News Analysis |
Captain Hasnain, who was martyred in a blast in Kurram Agency along with three other soldiers Sunday morning, was laid to rest in his native town with full military honors. Four security officials were martyred and three injured in Kharlachi area of Kurram Agency Sunday morning, when an improvised electronic device (IED) blast targeted FC personnel stationed in the area.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations, the military’s media wing, the border security forces were looking for accomplices of the men that kidnapped a Canadian-American family rescued by Pakistan Army on Thursday. The FC men were near the border check-post of Kewra when a powerful blast occurred.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack. On September 17, Tehsildar Fawad Ali and five of his guards were martyred in Bajaur Agency after the Taliban targeted their vehicle with a remote-controlled IED.
The TTP has acquired sanctuaries in Afghanistan after its cleansing from Pakistani territory where it operates with impunity with often allegations of being supported by the Afghan government.
Kurram is considered a highly sensitive tribal are due to its proximity to three Afghan provinces and a past history of being a transit route for militants fighting on both sides of the border. The Pakistani army initiated a lengthy counter-terrorist operation to cleanse the area of miscreant elements which culminated a few months prior.
The signs of a TTP return to Kurram highlights a worrying trend. Already in June, FC personnel at Bezo check post in Kurram agency repulsed a massive attack from TTP militants infiltrating from Afghanistan killing four attackers. The TTP has acquired sanctuaries in Afghanistan after its cleansing from Pakistani territory where it operates with impunity with often allegations of being supported by the Afghan government.
Kurram also holds a significance of being a sectarian tinderbox. Around 40 percent of the region’s approximate 500,000 inhabitants are Shi’a. A full-fledged sectarian war was waged in 2007 to 2008 with the Shias bearing the brunt of TTP atrocities. The conflicts in Syria and Iraq also paved the way for Iran to set up recruitment camps for its proxies in the region. A return of the TTP in Kurram could lead to a bloodier more deadly war in the militancy-stricken area.
There is a need to focus n the prevention of infiltration from the Afghan-based TTP as well as surveillance of potential sectarian terrorists in Kurram and the rest of the country.
The Pakistani government should be prepared for such an eventuality. The TTP or its splinter groups, as well as Daesh in Afghanistan, can strive to take advantage of the situation. The possibility of increased militant activity in Kurram Agency.
There have been devastating terrorist atrocities across Pakistan such as the recent bombing of Jhal Magsi shrine. Civilians are a prime target alongside Law Enforcement agencies and the military. There is a need to focus on the prevention of infiltration from the Afghan-based TTP as well as surveillance of potential sectarian terrorists in Kurram and the rest of the country.
There is also a need to clamp down on sectarian outfits, both Sunni and Shia inside Kurram. This will call for a revamping and across the board implementation of the National Action Plan. A point should be noted that a terrorist conflagration in Kurram can easily fan the flames of sectarianism throughout the nation.