THE other pro-Taliban terrorist group in Afghanistan is Tehreeke-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which mostly hails from the Mehsud and Wazir tribes of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (now incorporated into the KP province) of Pakistan. The Malakand Division is another area where TTP has deep roots.
Many of the followers of the late Mawlana Sofi Mohammad, father-inlaw of Mullah Fazlullah, also form a major part of TTP. Their objectives range from the installation of a Sharia-based Islamic System in the tribal areas and the autonomy of the tribal areas, to the establishment of Islamic Emirates within Pakistan that would be similar to the recently re-established Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. They have already announced two autonomous governance zones in the KP province of Pakistan. The northern province includes Peshawar, Mardan, Malakand, Gilgit-Baltistan while the southern province includes Bannu, Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan.
Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, TTP has significantly increased its attacks in Pakistan. At the request of Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban had facilitated failed peace talks between the TTP and Pakistan in Kabul, but the Taliban are unwilling to evict or handover the TTP at the request of Pakistan. Even the most pro-Pakistani factions within the Taliban, such as the Haqqani Network, consider Pakistan a friend but the TTP as fellow Islamist and tribal brothers, and their argument is that no one sacrifices a brother at the request of a friend.
TTP’s immediate objective is to prevent the 2023/2024 Pakistani elections, just as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Afghanistan (TTA) had attempted to disrupt the 2019 elections in Afghanistan.
TTP fighter strength
TTP allegedly holds a strength of up to 10,000 fighters many of whom helped the Afghan Taliban in their takeover of Afghanistan. The leadership of TTP has pledged allegiance to the Supreme Leader of the Afghan Taliban and has reiterated that there is no difference between Afghan and Pakistani Taliban. Inside Afghanistan, TTP are being hosted in the Chahar Chineh sanctuary in Uruzgan province. Reportedly, TTP has access to a significant source of funds which is allowing them to buy influence within the cash-strapped Afghan Taliban.
Despite the presence of anti-Taliban terrorist groups inside Afghanistan, TTP seems to be able to reach out to those groups as well and can establish a tense line of communication between the Afghan Taliban and hostile terrorist groups operating under the umbrella of the Islamic State of Khorasan. The General Directorate of Intelligence of the Interim Taliban Authority believes that the TTP is receiving funds from neighbouring countries, but are unwilling to raise questions over this issue as they appreciate this critical inflow of funds.
There are reports that due to the increasing tensions with Pakistan, the Interim Taliban Authority (ITA) is once again hosting members of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) in Uruzgan province. Initially after their takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban arrested and evicted some members of BLA as a gesture of goodwill to Pakistan, since they were not able to oblige with the requested arrests or evictions of members of TTP. However, since early 2022, many BLA members switched their brand and established a new chapter of the Taliban called Tehreek e Taliban Balochistan (TTB).
This allowed them to pledge allegiance to the Supreme Leader of the Taliban and acquire the right to sanctuary in Taliban led Afghanistan. The TTB chapter of the Taliban has been the primary culprit behind the attacks on projects related to CPEC in Baluchistan province of Pakistan.
This is one of the new chapters of the Taliban with an objective to establish an Islamic Emirate of Tajikistan. It is founded by members of the Jamaat Ansarullah terrorist group of Tajikistan, and it has already infiltrated the mountainous autonomous Badakhshan region of Tajikistan.
The leader of this faction is a Tajikistani national named Mohammad Sharipov (alias Mehdi Arsalon) who has been a close associate of the Taliban’s Chief of Army Staff, Qari Fasiuddin.