(New York, N.Y.) — On Sunday, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists seized control of a counterterrorism center in northwestern Pakistan and held hostages while demanding safe passage into neighboring Afghanistan. Following failed negotiations, Pakistani armed forces forcibly regained control of the counterterrorism center on Tuesday, killing 25 of the 35 attackers. One hostage and two commandos were also killed, according to the Pakistani army.
To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s resource Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), please click here.
“The attack is indicative of the steady deterioration of regional security since the Taliban takeover of power in Afghanistan last year,” said CEP Senior Director and former Coordinator of the U.N. Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh), al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Team Dr. Hans-Jakob SchindlerGiven the close connections between the TTP and the Taliban, it is not surprising that the hostage-takers demanded safe passage to Afghanistan, and they were clearly operating under the assumption that Afghanistan under the Taliban regime is a safe haven, just as it was in the 1990s. If a significant regional terror group such as the TTP, which is closely connected to key powerbrokers in the Taliban regime, does not put stock in Taliban assurances that they would not allow Afghanistan to again become a new center of regional and global terrorism, neither should the international community.”
The TTP is designated by United Nations Security Council as an al-Qaeda affiliate and is closely aligned with the Haqqani Network in the Taliban regime. Following the Taliban’s August 2021 takeover of Kabul, senior TTP members were freed from Afghan prisons, leading to an increase in attacks in neighboring Pakistan. In 2021 alone, the TTP claimed responsibility for more than 100 attacks inside Pakistan. In June 2022, the interior minister of the Taliban regime Sirajuddin Haqqani facilitated talks between Pakistani officials and the TTP that led to a ceasefire agreement. However, the TTP walked away from the deal at the end of November and has since encouraged its fighters to launch attacks against Islamabad.
To read CEP resource Pakistan: Extremism and Terrorism, please click here.