ISLAMABAD - Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) claiming the responsibility for martyring Pakistan Army’s two senior officers in Dir on Sunday has raised many questions over seriousness of the banned militant outfit to accept peace talks offer of the government.
The Taliban carried out this big hit at a time when the government is busy devising a roadmap and mechanism to engage Taliban in peace process after initiation of dialogue with militants was approved with national consensus at the recently held All Parties Conference (APC).
In the background discussion and interviews, credible civil and military sources said they believe it to be a handiwork of TTP’s absconding Swat commander Maulvi Fazlullah and his associates who are using safe heavens in Afghanistan’s border provinces Kunur and Nurristan for staging attacks in Pakistan.
They say that the group of Fazlullah, who escaped the military operation in Swat and Malakand along with his close associates few years ago, was still capable to challenge the writ of the government in Upper Dir on Pak-Afghan border.
“This major incident is one of the several attacks Fazlullah and his associates had mounted against Pakistani security forces,” a security analyst said, emphasising that the likes of Fazlullah in the TTP will do their utmost to sabotage government peace efforts.
Pakistan has been demanding from the Afghan government and the US-led Isaf tracking down and arrest of this notorious Taliban commander and handing him over to Pakistan government, but in vain.
Sources expressed different views on the lacklustre response of Afghan government and the US military in this regard for a number of factors, one being that some elements in Afghan security forces were involved in tacit support to Fazlullah in a bid to destabilise Pakistan. Those supporting this claim point out that Pakistan took up Fazlullah issue with Afghan authorities and US military commanders in Afghanistan a number of times but they were least bothered about it.
However, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Afghanistan Rustam Shah Mehmond believes that Fazlullah has not been arrested because Kunur and Nurristan provinces of Afghanistan have very rough and challenging terrain and Afghan security forces did not have the required capability to track down these absconding Pakistani militants.
Asked why the US-led Isaf was not doing enough to help Pakistan in this regard, he said since the Fazalullah and other such groups do not attack US or Afghan security forces, therefore, the US military commanders too were not interested in taking any action against them.
Some security experts suggest that Islamabad should press Afghan authorities as well the US to crush these subversive elements who are not only causing serious threat to Pakistan’s national security but are now also creating hurdles in government’s peace initiative to engage the Taliban.