Photo: Radio Pakistan

Pakistan’s Defense Minister: Terrorism In Pakistan Won’t End Until Taliban Acts Against TTP

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Pakistan’s Defense Minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, says that the issue of terrorism in his country would not end until the Taliban shut down the training camps and safe havens of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Afghanistan.

As reported by Pakistani media outlet The Express Tribune, Mr. Asif reiterated that Afghanistan remains the source of the recent wave of terrorism in Pakistan, emphasizing that this cycle will persist until the Taliban take action against the TPP.

The Pakistan Defense Minister also mentioned that he himself had urged Taliban leaders to stop terrorism in their neighborhood during his visit to Afghanistan. However, he added that the solution proposed by the Taliban was not workable.

“We have fought wars and rendered sacrifices for Afghanistan. But with the ever-changing attitude of the Afghan government, our options for them are limited,” he said.

The relationship between Pakistan and the regime in power in Afghanistan has strained in recent years, mainly due to the issue of TTP, which has intensified its fight against the Pakistani government following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

The TTP perceived the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan as a “victory,” considering it as both an ideological and moral inspiration. It aims to follow its ideological twin in battling against Pakistani security forces and, ultimately, overthrowing the Pakistani government to establish a similar Islamic Emirate in Pakistan.

According to a report from the Islamabad-based think tank, Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), there was a significant 65% increase in terrorism-related deaths in Pakistan in 2023, with the TTP being the primary contributor to this violence.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, which share borders with Afghanistan were the primary centers of violence, accounting for over 90% of all fatalities and 84% of attacks during this period.

Pakistan claims that the Taliban harbors TTP leaders and fighters in Afghanistan, equipping them with modern weapons to carry out cross-border attacks.

In the latest development, the Pakistan Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) claimed that the suicide bomber responsible for attacking and killing five Chinese nationals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, along with his explosive-laden vehicle, came from Afghanistan.

Regarding the recent attack on Chinese nationals, the Pakistan Defense Minister said that their investigation is still ongoing. He added, “A Chinese investigation team has also joined, and we have found some leads.”

Moreover, Mr. Asif emphasized that the Pakistan-Afghanistan border should be treated similarly to other international borders around the world. “People come to Pakistan from Afghanistan on visa and do business here,” he said, adding that Afghanistan was not respecting the international status of the border.

This isn’t the first instance where Pakistan’s Defense Minister has made such statements. Late last month, he said that the sources of his country’s terrorism issues are rooted in Afghanistan. He pointed out that while the Taliban are well aware of the terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan, they take no action to stop them.

In response to Mr. Asif’s previous statements, the Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, dismissed them as “baseless” and “an attempt to evade responsibility.” He claimed that Pakistani authorities make such statements to hide their own failures.