The situation between Afghanistan and Pakistan has further deteriorated in the past week. Ground sources from Kunar in Afghanistan and Barawal Bandi (KPK) have revealed that in response to Pakistan army’s brutal killing of more than 45 people including women and children in its air strikes in Khost and Kunar on 16 April 22, TTP has declared a full fledged war against Pakistan army pledging to take revenge. In the intervening night of 20-21 April 2022, TTP identified and killed five people in North Waziristan who were spying for Pakistan army. 13 other soldiers have also been reported to be killed in ambush. This is in response to Pakistan army’s Operation Nijat in Waziristan which started in Oct 21 to wipe local Pashtuns who protest against Chinese presence on their land.
Did Ops Nijat backfire?
Pakistan started Ops. Nijat as a secret operation after a brief meeting with Chinese officials in PMA Abbottabad in October 21. The aim of the operation was to eliminate Pashtun tribes who are unhappy with the Chinese projects in their territory. For mining projects granted by Islamabad, Chinese engineers started demolishing local Mosques and incidents of burning Quran were also reported. To counter this operation, local tribes established a guerrilla unit to ambush Chinese engineers and Pakistani soldiers killing nearly 27 Pak soldiers between December 21 and March 22.
TTP gets support from Afghanistan and Syria
Though Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid has said that Taliban will not allow any group to use Afghan territory against Pakistan, TTP on the other hand has regrouped separated members of Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) and ISIS- Sham. On 20 April 22, TTP further stated that it has declared Operation Al- Badr against Pak army and advised common civilians of Pakistan to stay away from army locations. Locals in Waziristan have also reported the presence of some Syrian Mujahideen with TTP. The group has also started raising its demand for a separate Pashtunistan. TTP has demanded:
- The release of TTP prisoners & other innocent civilians captured by Pakistan army.
- Political office in a third country
- Full Pakistani military withdrawal from FATA &
- Implementation of Sharia in Pakistan
TTP shells Pakistan army post in Waziristan
On 20 April 22, TTP released a video where it bombed a Pakistani army post in North Waziristan under its operation Al-Badr killing 3 Pakistan army soldiers on the spot. Ground sources have revealed that TTP in its defense has received fresh stocks of RPG, Hand Grenades, Small arms – ammunition and MANPADS from Afghanistan side to counter Pakistan army which itself is getting a huge supply of arms from China since January 22 to wipe Pashtuns. The ongoing battle between TTP supported by separatist factions of ISIS Sham & Khorasan is under reported by Pakistani media since Pakistan army has suffered heavy losses in the Guerilla warfare. Not only did the Pakistan soldiers die in ambush, nearly a dozen of them were captured by TTP and are still in captivity.