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Thursday, February 2, 2023
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Government to reevaluate strategy after TTP ends ceasefire

The proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which violated the June ceasefire pact reached with Islamabad as part of a settlement mediated by the Afghan Taliban, is the subject of a strategy review by the government.

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According to official sources, an “evaluation” of Pakistan’s strategy would be conducted in the wake of this week’s TTP proclamation and uptick in terrorist strikes.

Following a series of discussions between Pakistani representatives and the militant group in Afghanistan, the TTP declared an ongoing ceasefire in June.

The Afghan Taliban government, which had been defying Pakistani pressure to act against the TTP and its affiliates operating out of the neighbouring nation, mediated the negotiations.

However, in light of the TTP’s revival and shift in command, the administration will explore all available measures for addressing the threat posed by militancy.

According to commentators, the new Army Chief General Asim Munir understood the dynamics of the TTP and Afghanistan because he had led both the Military Intelligence (MI) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during his tenure. Gen. Asim led the early initiatives as the ISI DG to facilitate direct talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban. Given this context, the army chief is likely to provide significant advice to the Shebhaz Sharif-led government regarding the review of its TTP and Afghanistan policy.

According to a senior official, Pakistan’s tolerance for the Afghan Taliban regime was running out as the TTP continued to pose a threat from the other side of the border.

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Tuesday saw a Pakistani delegation travel to Kabul for a full day under the direction of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar. There was no mention of Pakistan’s worries about the cross-border terrorist assaults in an official release. But according to reports, this was one of the subjects brought up. Since Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s special envoy, was a member of the mission, it is likely that the TTP issue was discussed. It is probable, according to insiders, that the administration would

The administration reportedly did not favour a straightforward approach towards the TTP in the past. Direct negotiations with the TTP were not viewed as a wise course of action by Foreign Office officials who were handling the situation. Speaking with the TTP through the Afghan Taliban was Ambassador Sadiq’s suggestion.

Given the uptick in TTP attacks, Pakistan may decide against further negotiations and pursue alternative means of thwarting the terrorist threat. According to some experts, the TTP’s announcement to break the truce may have been a ploy to increase pressure on Pakistan after a change in command.

The National Security Committee (NSC), the highest forum for discussing matters of national security and defence, would likely be called to order to consider the potential new approach, according to the sources.