Peshawar, Pakistan-Every January 17th, Shahana will bake cakes and invite friends to her home in Peshawar, Pakistan. They sang happy birthday to her son and even lit candles. But this is a birthday without a birthday boy.
Her son, Asfand Khan, was 15 years old in December 2014, when the gunman rammed a public school run by his army in Peshawar, killing 150 people, most of them students, some of them as young as 5 years old. Asfand was hit in the head 3 times at close range.
The attacker was the Pakistani Taliban. Seven years later, they stepped up their attacks again, seemingly because the Afghan Taliban regained power in Kabul and made them bolder. In the last week of December, they killed eight Pakistani soldiers in six attacks and counterattacks in northwestern Pakistan. Two other Pakistani soldiers were killed in an attack on the Taliban outpost late Wednesday night.
According to a United Nations report in July, the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) is being reorganized and reorganized, and its leadership is headquartered in neighboring Afghanistan. This has raised concerns among Pakistanis like Shahana that the terrible violence once caused by the organization will come back.
However, the Afghan Taliban showed no signs of expelling TTP leaders or preventing them from launching attacks in Pakistan, even though Pakistan is trying to get a reluctant world into contact with the new Afghan ruler and save the country from economic collapse.
This is a dilemma for all neighboring countries of Afghanistan and major powers such as China, Russia, and the United States in thinking about how to deal with Kabul.
In more than four decades of war, many militant groups have found a safe haven in Afghanistan. Some of them, such as TTP, are former battlefield allies of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
So far, the Taliban seem unwilling or unable to eradicate them.The only exception is the Islamic State affiliated organization, which is the enemy of the Taliban. For many years, it has launched violent campaigns against the Taliban and a small number of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan. It has caused hundreds of terrorist attacks on schools, mosques and even maternity hospitals. Death
Washington has identified the Islamic State branch (IS-K for short) as its main militants’ concerns come from Afghanistan. Al Qaeda, a longtime ally of the Taliban, is not seen as a powerful threat. According to a United Nations report in July, although the U.S. military leader said there are signs that it may grow slightly, it is almost rudderless. Its current leader, Ayman al-Zawahri (Ayman al-Zawahri) Still alive but unwell.
Despite this, there are many other militants stationed in Afghanistan, and they are causing concerns among Afghanistan’s neighbors.
China is worried that Uyghur insurgents want an independent Xinjiang region. Russia and Central Asian countries worry about the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which in recent years has carried out recruitment activities among Uzbeks in Afghanistan.
For Pakistan, it is TTP, representing the Pakistani Taliban. The organization carried out some of the worst terrorist attacks on Pakistan, including the 2014 attack on military public schools.
According to the UN report, the number of TTPs ranges from 4,000 to 10,000 fighters. Amir Rana, executive director of the Pakistan Peace Research Institute, an independent think tank in the capital Islamabad, said it has also successfully expanded its recruitment in Pakistan beyond the former tribal areas along the borders where fighters are traditionally found.
Analysts say that the Afghan Taliban’s unwillingness to crack down on TTP is not a good sign that they are ready to crack down on many other groups.
Michael Cougman, deputy director of the Asian Program at the Wilson Center in Washington, said: “The obvious fact is that, with the exception of IS-K, most terrorist organizations operating in Afghanistan are allies of the Taliban.” “And the Taliban will not treat them. Friends fired, even though the pressure from regional participants and the West is increasing.”
The presence of militants complicates Pakistan’s efforts to encourage international exchanges with the Afghan Taliban, with a view to bringing some stability to Afghanistan that has fallen into economic collapse.
Analysts say that the Pakistani military has calculated that the losses caused by the TTP are preferable to pressure on the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan on this issue. The collapse will bring large numbers of refugees; Pakistan may be their first stop, but Islamabad warns that Europe and North America will be their preferred destinations.
Islamabad recently tried to negotiate with TTP, but the negotiations failed. Rana of the Pakistan Peace Research Institute said that Pakistan’s policy of simultaneously negotiating and attacking the TTP is “confusing” and may encourage like-minded insurgents in the two countries.
He said it is also worried about its allies.
Rana said that China, which has spent billions of dollars in Pakistan, is not satisfied with Islamabad’s attempts to negotiate with the TTP because it has close ties with Uyghur separatists. TTP is responsible for the July bombing that killed Chinese engineers in northwestern Pakistan and the April bombing at the hotel where the Chinese ambassador stayed.
Pakistan is under increasing pressure for the Afghan Taliban to hand over the TTP leadership.
But the relationship between Islamabad and the Taliban is complicated.
Pakistan’s powerful army leads the country’s Afghan policy, and its relationship with the Taliban leadership can be traced back to the early invasion more than 40 years ago. Then, they fought with the United States and defeated the invading Soviet Union.
After the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Washington and its Afghan allies accused Pakistan of assisting the Taliban. Pakistan has denied these allegations, even though the Taliban leader and his family lived in Pakistan when they launched the rebellion against Kabul.
But the Taliban also have different interests than Pakistan, especially the issue of the 2,500-kilometer (1,600-mile) border between the two countries. Afghanistan has never recognized this border, the Durand Line drawn by British colonial administrators in the 19th century.
Last week, the Afghan Taliban’s anger at Pakistan’s border fence may turn into violence. A video shared on social media showed that the Taliban destroyed the coil of barbed wire used for the fence and threatened to open fire on the Pakistani army.
The Taliban Ministry of Defense issued a statement stating that Pakistan has no right to establish border fences. On Wednesday, Pakistani military spokesman General Babar Ifticar said that the fence is 94% complete and will be completed.
He said: “It is necessary to establish a fence on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to regulate security, transit and trade.” “The purpose of this is not to divide the people, but to protect them.”
Bill Loggio, editor of the long-term war magazine that tracks global armed forces, said that even if Pakistan asks the Taliban to hand over TTP leaders, it should not expect any results.
“The Afghan Taliban will not expel TTP for the same reasons that they did not expel Al Qaeda,” he said. “Both these groups played a key role in the victory of the Afghan Taliban. They fought side by side with the Afghan Taliban and have made great sacrifices in the past 20 years.”