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Monday, October 3, 2022

Bolstered by talks, Pakistani Taliban now want to establish their own mini-Islamic emirate in ex-FATA

The key demands of Pakistani Taliban shows how bolstered they are after the establishment of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is demanding the allowance to implement Shariah law in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province formerly known as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Moreover they have gone one step further this time and they now want the Pakistani government to reverse FATA’s merger with the province, which was implemented in 2018.

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After the recent surge in violence that claimed the lives of at least 119 Pakistani soldiers between August 2021 and March 2022, Pakistan and the banned militant outfit recently announced a mutual “indefinite ceasefire”, sponsored by the Afghan Taliban government.

Pakistan’s Taliban (TTP) said significant progress had been made in negotiations in Kabul and the ceasefire was extended until further notice. Pakistani government officials said the negotiations are moving in a positive direction.

TTP has been fighting Pakistani troops for years. Pakistani Taliban wants to implement their own ultra-hard interpretation of Sharia in the Pakistani region along the border with Afghanistan. The mountainous areas have long been hotbeds of radical activity.

The group has a close but conflicting relationship with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan last year, the TTP has stepped up its attacks in Pakistan, killing dozens of government soldiers in 2021.

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Ongoing talks in Kabul are taking place between militants and a gathering of Jirga, Pakistani politicians and tribal elders. It is not clear what the terms of the settlement are.

A ceasefire was previously agreed between the two parties for the Islamic festival of Eid that expired on May 30. Similar agreements quickly failed in the past.

The TTP was founded in 2007 in response to a Pakistani military operation on Lal Masjid in Islamabad, which was dominated by radical preachers. The founder of the group, Baitullah Mehsud, was once thought to be close to Pakistan’s ISI.

According to Amira Jadoon, an assistant professor at the U.S. Army Academy in West Point, the first Taliban government in Afghanistan and the Taliban in Pakistan were linked at the time of the terrorist attacks on September 11.

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After its formation, the Taliban rampaged against the Pakistani state, targeting both civilians and security forces. Pakistani troops counterattacked and expelled TTP leadership to Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been their base since 2015 and is waging a “low intensity” war against Pakistan.

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