Cii News, Pic: EPA (FILE) | 16 October 2012
There is very little that can be used to defend the actions of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in their attack on Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old girl who made it her life mission to speak out against those objecting to the education of females. They shot her in the head in an attempt to silence her for promoting western ideologies.
Assassinating people who disagree with your views after a tribal consultation that takes the form a judge, jury and executioner cannot be acceptable. Like the indiscriminate US drone attacks, the incarceration of people in secret prisons and the torture of detainees, it must be condemned.
That argument aside, let us examine who the TTP are, what are their objectives and are they the ‘Taliban’ referred to so effortlessly by western media and so gullibly by Muslim ‘commentators’ on various social network and media platforms.
Loosely translated as the Student Movement of Pakistan, the TTP is an umbrella organisation made up of at least 13 armed groups operating along the Pakistan Afghan border in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Initially under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud, it is now under the control of Hakimullah Mehsud after Baitullah was killed in a US drone strike in 2009.
The group was formed after the Pakistani military entered the tribal regions of the Waziri tribe for the first time in 55 years in 2002, hunting down foreign fighters who had left the Afghan battlefields and sort refuge in the non-administered area. The tribesmen viewed the military incursion as an attempt to subjugate them and have since made the Pakistani military the focus of their attacks.
There have been open and well documented disagreements between the Afghan Taliban leadership and the TTP. This fact, noted by western security analysts as well, was conveniently ignored during the latest reports emanating from the Malala Yousufzai shooting.
According to Ahmed Qureshi, a political analyst and columnist at The News International, the largest Pakistani English language newspaper, “The TTP is really not a coherent group, unlike the Afghan Taliban. They are an alliance of many other smaller groups. Most of them are guns for hire.”
Daud Khattak, writing for the Counter Terrorism Centre, noted that even though the Afghan Taliban have repeatedly attempted to distance themselves from the Pakistani leach, the TTP leadership continue to portray a close relationship.
“The Afghan Taliban do not engage in attacks in Pakistan. Its efforts are focused on fighting Afghan and international troops in Afghanistan. Yet despite their differences, all of the Pakistani Taliban factions—even those that attack Pakistani interests—call the reclusive Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar their leader, or amir al-mu’minin.”
The political and military chaos in the region has provided the perfect chess board for regional and international spy agencies to operate. Pakistan being a nuclear power, its strong and conservative Islamic infrastructure, its historical assistance to the Afghan mujahideen groups and current connections to the Afghan Taliban make it a prime target for the likes of the US, Israel and India.
Qureshi is convinced that outside forces are playing that role and are backing the TTP. “I quote Foreign Minister, Sha Mehmood Qureshi, that we have hardcore evidence that links the Indian intelligence in Afghanistan in providing weapons and money to some of the TTP people. At the same time we have the Interior Minister (Rehman Malik) on record as having repeatedly called on the US military in Afghanistan and on the Afghan government to do something about the terror safe havens that the TTP maintains in Afghanistan to attack Pakistan.”
A February 2011 report in the Express Tribune revealed that a US intelligence agent, Raymond Davis, had close links with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
“The New York Times reported on Monday that Davis “was part of a covert, CIA-led team of operatives conducting surveillance on militant groups deep inside the country, according to American government officials. This contradicts the US claim that Davis was a member of the ‘technical and administrative staff’ of its diplomatic mission in Pakistan. Davis was arrested on January 27 after allegedly shooting dead two young motorcyclists at a crowded bus stop in Lahore. American officials say that the arrest came after a ‘botched robbery attempt’.”
A senior official in the Punjab police told the paper that “The Lahore killings were a blessing in disguise for our security agencies who suspected that Davis was masterminding terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab.” He added that, “His (Davis’) close ties with the TTP were revealed during the investigations.
The layers required in covering up the intentions of world powers and the means they will use to achieve the objectives are staggering without doubt.
Tags: ahmed qureshi, indian intelligence, raymod davis, rehman malik, sha mahmood qureshi, Taliban, tehrik-e-taliban, ttp