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

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid