A high-powered commission set up by Afghanistan’s Taliban has been working to press anti-Pakistan militants to stop violence against the neighboring country and return to their homes across the border with their families, media reports.
Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada set up the three-member commission recently to look into Islamabad’s complaints that the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), commonly known as the Pakistani Taliban, is using Afghan soil to plot cross-border terrorist attacks, the sources said.
“TTP leaders are being warned (by the Afghan Taliban Commission) to settle their problems with Pakistan and return to the country along with their families in exchange for a possible amnesty by the Pakistani government,” sources in Islamabad revealed on condition of anonymity.
Pakistan and Afghan Taliban officials have not publicly commented on the development.
The sources, while speaking to media, ruled out the possibility of Pakistan accepting any TTP demands require the militants to surrender their firearms in order to protect Pakistan’s years of counterterrorism gains.
While talking to media, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said be it TTP or any other terrorist group they “will have no place in our country and that’s a clear message to all.”
“Our policy is clear that we will not allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against any neighboring country, including Pakistan. So they should not have any concern,” he told media, without sharing further details.
The Taliban are in desperate need of support from regional and international countries.
Analysts say it would be extremely difficult for the Taliban to disregard reservations to terrorist activities of all the neighboring countries, including Pakistan.
“If they (the Afghan Taliban) fail to deliver on their counterterrorism commitments, not only Pakistan but China, Russia, Iran and Central Asian countries would all be upset because they also complain that fugitive militants sheltering on Afghan soil threaten their national interests,” the Pakistani sources stressed.
“Can they survive if they turn their guns against us and support TTP? This is not possible. Our trade routes are a lifeline for them, for landlocked Afghanistan,” the sources added.
Over the past five years, Pakistan has constructed a robust fence and hundreds of forts along what used to be its historically open border with Afghanistan to effectively blocked militant infiltration in either direction, as per its Military commanders.
TTP militants are blamed for killing tens of thousands of Pakistanis since their emergence in 2007 in retaliation for Islamabad’s decision to cooperate with Washington in the war against terrorism.