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New fears: TTP in Syria

Published Jul 15, 2013 07:33am


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THE problem with a head-in-the-sand approach to fighting militancy is that the rest of the body is left exposed. For a while now the TTP has been an enemy of the Pakistani state but there is hardly a faction within that umbrella organisation that at some point over the years has not been in the good books of the army-led security establishment. But the good Taliban/bad Taliban dichotomy never made sense to begin with and as time has gone by, the contradictions have become apparent. The TTP in all its forms has always been bad news for this country’s internal stability and external relations. Just how bad has been underlined in recent days with two foreign news services reporting that the TTP has claimed to have sent men to Syria to fight alongside rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

The Arab nexus, including links to Al Qaeda, has always been apparent in the arc of the TTP’s relatively short history. Unlike, say, the Afghan Taliban who by and large have hewed to a purely domestic agenda, ie ridding Afghanistan of foreign ‘invaders’, the TTP’s overall agenda has leaned more towards the concept of a global jihad. In the past, that has meant offering sanctuary to foreign militants who arrived in Fata for training or to escape more hostile environments in their home countries. Eventually, however, a resilient TTP was always likely to seek to contribute directly to so-called jihadist struggles outside the Pak-Afghan region. As with all things, TTP claims made by various commanders take time to be established but if the Syria claims are verified, it would mark an alarming new phase in the militant network’s existence.

Syria may be an epic mess on its own, but other countries that could be potential destinations for the TTP’s battle-hardened cadre of fighters will surely be alarmed by the possibility. Pakistan is already fairly isolated in the international arena because of its inability to systematically curb the activities of non-state actors on Pakistani soil and this latest development will only add to the pressure. But it is in the domestic arena that the repercussions will be the most severe. The TTP has proved to be far more resilient than originally thought, though perhaps that is in no small part aided by the lack of a coherent strategy on the part of the state to fight militancy. If the TTP is confident enough to be sending fighters abroad, does that mean the network believes it has enough resources locally to successfully fend off the Pakistani state? That is an enormously worrying possibility.

Comments (12) Closed

Ghani Jul 15, 2013 08:31am

A more worrying question is whether TTP is acting on its own or has been 'told' to focus on Syria in an effort to divert their attention away from Pakistan.

Syed Jul 15, 2013 08:35am

I wish all the world powers starts bombing them out form the face of the earth. Dirty souls !

syed Jul 15, 2013 09:36am

People of Pakistan has given their mandate to the moderate democratic forces in Pakistan. People of Pakistan has strongly rejected the fundamental Islamic parties like LeJ, TTP and radicals group. Now its time for Pakistan government to deal these elements with iron hand.

malik Jul 15, 2013 10:01am

Yea 'Made in Pakistan'.

Gerry D'Cunha Jul 15, 2013 01:22pm

TTP main aim is to ruin all muslim states in the name of islam

shankar Jul 15, 2013 02:15pm

The government and the judiciary are sending clear signals to everybody to keep off extremists. Musharaf took on the extremists in Lal Masjid and he is being tried for it, US bounced of OBL and everybody is unhappy about it. Except for the educated elite, I do not think Pakistan really wants to curb extremism or TTP. With the might of its poweful army it can curb the TTP, but it won't for some inexplicable reasons!

kanakasabhai natarajan Jul 15, 2013 02:43pm

How do these militants travel from Pakistan to Syria. Definitely not by road via Afghanistan and Iran as Iran will never allow such people. If they travel by air, they must be having Pakistani Passports and travel through airports which means they are aided by Pakistan.The scale of terror from Pakistan now extends all over the world from India to the US and in between so many countries. What will Pakistan do to stop these people is where the future of the country lies.

The Truth Jul 15, 2013 06:33pm

Excellent Article!

Laeeq,NY Jul 15, 2013 08:31pm

Their thirst of blood not satisfied by the thousnads they killed in cold blooded suicide attacks in Pakistan and now they are after the blood of Syrians. God help the poor people of Syria, once such a peaceful country and now in chaos. I hope TTP find its end game in Syria.

Tanvir Jul 15, 2013 09:06pm

Strange! Talibans are again hired by the US & the West to unseat another Russian puppet!

AHA Jul 15, 2013 09:10pm

In Pakistan, USA is 'droning' the TTP. The two are sworn enemies. In Syria, TTP and USA will be allies. The TTP will get to use the USA supplied weapons there in Syria. Ironical, isn't it?

Muneer bhai Jul 15, 2013 09:42pm

I thought the withdrawl of US forces from Afghanistan would solve the TTP problem ? That was what Imran Khan and PTI have been shouting from the rooftops.