Pakistani Taliban Rears Its Head Again; Interior Minister Blames PTI-led KP Govt, Says 7,000 to 10,000 TTP Militants in Region

The Pakistani Taliban – also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP – has stepped up attacks across Pakistan with several incidents in the past week, prompting the Shehbaz Sharif-led government to attack the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. prompted to make the allegation. Increase in “terrorist activities”.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan on Thursday blamed the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf provincial government and said the number of TTP fighters in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area was between 7,000 and 10,000. Some of the militants, who had earlier laid down arms, had resumed activities secretly, the minister said, adding that the rebels were accompanied by 25,000 members of their families.

However, the TTP issued a statement that the terrorist group was only acting against “Pakistani forces”. On Christmas, the US embassy issued a warning of a possible terror threat against US citizens at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and barred US staff from visiting the five-star facility.

A day later on 26 December, even the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Islamabad issued a security advisory instructing its citizens to restrict their movement in Pakistan.

But the TTP said the Pakistani government was spreading false information about threats to foreigners. “We are not planning such things. Diplomats and foreigners should not pay heed to such fake news.

Why is TTP in the news again?

The TTP’s militant activities have increased since November, when it unilaterally ended a month-long ceasefire with the Pakistan government, accusing the army of violating the ceasefire.

The banned militant group is an ally of the Afghan Taliban, which has seized power in neighboring countries Afghanistan Last year, US and NATO troops were in the final stages of withdrawal after 20 years of war. The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has emboldened the Pakistani Taliban.

Sanaullah’s comments came at a time when the TTP launched its first suicide attack in the capital Islamabad since 2014, killing a police officer and two suspected militants, including a woman member of the outfit, on December 23. Six others, including four policemen, were injured in the bombing in an upmarket residential area.

The interior minister told the Pakistani newspaper, “The biggest reason for this is the failure of (the) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government and the Counter Terrorism Department (…), it is their job to stop it.” dawn,

Sanaullah further said that Pakistan has its own army to guard the borders and the provincial government can request the federal government if it has failed to deal with such “elements of terrorism”. He said the group had never disintegrated and was further strengthened by the success of the Afghan Taliban.

Talking about the idea of ​​an all-party conference or a national security meeting on the emerging threat of terrorism, the minister said such a rumbling should happen, but stressed that the KP government should first sit down and talk to the federal government. Need to.

“The KP government needs to inform the federal government about law and order in the province – the counter-terrorism department is in crisis and police morale is low – and ask what the Center can do to help and what it will do to assist them. Ready. We held two meetings in Islamabad where the chief minister was invited but the chief minister did not come as he was planning to march to the capital (for the long march) and was not allowed by party chief Imran Khan . saying.

What is TTP?

Believed to be close to Al-Qaeda, the banned TTP is a dreaded terrorist organization which has been held responsible for several deadly attacks across Pakistan – the attack on the army headquarters in 2009, attacks on military bases and Islamabad in 2008. Bombing of the Marriott Hotel.

In 2014, it stormed the Army Public School in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing at least 150 people, including 131 students.

The December 23 Islamabad suicide bombing incident was the first since the 2014 courthouse bombing that killed 10 people. On 25 December, six army personnel, including an officer, were killed in two separate clashes in the restive southwestern Balochistan province. In addition, 15 people were injured in a series of grenade attacks in different parts of the province on the same day.

Pakistani authorities have arrested five people suspected of involvement in last week’s suicide car bombing in Islamabad. Sanaullah announced on Twitter on Wednesday that the suicide bomber’s handler was among those detained. He said the assailant came from a former tribal area in Kurram to the garrison town of Rawalpindi.

(With PTI inputs)

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