Pak planning major military offensive to counter TTP 

Pakistan is currently facing threats from Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region and raising separatist voices in Balochistan. The nation is trapped in a quagmire built by its deep state. The Pakistan forces are planning a military offensive to counter these rebel groups after two rounds of discussions at the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

TTP has been hammering the Pakistani security forces severely, especially after the takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 by Taliban. The rebel group has conducted 367 attacks in 2022 across different parts of the country. The falling of Afghanistan in the hands of the Taliban regime has proven contrary to the assumed belief that it would bring strategic depth to Pakistan. The famous statement, “You can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them to only bite your neighbors” by Hillary Clinton for Pakistan never seemed more accurate.

It is not just about the Bordering regions but Pakistan has started losing control of its regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in his two rounds of the recent National Security Committee (NSC) meeting with senior civilian and military leaders stated “Pakistan’s security is uncompromisable, and the full writ of the state will be maintained on every inch of Pakistan’s territory.”

The threat of TTP looms large as it is just not using Pakistani soil but also operates from Afghanistan’s soil. This makes it difficult for the Pakistani armed forces to counter them. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told a news channel that TTP militants will be targeted by Pakistan if they are not eliminated by Afghanistan Taliban on December 30.

In response, the Afghan national Defence Ministry made a statement on January 1 Stating that it “views Pakistan Interior Minister Sanaullah’s statement about the presence of TTP in Afghanistan and possible attack as provocative and baseless.” The statement further added that Afghanistan is “ready to defend its territorial integrity and independence”.

There have been several rounds of peace talks between the TTP and Pakistan’s security establishment that have failed to achieve any success. A military operation to deal with around reportedly 10,000 TTP fighters along the PakistanAfghanistan border would take a huge toll on the already fractured economy of the state.

A military intervention might have major effects on Pakistan’s economy, which is already struggling as its foreign exchange reserves have fallen to an eight-year low. However, after experiencing unprecedented public outrage following the hotly disputed ouster of Imran Khan from office in April 2022, it could aid the military establishment in repairing its damaged reputation. Pakistan may also be hoping to use the pretext of its fight against terrorism to win international support, notably from the West, and financial assistance. 

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