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Pakistan faces dual terror threats with TTP and ISIS on the rise

AT News

KABUL – In the midst of grappling with an alarming surge in lethal attacks orchestrated by Tehreek-e-Taliban militants, Pakistan now finds itself contending with another perilous threat – the ISIS. Pakistani interior ministry has told to the Senate that ISIS is actively seeking to expand its presence within Pakistan with a security landscape already overshadowed by the TTP, and that against the backdrop of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

This confession of Pakistani officials shows how the TTP foothold is expanding across Pakistan and the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan are reluctant to stop them. Last year, in response to the escalating TTP attacks, Pakistan made the decision to deport all undocumented refugees, affecting around two million Afghans. The interior ministry, in a written response, highlighted the TTP’s reorganization and operational expansion during the peace talks in 2022 as a significant factor contributing to the rise in militant activities.

With aspirations mirroring those of ISIS in Syria, the TTP aims to establish an Islamic caliphate in Pakistan. The ministry also pointed out the TTP’s efforts to garner support from other militant groups to bolster its strength and capabilities. Concentrated primarily in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially in merged districts, the TTP is actively extending its footprint in Balochistan while attempting to activate its network nationwide.

The ministry further warned about ISIS, also known as Daesh, attempting to establish a foothold in Pakistan. The group has resorted to terrorist activities against Shias and religious minority communities, aiming to incite sectarian strife. Despite significant progress in completing the fencing along Pakistan’s western borders, both terror groups, particularly TTP, are attempting to undermine these security measures by sabotaging the fence.

Since March 2017, Pakistan has been constructing a fence along the 2,640-km border, known as the Durand Line, to curb illegal movements across the border. The fencing, despite facing challenges in challenging terrains such as rugged mountains and densely forested valleys, is nearing completion. However, the surge in terror attacks, particularly after the TTP ended its ceasefire with the Pakistani government in November 2022, remains a pressing concern.

In the most devastating TTP attack on security forces in the past year, at least 23 Pakistan army soldiers lost their lives, and over 30 troops were injured on December 12. The incident occurred when militants from the Tehreek-i-Jihad Pakistan raided a military compound in the Daraban area of Dera Ismail Khan, underscoring the urgency of addressing the dual menace posed by TTP and ISIS.

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