The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a Sunni militant group that has been embroiled in conflict with the Pakistani state for the past several years, has now signed a month-long ceasefire agreement with Pakistan and announced negotiations for a long-term solution. The TTP has apparently agreed to the negotiations after assurance from their much stronger counterparts in Afghanistan, the Afghan Taliban.
The peace negotiations between Pakistan and the TTP have been a mess from the start. In 2013, the talks were making a little headway when the group leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack and the negotiations were abandoned. Another important reason was the misgivings among various factions of the TTP about the negotiations. Umar Khalid Khorasani, a commander in the TTP, was in these factions.
Khorasani said that he had reservations about the Pakistani state’s sincerity. If the state really wanted a peace deal, then it must release several of our group members who are held in prisons, he said.
A similar pattern can be observed in the current peace negotiations where the Taliban have prioritized the release of their fellow members above everything else.
During the negotiation attempts between the TTP and the Pakistani state, a rogue militant organization called “Ahrar-al-Hind” launched attacks throughout the country, spreading chaos and putting the negotiations at an impasse. The man behind the “Ahrar-al-Hind” was Umar Khalid Khorasani, who broke off of the TTP and formed his own group called “Jamait-al-Ahrar.” A year later, he rejoined the TTP.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has once again made it clear that negotiations can only begin when the state has agreed to their primary demand – releasing the imprisoned Taliban leaders and group members. According to reliable sources, the Taliban handed over 102 names to the government.
Umar Khalid Khorasani is still not satisfied with the government: he is of the opinion that the government is once again using the negotiations for sinister political purposes. He said that if the TTP agree on negotiations, the Pakistani state can create several problems for them.
The TTP made it clear that they are ready for negotiations with the government after assurance from the Afghan Taliban. Khorasani said that we don’t expect the Afghan Taliban will be forced to create problems for the TTP. He said that we will discuss the issue with our members and come up with a viable solution.