The Afghan Taliban on Friday rejected the claim by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan that it is part of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan.
In a widely circulated video on social media, TTP's chief Noor Wali Mehsud was speaking to Northern Zone, saying "TTP is a brand of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan. It is a part of the same umbrella.”
However, Afghan Taliban government spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid denied the claim in an interview to Arab News. “They are not, as an organization, part of IEA and we don’t share the same objectives.”
Since the group’s inception in 2007 under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud, the TTP was involved in a large number of terrorist attacks, including the horrific killing of at least 132 students in Army Public School in 2014.
The Pakistani government and TTP agreed on a month-long ceasefire in November under the aegis of Afghanistan, but the group refused to extend the accord accusing the officials of failing to honour the six points agreed between them.
In the interview, Mujahid called on TTP to focus on reaching peace with the Pakistani government. “We advise TTP to focus on peace and stability in their country. This is very important so they can prevent any chance for enemies to interfere in the region and in Pakistan.”
He also requested Islamabad “to look into their [TTP’s] demands for the better of the region and Pakistan.”
According to The News report, the latest peace deal was the seventh agreement between the Pakistani government and the group. However, it also failed to materialize like the previous six accords.
Earlier, Afghanistan acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi admitted that Afghan Taliban were acting as mediator to facilitate the talks between the Pakistani government and the TTP. However, Mujahid in the interview said the TTP was Islamabad’s “internal matter”.
“The IEA stance is that we do not interfere in other countries’ affairs,” he said. “We do not interfere in Pakistan’s affairs.”
As the parents of APS attack victims were concerned over the negotiations between the TTP and the government, the Supreme Court, in November, grilled Prime Minister Imran Khan over his government's inaction against those responsible for the APS and the talks with the group.
"Are we going to surrender once again?" SC judge Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed said during last month's hearing.
After the agreement between the two sides, 42 low-key TTP prisoners have been released as per reports and the government was also expected to release more foot soldiers.
In an interview to BBC HARDtalk on Wednesday, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf said the PTI-led government was ready to listen to officials of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan provided they respect Pakistan's laws.
"If they [the TTP] are apologizing and willing to go through the due process of the court of law, live under the Constitution of Pakistan, get punishments of all the crimes they have done, renounce violence forever, we are ready to listen to them," he told BBC interviewer Stephen Sackur.
On Saturday, in an attack on police officials who were escorting a polio team in Tank district, a policeman succumbed to injuries while another was injured and rushed to the hospital. The TTP in a statement claimed responsibility for the attack.