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Taliban’s refusal to acknowledge Pakistan Taliban’s presence in Afghanistan leaves Islamabad stunned

Zabihullah Mujahid

“There are no Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan, nor is there a place for them here. Our land will not be used against any other country. We will not allow anyone to become a threat to other countries,” said Taliban’s spokesperson  Zabihullah Mujahid.

When asked by a Pakistani journalist about formation of a committee by the Taliban supremo Haibatullah Akhundzada to convince Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to stop its activities in Pakistan, Zabihullah Mujahid replied curtly: "There is no truth to the rumour.”  He also denied that Pakistan has given a list of wanted militants to  the Afghan Taliban.

This doesn’t look good for Pakistan. If the Taliban is saying that the TTP is not present in Afghanistan, it essentially means that it will not take any action against the ant-Pak group.

Separately, in a show on  a Pakistani news channel Geo tv, Taliban’s spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said the same.

Earlier, Pakistan has said that it has shared a list of “most wanted terrorists”  including the supremo Noor Wali  of the banned TTP asking the Afghan Taliban to take action against them and not allow them to use Afghanistan against Pakistan.

Also read:  Islamabad worried as more than 4,000 anti-Pak militants released by Taliban enter Pakistan

"We have taken up the issue with them [Afghan Taliban]. We have given them a list of wanted TTP terrorists operating from Afghanistan," a senior Pakistani official, familiar with the development, told the Pakistani daily Express Tribune. According to the paper the list was also shared with the Taliban supremo Haibatullah Akhundzada who is in Karachi, living in a Pakistani Army safe house. Pakistan is  seeking extradition of the TTP chief and its other top commanders.

Afghan Taliban given list of ‘wanted’ TTP men

Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid had also told the media on Monday that the Afghan Taliban had reassured the Pakistan government that the TTP would not be given permission to operate in Afghanistan against Pakistan.

But it seems that the Taliban is not ready to part ways with its conjoined twin, the  Pakistan Taliban.

Now that the celebration over Taliban’s triumph in Afghanistan is over , Pakistani rulers are deeply concerned about the “unpredictable” Taliban. Recently about 4000 TTP fighters including its commanders were released by the Afghan Taliban from the Afghan prisons and are now back in Pakistan. After completion of  mission Kabul, the group has launched another mission- to establish a greater Afghanistan which includes Pakistani tribal areas. In a recent interview, the TTP supremo Noor Wali Mehsud  had clarified  that he is not using Afghan soil for attacking the Pakistani army. “We don't need Afghanistan's soil to protect ourselves from Pakistan Army's attacks. We are still fighting with the Pakistan Army from our own (Pakistan) soil. We are hoping to take control of the tribal region and make it an independent area,”

Mehsud was among the first to pledge to reinstate his bayat (allegiance) to the Taliban Chief Hibatullah Akhundzada.

For Pakistani rulers, history is repeating itself. Until recently, they used to say that there is no Taliban in Pakistan, now the Taliban is saying that there is no Pakistan Taliban in Afghanistan.