Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif has expressed concern about the continued use of Afghan soil by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to carry out attacks in Pakistan. In an interview with Voice of America, Asif stated that despite having good relations with Afghanistan’s interim government, the TTP is still causing issues for Pakistan. He cited over 100 attacks executed by the TTP since the ceasefire ended in November 2021, many of which were planned and directed by the TTP’s leadership based in Afghanistan.
Recently, Khawaja Asif visited Kabul to discuss the matter with the Afghan Taliban rulers, who pledged to address the problem as per the Doha Agreement. Asif noted that the Afghan Taliban and TTP have a relationship as they have fought against NATO together for the past two decades. Asif also claimed that TTP militants have access to advanced weapons, including night vision goggles left behind by the American forces and are receiving support from countries that have poor relations with Pakistan, such as India.
The Defense Minister Khawaja Asif commended the recent protests against rising militancy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the people are not willing to “co-exist” with the TTP. Asif admitted that political situations in Pakistan often result in protests against militancy being ignored by the media in several areas of the country.
In response, the National Security Committee (NSC) has agreed to launch an “all-out comprehensive operation” to eliminate terrorism from Pakistan, which will incorporate measures at political, diplomatic, security, economic, and social levels. As Pakistan tackles the issue of militancy in the country, Asif’s remarks highlight the ongoing concern about TTP’s use of Afghan soil for carrying out attacks in Pakistan.