Taliban ends ceasefire with Pakistani government, vows ‘revenge attacks’ across the country

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has officially ended its six month-long ceasefire with the Pakistani government.

Mufti Muzahim, the “Minister of Defense” of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (also known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP), announced an end to the ceasefire on Nov. 28 in a statement released on Umar Media, the TTP’s official web site. Muzahim “ordered” TTP forces throughout Pakistan “to launch attacks anywhere in the country” in response to Pakistani military operations.

The TTP claimed that it chose to end the ceasefire after “the army and intelligence agencies continue to raid and attack” its forces.

“And now our revenge attacks will continue in the whole country,” the TTP statement concluded.

The TTP has launched thousands of deadly attacks against Pakistani civilians, government officials, police, and soldiers since its formation in 2007. Tens of thousands of Pakistanis have been killed in the attacks while the Taliban ruled large areas of northwestern Pakistan between 2007 and 2013. The TTP gained some of that territory by cutting peace deals with the Pakistani government.

Pakistani security forces have been clashing with the TTP in the northwestern districts of North and South Waziristan, Dera Ismail Khan, and Tank since early Sept. 2022, however, both sides attempted to uphold the ceasefire while negotiations continued.

The Pakistani government and the TTP entered into a temporary ceasefire in May 2022 less than one year after the Afghan Taliban seized control of Afghanistan with the help of the TTP. The ceasefire was brokered by the Afghan Taliban and its powerful subgroup, the Haqqani Network, which is led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Afghan Taliban’s deputy emir and interior minister.

Sirajuddin is arguably the Afghan Taliban’s top leader. He has close ties to Pakistan’s military and powerful Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, as well as Al Qaeda and a host of regional and global terror groups. Ayman al Zawahiri, the last emir of Al Qaeda, was killed over the summer in a U.S. air strike that targeted a safe house in Kabul that was managed by one of Sirajuddin’s deputies.

The relationship between the TTP, the Afghan Taliban, and the Pakistani state is incestuous, and highlights the impossible task of rooting out the jihadist insurgencies in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Pakistani state supported the Afghan Taliban’s effort to eject the U.S. and allies from Afghanistan and establish its Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. This effort was successful after the Taliban seized Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021. The Afghan Taliban supports the TTP, and vise versa.

The Afghan Taliban sheltered in Pakistan in areas controlled or influenced by the TTP, while the TTP provided manpower to fight the U.S., NATO and Afghan forces. The TTP’s current emir, Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, as well as its previous leaders, have sworn allegiance to the Afghan Taliban’s top leader.

Meanwhile, the TTP – whose singular goal is to to establish an Islamic Emirate of Pakistan just as its partners did in Afghanistan – has mercilessly attacked the Pakistani state and its civilians. The TTP often retreats into Afghanistan, with the support of the Afghan Taliban, whenever the Pakistani military dials up pressure.

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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