Last week, two security personnel, including an officer, embraced martyrdom while three others incurred injuries in clashes with militants in Zewa, Kurram district. The incident took place as paramilitary forces were conducting an operation to rescue five workers of a cellular company who were kidnapped by a commander affiliated with the Islamic State (IS). Details from the reports are concerning as a senior official from the area confirmed the presence of militant groups like IS in the central part of Kurram.
What is even more worrisome is the fact that on the other end of the clash with the security personnel were members of the TTP. While a cordon and search operation is ongoing in the area to eliminate other militants, it is important to note that this area was de-notified as a conflict zone in 2011. Therefore, the re-emergence of militant outfits in the area is extremely concerning, especially that of the TTP. Since the start of the year, the TTP has claimed 32 attacks inside Pakistan.
Pakistan has been warning the international community for a while that the situation in Afghanistan is emboldening militants residing along the border. Now, Pakistan is experiencing the fallout of violence more than any other country in the region. The existence of TTP bases inside Afghanistan is a known fact and Kabul has done little to weed out anti-Pakistan militants. Even a UN report last year stated that more than 6,000 TTP fighters had taken refuge in Afghanistan.
As an eight-member delegation including Afghan peace official Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai prepare to meet the Taliban for talks in Doha this week, it is crucial some headway is made regarding the speeding up of peace talks. It is important for the stalled talks to resume between the Ghani administration and the Taliban as well because the status quo is only benefiting the cause of spoilers at the moment. Kabul must take more ownership of the process instead of pointing fingers in all directions while its neighbours are beginning to experience the fallout from the unrelenting violence.
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