US gives greenlight to Pakistan's possible attack

US gives green-light to Pakistan targeting TTP in Afghanistan

“Pakistan has a right to defend itself from terrorism,” said the US State Department spokesperson, Ned Price, when asked about Pakistan’s threats of action against Pakistani Taliban hideouts in Afghanistan.

In a press briefing on Tuesday 3 January, the State Department spokesperson said that “on Pakistan, we’re aware of the recent statement by the Pakistani National Security Committee. The Pakistani people have suffered tremendously from terrorist attacks.”

Recent weeks has seen an unprecedented rise in tensions between Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban, over what the former believes as the latter’s lack of willingness to act against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) sanctuaries inside Afghanistan.

There has also been a rise in cross-border skirmishes between the two sides. A Taliban cross-border shelling on 11 December 2022 killed 7 and wounded 31 Pakistani civilians.

Pakistan and Taliban flags fly over Chaman border corssing. (Photo: AFP)

Pakistan government officials have repeatedly said that the TTP enjoys safe havens in Afghanistan, with the country’s interior minister warning the Taliban that his country would target the militant groups’s hideouts inside Afghanistan unless they were dismantled. The Afghan Taliban angrily reacted, firing back that they would defend any military action.

In a further sign of frustration, on Wednesday, Pakistan’s interior minister, Rana Sanaullah, warned the Taliban “not to provide sanctuaries to Pakistani terrorist groups on its soil.” And the country’s deputy foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, told Pakistani senators that “Pakistan had sent a message to Afghanistan conveying the country’s security is its red line.”