Afghan Taliban brokers ceasefire between Pakistan and TTP

The Afghan Taliban played a key role in extending a ceasefire between the Pakistani state and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP). The Haqqani Network, an integral part of the Taliban whose leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is the Taliban’s deputy emir and minister of the interior, reportedly helped facilitate the negotiations.

General Fiaz Hameed, the commander of the XI Corps or Peshawar Corps and former director of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, “held direct talks with the TTP top leadership on the assurances of the Haqqani Network,” according to The Express Tribune.

Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed “the mediation of the Islamic Emirate” facilitated the ceasefire extension.

TTP spokesman Mohammad Khurasani also confirmed that “the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and the Afghan Taliban, is mediating between the two sides,” in a statement released via WhatsApp. The negotiations “were held in Kabul,” according to Zabihullah.

The TTP is known to shelter and operate inside of Afghanistan, despite claims by the Afghan Taliban that no foreign terror groups operate on its soil. Thousands of TTP fighters maneuver in southern and eastern Afghanistan, and the group played a key role in the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in the summer of 2021.

The TTP’s mission and mandate is to establish an Islamic Emirate of Pakistan, to accomplish the same thing the Taliban did in Afghanistan. The TTP, which swears allegiance to the Afghan Taliban and is backed by Al Qaeda, has ramped up attacks in Pakistan since Afghanistan was taken over by the Taliban.

Tens of thousands of Pakistani civilians, soldiers, policemen, and government officials have been killed by the TTP since the group initiated its insurgency in 2006. Large areas of northern Pakistan were controlled by the TTP between 2007 and 2013. The TTP gained some of that territory by cutting peace deals with the government.

Haqqanis as intermediaries

The Haqqani family’s involvement in the negotiations is not surprising, as they known to mediate disputes in the region. Additionally, the Haqqani Network, which operates in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, is directly supported by Pakistan’s military and ISI.

When the Pakistani state negotiated with Al Qaeda and the TTP in 2010 in an effort to get the terror group to halt attacks in exchange for the Pakistani military to end its operations, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Taliban’s current deputy emir and minister of interior, facilitated the talks.

In a letter to Osama bin Laden, Atiyah Abd al Rahman mentioned Sirajuddin Haqqani as serving an an intermediary to pass messages to the Pakistani government [See LWJ report, Osama bin Laden’s Files: The Pakistani government wanted to negotiate.]

“We let slip (through Siraj Haqqani, with the help of the brothers in Mas’ud and others; through their communications) information indicating that al Qaeda and Tahreek-i-Taliban [the Pakistani Taliban] have big, earth shaking operations in Pakistan, but that their leaders had halted those operations in an attempt to calm things down and relieve the American pressure,” Rahman’s letter to bin Laden stated.

The Haqqanis are well know for serving as intermediaries to warring parties, including among jihadists. In 2006, Sirajuddin help settle a local conflict between Uzbek jihadists and local Taliban fighters in Waziristan. Sirajuddin’s father, Jalaluddin, who died in 2018, played a key role in reuniting the Taliban, including Mullah Omar’s son, Yacoub, Anwar ul Haq Mujahid, and the Mullah Dadullah Front after the Taliban hid Omar’s death.

Sirajuddin also played an important part in reuniting the Taliban after the catastrophic fallout that came from the hiding of Omar’s death. He was rewarded for his efforts by being re-appointed as the Taliban’s deputy emir by Mullah Haibatullah.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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