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Militants regrouping, return, surrendering or getting amnesty could end turmoil in the region

By Shamim Shahid

The post Doha Qatar peace agreement between United States and Taliban now resulting wide range shifts in policies of regional and neighbouring countries whereas amidst strange-pulling for power between President Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Afghan government is engaged in honouring of commitments made regarding release of prisoners. But at the same time, Taliban are also making its best to build up pressure against disintegrated rulers by continuing violent and terror acts throughout the already war-stricken Afghanistan. Even continuing deadly terrorist attacks against government installations and civilians during the holy months of Ramazan, Talibans have killed 17 civilians and injuring 49 others in 17 provinces.

Besides exchanging of prisoners and going ahead with the Peace Accord in Afghanistan, the Pakistani militants sheltering across the border in Afghanistan, are now returning and intends to get either amnesty or willing to surrender before the government. Almost these militants are returning to the areas just on Pak Afghan border throughout the tribal districts. The militants sheltering or escaped to Afghanistan in recent years due to military acts are associated with banned Tehrik Taliban Pakistan, Mujahideen Shura North Waziristan, TTP Jumaat Ul Ahrar Khorasan headed by Abdul Wali Mohmand also known as Khalid Khorasani, Islamic States (IS) also called Daaesh and others. Exact strength of these militants couldn’t ascertain but they are around 9,000. Some of these militants are living across the border in Afghanistan along with their families. Even a limited number of them through one or the other ways, succeeded in getting permanent residents rights in almost Pukhtoons dominated areas along with Pak Afghan border.

Almost these militants associated with banned TTP and Shura Mujahideen North Waziristan headed by Hafiz Gul Bahadar slipped into Afghanistan soon after commencing of military operation Zarb – i-Azab in June 2014 last. However, some of them from Swat, Bajaur and Mohmand escaped to Afghanistan in 2009 last when the government lunched successful military action against them in Swat valley and its surrounding districts. Apparently almost of these militants are considering or declared as foes by law enforcing agencies in Pakistan but no one can neglect the fact that their presence across the border in Afghanistan benefitted no other than Pakistan, by enabling its rulers and policy makers of mounting pressure against the government in Kabul, fencing of the Durand Line and going ahead with one sided border restrictions and trade sanctions.

Though some sections within leaders, rulers and analysts of Afghanistan didn’t agree but some nationalists minded Pushtoons considering “sheltering of Pakistani militants” a blunder on the part of Afghan government. No one can neglect the fact that whoever they are but all those involved in militancy and terror in both the neighbouring countries are belong to same school of thoughts. All of them are produced in the same factory by the same artisans. Aims and destinations of these militants are one and the same. But unfortunately the prolonged imposed wars made uncertain not only the common Afghans but also their leaders, intellectuals and technocrats. And as a result they are now helpless and even at mercy of not only US but also of regional and neighbouring countries.

Recent reports reveals that these militants made disappointed not only due to US-Taliban peace accord but also forced to return after realizing a shift in attitude of Afghan government and people as well. Through one or the other ways, these Pakistan militants are making contacts for possible deals with the law enforcing agencies in Pakistan. All likeminded mats or accomplices who have already been surrendered are considered best sources for addressing wishes of those who are still wanted or considered “foes.” But majority of them are preferring the services of hard line  stalwarts of different religious groups, who through one or the other ways are always in links with the law enforcing and secret agencies of Pakistan. These elements are always on the forefront of processions and statements in favour of Pakistan’s civil-military establishment at time of needs. On such grounds, they are considered or called as “Good Taliban.”

In the wake of continuing violent acts and its claims, certain nationalist minded political parties and individual leaders have made complains with the government in Kabul. Since military operations in Swat, Bara Khyber, Bajaur and South Waziristan during previous coalition government of PPP and ANP, hundreds of civilians mostly activists of different parties and tribesmen including elders have been targeted, claimed as well by these militant groups.  And in the light of Pushtoon political parties and individuals complaints, some privileges have been put on halt, thus compelling these militants of hunting ways and means for their return. Likewise the Afghan government through its intelligence squads confirmed links of militants with the Good Taliban in Pakistan, therefore, they are being directed these militants to leave.

Some insiders believe that a large number of militants succeeded in getting amnesty. These militants have been part of what it is alleged “Good Taliban” or on role of Haqqani network. These militants on the grounds of their involvement in terror at local level including target killing, kidnapping etc, now feeling insecurity, therefore, compelled to keep arms for their self protection with proper permission or privilege from the security forces. Though the negotiation for deals like surrender or amnesty suffered in previous January when former TTP and its splinted group Jamaat Ul Ahrar spokesperson Qari Ihsan Ullah succeeded in escape from security  forces custody mysteriously. Now the security forces become suspicious about militants, majority of whom remain in close contacts or remain under command of Qari Ihsan Ullah. A large number of militant’s applications are pending for amnesty before security high ups in different tribal districts. The high ups are making its best to make involve the tribal elders in surrendering or amnesty process. But almost tribal elders are reluctant to do so in the light of recent past incidents when over two thousands leading elders have been targeted throughout the regions along with Pak Afghan border.

But across the border in Afghanistan, especially in border regions, the TTP Jamaat Ul Ahrar is getting benefits of post-Doha accord which made friendless Pakistani Taliban and also the Islamic States (IS)-also called Daaesh. Abdul Wali Mohmand also known as Khalid Khorasani is mustering support of all those who are considering “fighting and killing” as major source of survival. But it is premature to say something at this stage about Khalid Khurasani’s future line of action. In past, Khalid Khurasani had claimed killing and attacking a large number of innocent civilians, tribesmen and activists of different political parties.

But the question arises that who will be benefitted with return of these militants either from Afghanistan or from the border regions in case of deals with law enforcing agencies. Almost these fighters are associated with hard line religious groups. These groups are known for its anti-liberal, anti-democratic and anti-progressive thinking. Through one or the other ways, these groups are always opposing nationalist and democratic minded political parties, therefore, these militant’s heals and deals with the government or security agencies in Pakistan might be harmful to nationalist, progressive, liberal and democratic minded political circles throughout the country at the time when “re-visiting of 18th amendment is under heated debate in media circles.

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