Seven more Pakistani soldiers killed in Waziristan: Afghanistan fallout

There is trouble brewing from Pakistan - a possible fallout from Afghanistan's volatility. Seven more members of Pakistan security forces and five insurgents were killed in the country’s northwest region of Waziristan in what the Pakistan military described as “an intelligence-based operation.”

Sep 16, 2021
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Seven more Pakistani soldiers killed in Waziristan

There is trouble brewing from Pakistan - a possible fallout from Afghanistan's volatility. Seven more members of Pakistan security forces and five insurgents were killed in the country’s northwest region of Waziristan in what the Pakistan military described as “an intelligence-based operation.”  The Terheek-e-Taliban (TTP),  a banned insurgent group that has been waging war against the Pakistan state, appears to have regrouped in the last couple of years and intensified its attacks on Pakistani security forces. In the last week alone the group staged three attacks in the country’s northwestern region. 

In a statement released on Thursday, the military said the overnight raid took place in the district of South Waziristan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a tribal mountainous region, and stronghold of the  TTP,  Importantly, the statement didn’t name the TTP, raising further confusion about the sequence of the events. On the other hand, the TTP released a statement claiming responsibility for the incident and said they ambushed the forces. Local journalists in the region had earlier reported about the two attacks, including a suicide attack.

Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf earlier this week said militants along the border were exploiting the fluid situation in Afghanistan to target Pakistani troops. “We made it very clear (to the Afghan Taliban) that we won’t accept any terrorism from Afghan soil,” he was quoted as saying by an American newswire, The Associated Press.

There have already been serious concerns about the emboldened TTP after the Afghan Taliban made a stunning comeback in Afghanistan. Pakistan officials, however, are hoping that the Afghan Taliban would rein in the TTP and would not allow them to use Afghan soil against Pakistan. 
 
Government considering amnesty offer 

While the TTP is already upping its ante, there have been talks within the government of offering an amnesty scheme to the group in exchange for their cessation of violence. Earlier, President Arif Alvi, in an interview to Dawn newspaper, first revealed that they were considering the proposal. 

On Thursday, the offer was by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi who said the group had to give up “terror activities” and submit themselves to the country’s “Constitution”. Thousands of TTP militants, including senior commanders, who were in prisons in Afghanistan, were released by the Afghan Taliban last month. 

In a recent interview to The Independent, Qureshi said Pakistan was "concerned about the reports of TTP figures being released from prisons" in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Interestingly, Qureshi, who in the past had blamed India for aiding the TTP attacks using Afghan soil, on Thursday claimed that “the new Afghan setup could use its influence and talk to the TTP. 

He welcomed the Afghan Taliban announcement of not letting any groups to use Afghan soil against other countries. He. however, added that it remained to be seen if the group will act on their words. 

 (SAM)