Pakistan Forges Agreement With Al-Qaeda Affiliate

(New York, N.Y.) – Last week, the government of Pakistan and the U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) agreed to a one-month ceasefire while the two conduct negotiations in Afghanistan under the auspices of the Afghan Taliban. According to the Pakistani government, the ceasefire may extend as talks progress. Established in 2007, TTP shares an ideology with the Afghan Taliban, has known links to al-Qaeda, and has claimed responsibility for tens of thousands of deaths.

Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Senior Director Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, the former coordinator of the U.N. Security Council’s ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Qaida and Taliban Monitoring Team, believes the agreement should be viewed with alarm.

“This agreement was brokered with the help of leaders from the Haqqani network, which is sanctioned by the U.N. and whose members hold key positions in the Afghanistan Taliban government. It demonstrates that Pakistani officials are willing to make agreements with internationally recognized al-Qaeda affiliate groups, favoring certain terror groups over others,” Schindler said. “All of this illuminates the symbiotic relationship between key leaders of the Taliban and al-Qaeda networks in the region. This relationship does not bode well for the current situation and creates space for the accelerating of rebuilding terrorist infrastructure in the region.”

The TTP is an umbrella organization comprised of 13 distinct Pakistani Taliban factions––approximately half of all Pakistani Taliban factions. Established in December 2007, the TTP seeks to expel the Pakistani military from the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, wage defensive jihad against the Pakistani government, and establish an Islamic state under sharia law in Pakistan. The TTP provides al-Qaeda members with a haven in parts of Pakistan, while al-Qaeda provides the TTP with logistical support.

Founded in Afghanistan in the 1970s, the Haqqani network is an Afghan Taliban-affiliated Sunni militant organization operating in southeastern Afghanistan and North Waziristan, Pakistan. In Waziristan, the Haqqanis run the notorious Manba Ulom madrassa, which they used to train mujahideen fighters against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. After the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the Haqqanis used the madrassa as a training center and meeting site for al-Qaeda.

To read CEP’s resource Pakistan: Extremism and Terrorism, please click here.

To read CEP’s resource Haqqani Network, please click here.

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