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EDITORIAL: When it comes to the Pakistan-centric terror outfit, the so-called Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Afghan Taliban do everything to support their ideological brothers.

Speaking at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad during his recent visit to attend the Fifth Trilateral — Pakistan, Afghanistan and China —Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue, Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi claimed credit for hosting talks between Pakistan and the TTP militants, which failed miserably.

And yet he asked Pakistan to once again hold talks with them and resolve its security concerns and this call of his was promptly and rightly condemned by Pakistan’s Foreign Office.

The previous government had decided to negotiate with TTP terrorists despite a huge public outcry. Several former military officers, who had dealt with those militants before evicting them from Pakistan’s soil in the Zarb-e-Azb operation, had also argued against the talks, pointing out that the TTP militants had repeatedly reneged on the treaties they had signed over the years, and hence could not be trusted to keep any commitments. Yet a lot of time and effort was put in ‘to give peace a chance.’

The TTP saw that as a sign of weakness and made preposterous demands, such as reversal of the erstwhile FATA’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and ouster of the security forces from those areas, virtually handing the militant group to govern a part of Pakistan’s territory.

While the talks were still ongoing under a dubious agreement, a large number of them were allowed to return to reintegrate into society. Instead, they used that concession as an opportunity to regroup in the tribal districts of KP, calling off the ceasefire agreement last November. Since then they have regularly been attacking the security forces as well as the police and other civilian targets. This has drawn a strong military response.

Apparently, it is because of the pressure the TTP terrorists are faced with that Muttaqi has urged Islamabad to talk to them. There is no point in having any conversation with them unless they are willing to surrender on Pakistan terms: First that they pledge allegiance to the Constitution of Pakistan; and second, lay down their arms. They cannot be allowed to dictate to the State.

No matter how hard the Afghan Taliban deny that the TTP militants do not have safe havens inside Afghanistan, there is enough evidence of their presence there. If the Kabul government wants to help its friends it should persuade them to accept this country’s laws and live as peaceful citizens.

Muttaqi also talked on different purposes. The first order of business at the Afghan foreign ministry, he said, is to convey to the region and beyond “our desire to forge a new foreign policy based on cooperative dialogue” and strengthen economic ties with Pakistan. His government, he went on to say, is striving to increase regional connectivity through projects such as TAPI, CASA-1000, Afghan Trans Railways linking South Asia with Central Asia, promoting greater regional integration and connectivity.

Fervently desired as these goals are, in order for them to come to fruition the Kabul government needs to do two things: Adopt moderate policies, especially concerning women; and ensure that terrorist groups, including the TTP, must not find refuge on the Afghan soil.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Tanveer Ahmed May 15, 2023 08:45am
Dear Editor Assalam-o-Alaikum As you are fully awared that resurgence of terrorism is one of the challenges are grim threats to our national survival. As for as annuled TTP is concerned the incumbent government shouldn't bow down before the preposterous demand of micreansts and bring all of the culprits in the stern grip of law and justice. With kind regards Tanveer Ahmed
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