The narrative has been floated so that Afghanistan Taliban and Pakistan army can take joint action against the TTP.
The stories and videos showing and suggesting armed friction between the Afghanistan Taliban members and the Pakistan army over the legality of Durand line is a fiction that has been fabricated by the Taliban intelligence chief, Hajji Najibullah and Pakistan ISI head, Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum.
This narrative, that the area surrounding the Durand line has become disturbed, has been floated so that the Afghanistan Taliban and the Pakistan army can take joint action against the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) also called “Pakistan Taliban”.
Pakistan army spokesperson Major General Babar Iftikhar on Wednesday, while addressing a press conference in Islamabad, stated that it had restarted the action against the TTP to eliminate its cadre. However, he failed to mention how the army was going to achieve this target and with whose help.
In its response to the claims made by the army spokesperson, Mohammad Khorasani, the spokesman of TTP, said that the Pakistan army was lying about “internal disturbances” within the TTP while stating that with the ceasefire no more in effect, the attack on Pakistan army will continue even as it shared the details of such attacks that it had undertaken in the last one year.
Last month on 9 December, the ceasefire between the TTP and Pakistan army was called off by the TTP over “failure of the Pakistan army to fulfill its promise”. Following this, the Pakistan army and the Afghan Taliban are now carrying out clandestine joint operations to identify, arrest and eliminate those TTP commanders who are seen as anti- Pakistan army and anti-ceasefire. The Sunday Guardian has listed the promise that the Pakistan army was supposed to fulfill in its 6 November story (Pak agrees to release TTP terrorists for the sake of ceasefire).
The Sunday Guardian spoke to TTP commanders, elders of the villages in the region, who stated that the videos that showed dispute between Taliban cadre and Pakistan soldiers, was an eye-wash. Rather, they said, the Afghanistan Taliban was following the directions that it was receiving from the ISI and this whole façade was a part of that direction.
The Afghan Taliban, these sources said, has been asked by the ISI and Pakistan army to ensure that “rogue” TTP commanders who have presence in the area of Kunar, Khost, Nuristan and Nangarhar in Afghanistan are forced to relocate farther away from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, along with their family members, and into an area that has only one exit and entry point so that they can be kept under constant watch by Afghan Taliban commander and they cannot enter Pakistan territory in the future.
TTP cadre are now not allowed to carry weapons and prohibition has been imposed on them by the Afghanistan Taliban from buying guns in a region where arms and ammunitions are sold freely. These two restrictions, directed by Pakistan’s ISI, are being strictly imposed.
The ISI has asked Haqqani network and another influential Afghan Taliban commander, who goes by the name of Maluvi Kabir, to ensure that these “rogue” TTP cadres and commanders are cornered and moved away from the border. “Haalat kharab dikhaye jaa rahe hai border pe, Taliban-Pakistan ke intelligence agencies ka joint operation hai. Aisa isliye kiya jaa raha hai ki TTP ko khatam kar sake,” (It is being shown that situation is bad on the borders, Taliban and Pakistan intelligence agencies are carrying out joint operation to put an end to TTP) a local elder from Nangarhar told The Sunday Guardian.
Gul Bahadur Sawti, Raham Rahimi, Abid khan and Danish are some TPP commanders, cadre who have been arrested by the Taliban in the recent past. These sources said the responsibility of identifying such “dissenting” and “rogue” TTP cadre in Nangarhar is being carried out by Taliban’s Nangarhar intelligence chief “Doctor” Bashir whose video, in which he was seen threatening Pakistani soldiers in December last year for trying to erect fence inside Afghanistan border, was widely circulated.
Such videos, these sources said, was a part of the false narrative that was being circulated to give a message that the Taliban and Pakistan army are different entities and that there were tensions between the two on the border.
Pakistan has completed the fencing of almost 94% of the Durand Line as per the latest statement made by Babar Iftikhar, spokesman for Pakistan’s armed forces on Wednesday. The Durand line is the 2,670-km international border between the two countries. However, the legality of this demarcation has historically been contested by successive Afghan governments who have protested such fencing efforts by Pakistan. However, with a pro-Pakistan government in Kabul, Islamabad is using the opportunity to complete the fencing. In some areas, local sources said, border outposts and areas which were traditionally under Afghan control, have now come under Pakistan control due to no actual resistance or protest from the Taliban cadre on the ground.
Under the new method to break the TTP, those TTP commanders who have been identified as anti-Pakistan and who do not want to surrender, are being associated with DAESH (ISIS). This method was recently executed when the Afghan Taliban raided the house of a TTP functionary, Hajine Mul Tallal Sarjai, Bajaur agency for hiding a DAESH commander Abdullah Muhajir. However, as per local sources, there was no truth in this and Sarjai was simply raided by the Taliban since he is against entering into a ceasefire with the Pakistan army.
Ground inputs available with The Sunday Guardian shows that many active TTP cadres and commanders who are based in Afghanistan, but are considered as pro- Pakistan, have been given Pakistan ID card, receive monthly allowance, to stay in Afghanistan and work for the Pakistan army.
These TTP commanders, locals said, prepare false reports against those TTP cadres who are seen as anti- Pakistan. These complaints are then submitted to the “law enforcement” division of Taliban so that the Taliban can take action against them in a “legal” manner. “Once a report is filed, the arms of the TTP commanders and their cadre are taken away and they are asked to move to a distant location,” a local source said.
Sources said that the same method of showing disturbance in the border area between the two (Taliban and Pakistan army) is going to be executed in the coming days in the Nimroz province of Afghanistan which shares borders with Balochistan, Pakistan. Nimroz is under the radar of the Pakistan army because people of this region support Baloch separation movement and many of the Baloch leaders move to Nimroz to escape the Pakistan army.