News / Asia

    Pakistan Taliban Split Imperils Peace Efforts

    FILE: The Pakistani Taliban, fighting to topple the government through terrorist attacks, is dividing. In Peshawar, a sprawling city on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, police gather evidence after a suicide bombing that killed at least nine bystanders
    FILE: The Pakistani Taliban, fighting to topple the government through terrorist attacks, is dividing. In Peshawar, a sprawling city on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, police gather evidence after a suicide bombing that killed at least nine bystanders
    Ayaz Gul
    A long-anticipated split in the Pakistani Taliban appears to have finally occurred, dealing a blow to the unified command of the outlawed militant organization. But critics are skeptical about whether it bodes well for what they consider the “controversial and confused” peace efforts of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
     
    Formed in late 2007, the loosely knit alliance of dozens of armed anti-state groups, called the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, has killed thousands of Pakistanis through suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks.
     
    But this week, a key faction within the militant organization announced it was no longer part of the TTP, commonly referred to as the Pakistani Taliban.
     
    A spokesman for the breakaway group, led by militant commander Khalid Said Sajna, cited what he called “un-Islamic” terrorism policies of TTP leaders, and its practice of raising funds through kidnapping and extortion.
     
    It is still not clear whether Pakistani government policies or the intervention of its intelligence service may have encouraged the split. It is also not clear whether the breakaway group is interested in negotiating for peace.
     
    “This wedge might have been encouraged by the security establishment [the military] and the position of the TTP has been weakened,” former army brigadier Said Nazir said, but militants “have not announced any sort of cease-fire.”
     
    Nazir said the split could give authorities greater leverage in attempts to strike a peace deal over areas where the militants are in control.
     
    Preparing for foreign troops’ departure
     
    As U.S.-led foreign troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year, both Afghan and Pakistani leaders are scrambling to anticipate the fallout from their departure.
     
    In Pakistan, pressure is increasing on the government to extend its writ to the militant-infested border regions, particularly in North Waziristan, a known hub of Afghan insurgents.
     
    Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's peace efforts have been criticized.Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's peace efforts have been criticized.
    x
    Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's peace efforts have been criticized.
    Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's peace efforts have been criticized.
    The central government’s influence has long been weak in the tribal areas and the military has struggled for years to subdue militants who fight against the state.
     
    Ehsan ul Haq, a retired army general and former chief of Pakistan's military spy agency, the ISI, said securing the border region is critical for both Kabul and Islamabad.  
      
    “We only have a very short time window to put our own house in order, operationalize our response, gain and consolidate control over all our territories, including North Waziristan,” Haq said, citing a need to regulate “the Pak-Afghan border.”
     
    “Our efforts at gaining control over our territories and negating the misperception of the sanctuaries ultimately hinge on our decision on the border issue,” he said.
     
    U.S. and Afghan officials have long accused the Pakistani military, particularly the ISI, of assisting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, citing Islamabad’s alleged reluctance to undertake a major offensive against militant bases in the Waziristan region.
     
    The former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, Maleeha Lodhi, suggested the long-running problem tests Pakistan’s international credibility.
     
    If a country can’t maintain law and order in its frontier regions, fueling cross-border concerns with other countries, “it is a little hard to see how that country will pursue its objectives, whether regionally or globally,” she said.
     
    Peace talks criticized
     
    Earlier this year, Sharif, the prime minister, opened peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, hoping that diplomacy could succeed where years of military offensives did not.
     
    However, the initiative drew severe criticism from progressive and civil society groups. They said it was pointless negotiating with a group whose mission is the violent overthrow of Pakistan’s political system.
     
    Critics like Lodhi also say the effort contributed to an overall uncoordinated policy on addressing the Taliban threat.
     
    “So, for us, the fundamental issue is to align all the elements of state power or national power,” she said. “I am afraid they are not aligned right now. The elements of national power are in complete disarray. Nor is there a strategic clarity about how do we pursue these goals to bring about the kind of domestic peace and stability that our people deserve.”
     
    Some critics fear the split in the Pakistani Taliban could increase Islamabad’s tensions with Kabul because the breakaway militant faction is known for close links with Afghan insurgents. Some believe the militants could be seeking peace deals in Pakistan so they can concentrate on helping the Taliban insurgency across the Afghan border during the pivotal year when foreign troops withdraw.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    May 30, 2014 12:01 PM
    Finding peace with the Taliban and their supporters is almost impossible, because of the "Unequal Treaty" Pakistan has with the US, that allows the US killer drones to kill suspected anti-Americans (Al-Qaeda and Taliban) terrorists, their families, and other innocent Pakistan civilians with impunity? --
    Pakistan didn't have a war with the Taliban, until they took the US money, and signed the "Unequal Treaty" -- and then the US killer drone bombings and war began? --- (Stop the bombings, and start NEGOTIATING?)

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United Statesi
    X
    July 28, 2016 2:16 AM
    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora