At least 16 members of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been “kidnapped” in Afghanistan in an alleged attempt to force the group into negotiations with Pakistan. The kidnappings are being considered the recent bid by the Pakistani state and its protégé in Afghanistan, the Afghan Taliban, to bring the TTP to the negotiation table.
Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Pakistani military and the Inter-Services Intelligence have made several requests to the Afghan Taliban to devise a joint strategy to tackle the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban reportedly did not launch any operation against the TTP but persuaded the group to negotiate with Pakistan.
In the first phase of the negotiations, the TTP announced a one-month-long ceasefire, but there are reports that Pakistan is holding its side of the bargain the ISI and the Pakistani military carried out clandestine operations targeting the TTP.
As per reports, in the past month, the Pakistani Air Force carried out strikes in the Afghan city of Khost targeting the families of the TTP members. The attacks reportedly killed dozens of individuals and injured numerous others. After the strikes, the Afghan Taliban reportedly started pressurising the TTP for negotiations with Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban are adamant about negotiations and peace settlements between the two parties, even if they are based on weak grounds. But the TTP was not amenable to the demands of their Afghan counterparts and as a result, at least 16 members of the TTP were arrested in Afghanistan.
It should be mentioned that Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan announced a ten-day-long ceasefire with Pakistan before the Eid Ul Fitr and the ceasefire was extended for another five days after negotiations between the Afghan tribal leaders and Pakistan. TTP members also confirmed that several high-profile leaders, including Haqqani, were inclined towards Pakistan.
TTP has now said that it will continue the negotiations with Pakistan, but it will not succumb to the “hooligan tactics” of the Pakistani intelligence agencies and the military or the pressure from their Afghan counterparts. TTP said the negotiations will be continued if they benefited them in any way, or else the group will resort to the old tactics.