Often misconceived to be a franchise of the Taliban organization operative within Afghanistan, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP for short, is seen as a terrorist organization with a very confused but highly dangerous profile. The starting of the time period of active engagements with this organization can be dated back to 2007. Under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsood and Hakeemullah Mehsood, the TTP has maintained a stance of targeting only Pakistan, particularly the civilian population at large to create pockets for maximization of self-interest and to gain as much leverage as possible. This organization has little or no influence in Afghanistan and has maintained sporadic engagements with the military infrastructure of Pakistan.
After the initiation of the war on terror, the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan being porous, allowed many terrorist elements to spill over into Pakistan. These elements were multinational – as the recruitment of terrorist organizations in Afghanistan is- and tried to find refuge within Pakistan but were met with resistance. Gathering and forming the TTP, these elements quickly turned to making Pakistan vulnerable in order to secure more leverage for retreating terrorists. The composition, thus, comprises of a minute number of Pakistani elements and more of retreating rudiments.
The key ideology constituting the core of this organization is based on the implementation of Islamic reforms and ‘State Practice’ within Pakistan as the current trends of governance are interpreted by them as ‘satanic’ or ‘infidel-like’. As the imposition of Shariah governance within Pakistan has been taken up by other non-violent, non-extremist organizations to a higher echelon as compared to the TTP, therefore this core idea seems more of an alibi for recruitment within the local populous of Pakistan; an Islamic ideological state in its constitution.
The main strategy by which the TTP is known to operate includes adolescent suicide bombers, remote controlled IEDs against military infrastructure and a strategy of indiscriminate adventures against civilian, military and industrial complexes. Where most terrorist organizations have rationale and justifications for targeting civilian population, the TTP maintains that support of the United States of America in the war on terror is the collective fault of all those who inhabit Pakistan and thus must be severely dealt with. Considering the fact that the TTP has never been acclaimed as an offshoot of the original Taliban organization operating in the Afghanistan region, the TTP has borrowed, extensively if not entirely, a lot of rationales and justifications from the organizations operating next door particularly the Taliban.
Like other terrorist organizations, the funding and financing, as well as the supply of armaments and equipment to the TTP is somewhat disputed as any covert support will be denied if proved. The majority of analysts also depict that most of the funding and accumulation of armaments has been from the times of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan as well as the continued disturbances within Afghanistan till the initiation of the War on Terror. This, coupled with other non-state and covert state actors from other nations working within Pakistan to maximize strategic leverage can also be linked as mobilizers of this organization.
On a state level within Pakistan, the TTP has designed a strategy to cripple the security and economic life of the country. Targeting civilian population has also effected and severely damaged the political framework and propaganda within the KPK (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) – to create a rift within the federation has also been a strategy apart from the direct approach. The Pakistan Army, after the initiation of the operations against this organization and others, has dismantled this organization quite a lot, with the Swat Operation being a significant success-precedence favoring the government.
On an international scale, the TTP and its activities have caused mediocre damage to the international community involved in the war on terror by effecting only Pakistan. The post-2014 scenario and the systematic withdrawal of the allied forces from Afghanistan would allow the elements in the TTP to withdraw back into Afghanistan in order to secure more strategic value without heavy resistance. There may be a possibility that the TTP might be disbanded and dissolved with the components returning back to their parent organizations to attain leverages or even key positions if the case may be.
The TTP has now, in the present status quo, retreated to sporadic activities and a relatively dormant status as the Pakistan Army has inflicted irreparable damage to the organization as a whole. Moreover, the civilian mindset and the social fabric has also rejected the dogma incorporated by this organization and have also offered resistance – armed in some occasions. Keeping all the factors in mind and the fact that even though quite a lot of damage has been done to Pakistan by the TTP, this organization is breathing its last and any chances of a permanent or a prolonged existence is far from being a reality.
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