ISLAMABAD (Khyber Mail): In a seminar hosted by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), Lt. Gen ® Nasir Khan Janjua, the former National Security Advisor, proposed that the solution to cross-border terrorism, particularly the TTP, lies in collaboration with the Afghan government. He emphasized the need to view Afghanistan beyond the TTP issue for a prosperous future and a stronger regional partnership. He also highlighted the importance of understanding the broader context of cross-border terrorism, attributing current challenges to conflicting ideologies and interactions with insurgent groups.

Ambassador Asif Ali Khan Durrani, Pakistan’s Special Representative on Afghanistan, expressed that peace in Afghanistan is currently a challenging goal. Therefore, it is crucial to coexist and manage relations with Afghanistan effectively. He noted that despite initial hopes of improved security with the Taliban’s arrival, TTP attacks from Afghanistan have increased by 60 percent in the past two years. He openly accused India of funding the TTP through Afghan intermediaries, a practice he claims has been ongoing since the Karzai administration. He stressed that negotiations should not be held with non-state actors.

Dr. Kaleem Imam, a former IGP and counterterrorism expert, pointed out that several militant organizations, including BLA and BLF, are actively spreading insurgencies alongside the TTP. He advocated for distinct strategies to counter each group, considering the complex nature of militant networks and ideologies.

Zahid Hussain, a well-known author and journalist, stated that the events following the Taliban’s return were predictable and that the country was unprepared. He argued that the TTP could not exist in Afghanistan without the Afghan Taliban’s support and criticized the state’s inconsistent approach to combating terrorism. He urged for clear policies towards the TTP, stating that simultaneous fighting and negotiation are not feasible.

Senior journalist and anchor Gharida Farooqi agreed with Hussain, arguing that a consensus cannot be formed from confusion and clarity. She called for a clear stance on the Taliban and asserted that negotiations with the TTP should only occur if they acknowledge Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Iftikhar Khan Firdous of the Khorasan Diary revealed that the TTP currently comprises at least 25 subgroups and has increased its fighters from 18,000 to 21,000 in the past two years. He suggested that the TTP is emulating the insurgency model of the 2004 Afghan Taliban, rapidly establishing its political and military structure.

In his closing remarks, IRS President, Ambassador Jauhar Saleem, emphasized the need to understand the inevitable international politics in the region and to prevent it from destabilizing the country. He stressed the importance of adopting the right policy regime within the context of domestic issues and foreign relations, and called for clarity in thoughts and actions regarding the nation’s key challenges and the path forward.

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