Pakistan braces for violence after TTP ends ceasefire, orders nationwide attacks

By Salaam Times and AFP

Security personnel attend a funeral prayer for police officers who were killed in an ambush in the village of Shahab Khel in Lakki Marwat district on November 16. [Stringer/AFP]

Security personnel attend a funeral prayer for police officers who were killed in an ambush in the village of Shahab Khel in Lakki Marwat district on November 16. [Stringer/AFP]

Pakistan's Taliban earlier this week said they have called off a shaky ceasefire agreed with the government in June and ordered fighters to stage attacks across the country.

Three people were killed and 23 injured Wednesday (November 30) when a suicide bomber targeted a police truck in Quetta, an attack claimed by Tehreek–e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The TTP has been responsible for dozens of violent attacks and thousands of deaths across Pakistan since emerging in 2007.

"As military operations are ongoing against mujahideen in different areas ... so it is imperative for you to carry out attacks wherever you can in the entire country," it said in a statement.

The TTP held sway over vast tracts of Pakistan's rugged tribal belt for a time, imposing a radical version of Islamic law.

Its fighters were largely driven out of Pakistan into neighbouring Afghanistan from 2010 but have been emboldened by events in Afghanistan since August 2021.

The TTP reached a ceasefire with the Pakistani government in June, but both sides have repeatedly claimed the truce was ignored and there have been numerous clashes.

Earlier this month six police officers were killed by the TTP in a shootout while they patrolled the village of Shahab Khel, 100km from the Afghan border.

The TTP were at the height of their power in Pakistan between 2007 and 2009, when they held sway over the Swat Valley just 135km north of Islamabad.

They were pushed into Afghanistan by an army offensive after perpetrating the Army Public School (APS) massacre that killed more than 150 students and teachers in Peshawar in 2014.

Then-Prime Minister Imran Khan in October 2021 announced that the government was in talks with the group for the first time since 2014.

That decision aroused sharp criticism from the families of the victims of terrorism and civil society activists.

"Talking to TTP terrorists is tantamount to betraying the thousands of innocent people killed by terrorism," said Faisal Ali at the time. A 12-year-old relative of his was killed in the APS slaughter.

By offering the TTP a pardon, the government emboldened the militants, who never stopped carrying out terrorist acts, he said.

The TTP gained confidence over the past year, a counter-terrorism police official in Karachi told Pakistan Foward in May on the condition of anonymity.

Pakistan witnessed a 42% increase in terrorist attacks in 2021 from the previous year, according to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based security think-tank.

The TTP alone in 2021 was responsible for 87 attacks (84% more than in 2020), killing 158 people, PIPS observed earlier in 2022.

"In such a situation, by offering the TTP clemency, the government has not only emboldened the terror group but also provided it recognition," the counter-terrorism official said in May.

Past peace agreements with the TTP failed to restore peace and instead emboldened and strengthened the militant group, civil society activists and families of terrorism victims said in October 2021 when Khan announced talks with the TTP.

TTP leaders violated deals they inked in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009.

Pakistan, the United States and the United Nations have designated the TTP a terrorist organisation.

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May God give TTP the strength to carry out heavy blasts in the biggest cities of Pakistan. Pakistan is the eternal enemy of Afghanistan and has constantly tortured Afghans. Afghans who are not having a good day are caused by two: their own stupidity and Pakistan's interference in their homeland, which cannot be avoided. They have overthrown the government of Afghanistan three times. Our established system has been left behind every time they have taken out the infrastructures of Afghanistan and delivered them to Punjab. Now that the republican system was overthrown in 2021, they took a lot of heavy and light weapons, armored vehicles, military vehicles, factory machines, and our traders from Spin Boldak, Torkham, Angur Hada, and different ways. While Afghans are the strictest Muslims in the world, and there is no doubt in their belief, Pakistani clerics preached for 20 years that there is an infidel system in Afghanistan, and Americans are there. Still, the day the republican system collapsed, they were the first people to give the Americans money and provided hundreds of other services to them in their land. Pakistani clerics have always wanted an Islamic system for Afghans, which has now come, so we also want an Islamic system for Pakistan, and the Taliban can bring it to them. God bless you.


Paragraph 3: The TTP has been responsible for dozens of violent attacks in different parts of Pakistan since its emergence in 2007, where thousands of people have been killed. Paragraph 2 from below: TTP leaders had violated the agreements they had signed in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2009. Comment: There is an error in this report. In the third paragraph of the report, it is stated that TTP emerged in 2007. However, in the second paragraph from the bottom, it is stated that peace agreements were made with the leaders of this group in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2009. Ironically, the TTP was not yet formed when peace talks were held with its leaders. :) Criticism: Pakistan's military and intelligence have created and financed terrorist groups for decades. Please don't acquit Pakistan by publishing such information. This major center and sponsor of terrorism is the root of evil. If you publish such information, this root of corruption becomes stronger. Break this demonic axis down into its constituent parts; Pashtunistan, Balochistan, Sindh, and Punjab, so the region and the world can be freed from terrorism forever.