Monday’s suicide blast at a mosque in Peshawar’s Police Lines area now makes it clear that Pakistan’s own “war on terror” has resurfaced in major cities, reminiscent of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Incidents of terrorism have reportedly more than doubled in Pakistan, with 319 in 2020 compared to 630 in 2022. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is one of the main culprits of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, particularly those targeting the military and police.
The TTP formally denounced yesterday’s attack, despite an individual commander taking credit earlier. Other recent attacks on Pakistan’s police have gone unclaimed, but the TTP is the main beneficiary. This mirrors the pattern of unclaimed violence inflicted on Afghans in the preceding months before Kabul’s eventual collapse. In cities like Peshawar, Pakistan’s police are literally being hunted by terrorists while on and off duty.
The uptick in violence has led Pakistan’s government to engage in direct negotiations with the TTP, sometimes using the Afghan Taliban as a host. However, these negotiations have been unsuccessful, and past experience has demonstrated that brokered ceasefires with the TTP do not last. Pakistan’s authorities even sent a clerical delegation to Afghanistan led by the revered Deobandi cleric Mufti Taqi Usmani to negotiate with the TTP. Usmani used his notoriety and scholarly credentials to declare it impermissible to attack the Pakistani state.
ON THE RISE AGAIN
The rise of TTP attacks can be attributed to a variety of conditions. The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and the subsequent ascendance of the Afghan Taliban, which has provided refuge to at least 6,000 members of the TTP, has been a material and morale booster for the group. Even the Haqqani wing of the Taliban’s leadership has been unsympathetic to Pakistan’s concerns. This is compounded by an end to US drone strikes, which while controversial, also disrupted militant groups in Pakistan.
Read the full piece in Inkstick Media.