Surge in Pak army narrative against Taliban and TTP

By Editor Aug1,2023 #Pakistan Army #TTP

Having failed to coax the Taliban to tame its associate, TTP, the Pakistan army has now turned to a social media campaign to press home their point—to berate how the Afghan Taliban was playing a duplicitous game with Pakistan.

If the lamentation sounds familiar, there is no surprise as the army has been doing the same trick for decades on spawning, supporting and protecting various groups of terrorists, including the Afghan Taliban.

The problem facing the army is that there is too much on its plate right now, at least till the new government takes over in Islamabad. The army is desperate to have a government which it can `work` with in the coming elections and this task seems more daunting than taking on the TTP. The favourites are doddering while the single-most popular party, PTI, remains the biggest adversary and can sweep the elections if given a chance.

The army therefore has two immediate tasks which keeps it away from any significant counter-offensive against the TTP–to keep the PTI and Imran Khan from winning and to enable a friendly party to take seat in the National Assembly. The time is short and the odds are immense.

With the TTP, the army has other challenges which are equally daunting. It will mean opening another front in the west–more money, more men, more machines and attention divided. The people are not keen on another burden, struggling as they are with high inflation, wheat flour crisis, floods and unemployment, to name only a few of the problems of existence. The once friendly Afghan Taliban is acting difficult–refusing to help its patron when needed.

The Taliban is in fact being more than difficult–it is openly challenging the army by adopting the latter’s playbook. It first refused to accept that TTP was hiding under its patronage in Afghanistan. Then, it came up with the idea of relocating TTP militants from the border areas to somewhere in the north, an idea which was lapped up by the army only to realise that it was merely another excuse.

The TTP all along refused to change its tactics–it wanted the army to come for talks or face attacks. In the last few months, terrorist attacks against police and army personnel and installations have been frequent and deadly. In one attack, over a dozen soldiers were killed.

More than 100 soldiers and an even higher number of police personnel have been killed in TTP attacks in the first six months of this year. The TTP has concentrated its terror power in KP and Balochistan, keeping the army engaged in guerilla warfare.

Failed on all fronts and bound by the timeline of elections, the army has turned to raise the heat on the Afghan Taliban through a social media campaign. It has roped in television channels, social media channels and journalists to blame the Afghan Taliban for the spike in terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The Taliban is unlikely to be fazed by any such campaign. The TTP is more than likely to take the opportunity to raise its terror offensive in the election season. The lame duck move by the army could in the end cause more death and destruction in the next few months.

By Editor

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