6,000 Pak’s TTP terrorists still in Afghanistan, support Taliban against Afghan forces: UN report
Citing information from the Member States and other interlocutors, the UN report said that the Taliban’s approach towards foreign terrorists has not been consistent.
About 6,000 terrorists of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are operating from the Afghan side of the border as they have maintained ties with the Taliban despite growing distrust, a report prepared for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has warned. While the TTP has “distinctive anti-Pakistan objectives”, it also supports the Taliban militants inside Afghanistan against Afghan Forces, according to the report prepared by the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.
The TTP is said to be traditionally located in the eastern districts of Nangarhar Province, near the border with Pakistan. A reunification of TTP and certain splinter groups, including Shehryar Mehsud group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), and Hizb-ul-Ahrar took place from December 2019 to August 2020 while Al-Qaeda was reportedly involved in the moderation between these groups, the report said.
“The return of splinter groups to the TTP fold has increased its strength, of which current Member State estimates range between 2,500 and 6,000 armed fighters, with one Member State assessing that the upper range is more accurate,” the report says.
Citing information from the Member States and other interlocutors, the UN report said that the Taliban’s approach towards foreign terrorists has not been consistent. The Taliban’s effort to suppress such outfits has been “more pronounced in cases of foreign terrorist fighters with suspected leanings” Islamic State and TTP.
“Attempted enforcement has reportedly led to clashes (some fatal) between the Taliban and TTP over operational restrictions placed on the latter,” the report states.
Despite the Taliban’s repeated denial of any presence of foreign terrorists in Afghanistan, the report noted that fighters from various countries and militant groups continue to operate in the country and most are reported to be, at minimum, “tolerated or protected by the Taliban.” The foreign terrorists mainly comprise fighters from “Central Asia, the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation, Pakistan and the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China, among others."
“Although the majority are affiliated foremost with the Taliban, many also support [Al-Qaeda]. Others are allied with ISIL or have ISIL sympathies,” the report adds.