Two more Pakistani soldiers killed in third attack in a week in Baluchistan; yet Pakistan considering amnesty for TTP insurgents

At least two soldiers of the Pakistan security forces died in an attack in the country’s restive province of Baluchistan, Pakistan Military confirmed, making it the third attack in a week’s time on its security forces

Sep 11, 2021
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Two more Pakistani soldiers killed in third attack in a week in Baluchistan

At least two soldiers of the Pakistan security forces died in an attack in the country’s restive province of Baluchistan, Pakistan Military confirmed, making it the third attack in a week’s time on its security forces. The incident happened on Thursday evening in Kech district, some 158 km northwest of the port town of Gwadar, when a convoy of forces came under attack from unknown gunmen, according to a report in Dawn newspaper.

No group yet took responsibility for the attack. However, Baloch insurgents are known to have mounted attacks in the region. 

In another attack, happened on the same day in the province, two soldiers were injured in Kalat district, 150 south of the provincial capital Quetta. Insurgents hurled a grenade on a patrolling party, injuring two. Chief of the district police, who was also there, survived the attack, reported Dawn. 

It isn’t yet clear if the attack was done by the TTP - the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan,  a banned terrorist group, also known as the Pakistan Taliban - which has stepped up attacks on security forces in the region. Attacks on security forces have been increasing in the last few weeks, with the recent attack in Rech is the third in a week’s time where forces suffered casualties. 

Last week on Sunday, the TTP killed three soldiers in North Waziristan, a tribal region near the Afghan border in the country’s northwest. Over 20 soldiers were injured in the same attack. 

Thousands of the TTP insurgents, who were locked in Afghan prisons, were freed by the Afghan Taliban when they overran the whole of the country. 

Yet, the Pakistan government is considering a proposal to grant amnesty to the insurgents belonging to the TTP, President Arif Alvi said, adding the insurgents must lay down their arms and should not be involved in any attacks in the past to avail the offer. When asked if the TTP was no longer a threat to the country after the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan, Alvi asserted, “(the) TTP remains a threat.” 

“The government could consider making a declaration of amnesty [for the people] who forgo their TTP ideology and want to come with the intention of adhering to the Pakistani Constitution,” Alvi was quoted as saying by Dawn.

The TTP has been emboldened by the Afghan Taliban victory and has stepped up attacks on Pakistan forces. In recent weeks, on average, the group is mounting three attacks in a week on Pakistani forces. 

In the interview, he also revealed that the second ring leaders in the Afghan Taliban had conveyed to Pakistan that the TTP had been given a message that they could live in Afghanistan but should not attack Pakistan. Evidently, Islamabad is under pressure from the new Taliban dispensation in Kabul to free the TTP prisoners who are known to enjoy fraternal ties with the Afghan Taliban. 

Islamabad has long accused India and the erstwhile US-backed Afghan government of fomenting unrest in Pakistan using the TTP. However, the TTP shares a close relationship with the Afghan Taliban, whom Pakistan has been backing for the last two decades. 

Last month, Pakistan had said that they will raise the issue of the TTP with the future government (the Taliban-led government). Sheikh Rashid, the interior minister, had also publicly said they expected the Afghan Taliban not to allow the TTP to use Afghan territory against his country. 

Significantly, the TTP has mounted countless horrible attacks on security forces as well civilians, most notably the 2014 attack on the Army Public School, which killed 150 people, mostly children. 

Importantly, the group shares close relations with Al-Qaeda and had offered its leaders and cadre shelter when they were driven out of Afghanistan following the American invasion. 

The assumption in Pakistan is that the Afghan Taliban would crackdown on the TTP and would restrain the group. However, experts believe it will not be easy for the Afghan Taliban as it could send ripple effects in its own ranks. 

(SAM) 

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