Kabul, September 27, 2023, Afghanistan’s Taliban says it has captured 200 suspected militants for staging deadly cross-border attacks against Pakistan and has implemented other “concrete steps” to “neutralize” the terrorist activity, VOA learned from Pakistani officials privy to the process.
The de facto Afghan rulers shared the details about the crackdown on the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, in bilateral talks they hosted last week in Kabul with a high-level delegation from Islamabad.
The dialogue came two weeks after hundreds of heavily armed militants assaulted two Pakistani security posts in the northern border district of Chitral. The September 6th raid killed four soldiers and 12 assailants, with the TTP claiming responsibility.
The Taliban “arrested 200 TTP cadres returning from the Chitral attack. They are now behind bars,” said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly interact with the media. He added that de facto Afghan authorities were in the process of relocating other TTP members away from the border with Pakistan.
“But we have to wait and see the outcome of these steps before drawing any conclusions. So, you have to give them some time to consolidate these measures,” the official remarked.
The Taliban did not immediately react to the reported TTP crackdown.
Monday, the Taliban’s chief spokesman reiterated that his government does not allow anyone to use Afghan soil against Pakistan.
“This is our stated policy. This is central to Afghanistan’s national interest in promoting peace and reconciliation,” Zabihullah Mujahid said in comments aired by Taliban-run state television.
“We can only help Pakistan with its internal security issues according to our capacity. Pakistanis also understand our limitations; we cannot help them at borders because that is their responsibility,” Mujahid stated.
Pakistan’s special representative on Afghanistan, Asif Durrani, led the delegation to Kabul, with senior military officials also accompanying him. Officials in Islamabad at the time described as “promising” their “extensive” discussions with Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and his team.
“We are not here to judge the intentions of that de facto government,” Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the caretaker Pakistani prime minister, told a Turkish television channel Monday when asked whether the Taliban were sincere in their intentions to curb TTP activities on Afghan soil.
“Yes, we have a concern because groups like TTP do reside on Afghan soil. There are training camps on their soil, which is a point of concern for us. But whether it is intentional [or] enjoys the patronage of that government remains to be seen. We don’t want to complicate that relationship,” Kakar stated.
The TTP, known as the Pakistani Taliban, is designated a global terrorist organization by Pakistan, the United States. and the United Nations.
The militant group emerged in Pakistan’s border areas in 2007, pledging allegiance to the leadership of the Afghan Taliban and supporting them in mounting insurgent attacks on U.S.-led NATO troops in Afghanistan until the foreign forces withdrew in August 2021after nearly two decades in the country.
Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada has forbidden his forces from launching cross-border attacks against Pakistan, calling them haram or un-Islamic.
Akhundzada has also ordered Afghans not to collaborate with or give donations to the TTP for its so-called jihad against Pakistan and barred the militants from running donation collection campaigns in Afghanistan, Pakistani officials with knowledge of the recent discussions in Kabul told VOA.
Pakistani officials said following the TTP attack in Chitral that scores of Afghan fighters had also participated in it, and the evidence was promptly shared with Kabul authorities to demand action against them. An internal TTP communication later emerged on social media, warning its fighters against recruiting Afghans into their ranks, suggesting the group had come under pressure from the Taliban government.
Officials in Islamabad, while sharing their assessment with VOA, believe that the Taliban are “consciously distancing” themselves from groups aligned with them during the insurgency but which are now involved in criminal activities in Afghanistan, such as extortion, kidnapping for ransom, and terrorism.
They remarked that Taliban leaders know they have a greater responsibility to address these issues because they are now in control of the country and must demonstrate to the world that they no longer act like an insurgent group as they seek recognition for their government.
Source- Voice of America (VOA)