Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Shehbaz Sharif government is mulling a ‘contingency plan’ to deal with the potential resurgence of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The federal government is preparing a plan after reports suggesting the terrorist outfit was looking to stage a comeback following a continued deadlock between the two sides even after several rounds of talks, The Express Tribune newspaper reported. Pakistan began negotiating with the TTP out of compulsion. They entered into talks with the TTP as the Afghan Taliban were reluctant to take any military action against the outfit, the report added.
This comes a few days after a top TTP commander, with a USD 3 million American bounty on his head, was killed in an explosion in eastern Afghanistan.
Omar Khalid Khorasani, who studied at several madrasas in Pakistan’s Karachi, was killed in a vehicle carrying senior TTP commanders, with a mysterious explosive device.
A vehicle with Khalid Khorasani, aka Abdul Wali Mohmand, and other TTP leaders, was targeted in Bermal district of Paktika province, The Express Tribune newspaper reported, citing Afghan officials and local sources.
Recently, the ongoing peace talks between the TTP and Pakistan government reached a stalemate after the outlawed group refused to give in its demand for the reversal of the merger of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
An eight-member delegation of Pakistani ulema went to Kabul last month to persuade TTP to further extend their ceasefire with Islamabad. The ulema also met TTP leaders during their stay in Kabul and tried to convince them to soften their stance and extend the ceasefire.
Despite a series of meetings between the two sides in recent weeks to break the impasse, there has also been a stalemate over the issue of TTP laying down their arms in case of a peace deal, The Express Tribune reported.
“There is a deadlock. And the prospects of a peace deal are not bright,” a source connected to the peace efforts told the Tribune.
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, Pakistan has increasingly complained of attacks across the border from Afghanistan, an issue that has become a source of diplomatic tension.
Talks between the two sides began in October 2021 to seek a political solution to the issue. The talks that were held at the request of the Afghan Taliban led to a one-month ceasefire in November. However, the truce could not last long as differences emerged soon.