TTP avoids Taliban control, seeks merger with Al-Qaeda to expand influence, UNSC report

A recent UN Security Council Monitoring report has stated that factions of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants who are being sheltered in Afghanistan are avoiding control by the Taliban in a bid to merge with Al-Qaeda to expand its influence.

“In June, certain TTP elements were relocated away from the border area, as part of the Taliban’s efforts to reign in the group under pressure from the Government of Pakistan,” The UN committee, which submitted its report to the Security Council on July 25, said.

“Member States are concerned that TTP could become a regional threat if it continues to have a safe operating base in Afghanistan.” The report added.

One Member State expressed concerns over a possibility of a TTP merger with Al-Qaeda, asserting that the former is using militant training camps in the northeastern Kunar province for training its fighters. It also indicated that Al-Qaeda is providing guidance to the TTP for carrying out attacks within Pakistan.

The report further sheds light on how the TTP has been emboldened and inspired by the Taliban takeover, aspiring to reinstate its control by accomplishing territorial gains in Pakistan after amalgamating with several splinter groups. The report notes that the TTP focuses on high-value targets in border areas and soft targets in urban areas.

Furthermore, the report describes Afghanistan as a place of global significance for terrorism, with approximately 20 terrorist groups operating in the country and spreading their influence across regions. Some Member States also predicted that TTP could provide an umbrella under which a range of regional and transnational terror groups operate or even unite.

The TTP has resurged in Pakistan in recent years, raging violent attacks against Pakistani security forces and civilians. Islamabad has been pressing Kabul to rein in cross-border violence and complaining that the group enjoys “greater operational freedom” under Taliban rule.

The Taliban has relocated TTP members across tribal belts, triggering concerns and outrage. Opposition groups warned that the group’s relocation would have “fatal” consequences for the stability of the country.

Last month, local sources revealed that the Taliban initiated the relocation of TTP members to Afghanistan, with around 320 armed fighters being moved to northeastern Takhar province.