Pakistan seeking direct intervention of Afghan Taliban leader to control TTP

Pakistan’s civil and military leadership have decided to seek direct intervention of the Afghan Taliban leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, to control Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and tell him that “Pakistan would no longer tolerate cross-border terrorism.”

The Express Tribune, a Pakistani newspaper, reported that the decision was made during a high-level security meeting presided over by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday in Peshawar where a suicide bombing killed as many as 101 and wounded 225 others last Monday.

The attack was initially claimed by the TTP, but denied by its spokesperson later. Pakistan’s leadership, the newspaper reported, was informed at the security meeting that the TTP denied its responsibility fearing a backlash from the Afghan Taliban.

“The meeting was informed that the Afghan Taliban expressed their inability to take on the TTP. However, Pakistan was not convinced and decided to convey to the Afghan leadership at the highest level that the TTP sanctuaries must be eliminated,” the newspaper reported.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister said a private news channel that the masterminds of the attack were possibly in Afghanistan. This comes after the Taliban foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, said Pakistan should not blame the group for the attack.

The Pakistani Taliban, known by their acronym TTP, is a separate group but allied with the Afghan Taliban which is currently ruling Afghanistan.

In May last year, a UN Security Council report stated that the TTP has “arguably benefitted the most of all the foreign extremist groups in Afghanistan from the Taliban takeover”.