By Hamza Ameer
A leading US think tank has stated that the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan are unlikely to stop their extended support to the militants of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Pakistan, due to ideological understanding of top Afghan Taliban leadership.
In a latest report, issued by US think tank United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the state of security in Pakistan, its latest surge, re-emergence of TTP led terror attacks and its direct link to the Afghan Taliban regime in Kabul have been discussed in detail.
"Amid Pakistan's economic crisis and the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban have re-emerged as an increasingly potent threat," maintained the USIP report.
The report also referred to the recent criticism by Kabul on Islamabad's policies, stating that the Afghan Taliban undiplomatic rhetoric underscores the Taliban's determination to continue supporting the TTP, even in the face of intensified pressure from Pakistan.
Pakistan has called upon the Afghan Taliban to take action against TTP militants, who are operating from Afghan soil and coordinating terror attacks in Pakistan.
Pakistan has maintained that Afghan Taliban regime in Kabul needs to stand up to its commitment that it would not allow its soil to be used for terror activities against other countries.
The USIP report argues that "the Taliban's response to being confronted about their support for the TTP has been to the level counter-accusations - which does not signal an impending shift away from that support".
The report also links the Afghan Taliban counter-accusations with the reports of various UN officials and other observers, who have confirmed the free movement of TTP militants in various parts of Afghanistan and even conducting business in Afghan cities.
It is also a fact that all TTP militants, who were put behind bars during Asrhaf Ghani time in Afghanistan, were immediately released after the Afghan Taliban takeover. And even today, they are seen having comfortable and free movement across the country.
It is because of this ground reality that the Afghan Taliban were unlikely to stop supporting the TTP on ideological grounds, stated the USIP report.
Another big aspect that is having direct impact on Pakistan's future policy and its response is its deteriorating economy, which limits the country from launching an all out offensive against TTP, something that the Afghan Taliban are also aware of.
"That limits Pakistan's military options. Pakistan can carry out raids and undertake defensive actions inside the country, but it doesn't have the resources for a sustained high intensity campaign," USIP highlighted.
The report also highlighted the political pressures on the current Pakistani government, which was slammed for "framing the terrorism resurgence as a conspiracy by the military to block former prime minister Imran Khan's return to power and to get American aid".
"The Afghan Taliban remain very supportive of the TTP and are providing the group with a permissive safe haven. TTP also had a lot of popular support in Afghanistan, where both Taliban and non-Taliban constituencies get behind the TTP due to a fervent dislike for Pakistan," the USIP report maintained.
One major point of extended support of Afghan Taliban to the TTP terror activities inside Pakistan is the ideological understanding of top Afghan Taliban leadership, despite the fact that Afghan Taliban Interior Minister Siraj Haqqani, had restrained the TTP from carrying out attacks inside Pakistan on many occasions.
However, the opinion gets balanced by the Taliban Amir Hibatullah Akhundzada, who agrees with the TTP that Pakistani system is un-islamic and that it needs to be challenged for imposition of a Shariah Islamic system.