up a three-member commission to investigate Islamabad’s complaints that the TTP was using Afghanistan to plot cross-border terrorist attacks.
Pakistan destroyed the infrastructure of the TTP through successive operations in the tribal areas since 2014. It is believed that most of the operatives ran across the border to Afghanistan and still live there and also use the Afghan soil to plan and launch cross border attacks. According to a report prepared for the United Nations Security Council in July, the TTP has about 6,000 trained fighters on the Afghan side of the border and the Afghan Taliban despite their distrust carry on with relations mainly as before.
The TTP had supported the Afghan Taliban in their fight against the previous Afghan government backed by the United States.