A suicide explosion at a mosque in Peshawar’s Police Lines area has killed at least 39 people and wounded over 123.
About this business, our argument before also was, that how we have been supporting these Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network, Quetta Shura, and they did their operations from Afghanistan, attacks etc. Their very survival was possible because of us otherwise for twenty long years they would never have survived ever. The American intention was not to ever completely finish them off and neither was it their objective to deal with this problem. They had their own strategeic interests. That’s another debate.
But we also gave them space and so they went and supported our local groups. They supported the local Taliban. Then with all this support, an elected government was finished off in Afghanistan. The Taliban took over. We were warning that the spillover would be felt here. Previously, they were focused on that side, in that direction, now they will be turning on us.
I even wrote in an article that in the quest for Afghanistan’s strategic depth, we have given up our own strategic depth in Pakistan. If this was by design or whatsoever, when we took it to be this, they were aware of it as well. But we still continued to support them.
Then when this Afghanistan episode happened and they took over the country, then delegations started to head over and they started talking through the Haqqani Network to the TTP. Jirgas would go. We’d hear the inside stories. They had a lot of demands. The TTP wanted complete power in our areas and authority. They wanted to come with their arms.
Over here, Gen Faiz would send jirgas, bureaucrats. Over there, the stuff they would say would be different. They were given assurances that the Fata merger would be undone. You guys can come back. They were told there is a petition on Fata’s merger lying in the Supreme Court… The narrative over here was that they would lay down their arms and they would follow the law. It was impossible to happen as the small groups surrendered so far also hasn’t laid down their weapons. It was told that They would adhere to the Constitution even though they’d say again and again that they don’t follow this law. It isn’t Islamic. These were the econtraditions. We said back then that these people are being given space in the name of talks. They are being settled. Deliberately.
At all the national security meetings in the briefings we listened and we countered it and said that you are making a mistake. We understand things are not okay but if you give then space then things will deteriorate. But they were still given space and whatever is happening, we told them word by word that this would happen.
We get it, that for some reason they are being given a path according to some agenda and brought back again.
Now the situation is that people have come out because of resistance and the militants have gone on the backfoot to some extent. It isn’t a complete takeover-like situation. Otherwise they had come to Swat and were making attacks in Bajaur. There was some containment because of public uprising in Waziristan, Mohmand, Swat, Bannu, Bajaur, Khyber, everywhere.
Otherwise their presence is so strong that in Peshawar as well they are attacking police every other day. Today they have attacked at Police Lines Peshawar mosque through a suicide bomber as well. A few days ago they attacked Sarband police station and martyred a DSP and another police officer. And they escape without anyone coming in their way. Before that at the Bannu CTD, they had beseiged a police station. Before that it was Bragi Police Station which falls between Lakki Marwat and Bannu, on the boudary. Before that in Wana City police station they had captured it and took all the weapons inside. They attacked another police station in Lakki Marwat. So across the board target killings, extortion calls. That’s another debate. It’s more than that.
I see this as an Afghanistan action replay. This situation is the same situation before the collapse there. They had set up and named governors from here. And the TTP has appointed governors and intelligence chiefs for different areas. And they can whenever they like, whatever time they like and however they like attack, pick people up.
And to counter them the problem is that the mixed signals with the passage of time… The mainstream political leadership of the country are still toeing the old flawed Afghan policy because the military leadership wants it this way, the security forces and police are confused and the nation is confused. There is no clear policy. What apparently said is different than the actions taken on ground.
Now amid all this confusion, we, and there is a general perception that this is happening deliberately, is part of a Great Game and that perhaps the West wants this, that there should be chaos somehow. There should be militancy so China’s economic advancement and CPEC should be thwarted and perhaps this is why talks with the Taliban received space. And perhaps for this reason the US abruptly withdrew and turned over Afghanistan to the Taliban.
At the end of the day the general public is suffering. People are dying. No one is coming to invest. Our economy is in bad shape. And there is a big difference in the Taliban from before and the Taliban now. This is an important distinction. Now they have a whole state at their back. And they are using this. Their foot soldiers who did not get any part of the state structure in Afghanistan they are turning their attentions to us. They are saying the jihad continues, they need to fight and get ahead and win more victories. We’re seeing them come in our areas. The people who fought in Afghanistan, are fighting here with the TTP and local groups.
The ingredients of this Great Game have been prepared. They’ve found the raw material. We used to think that no new recruitment was taking place. But it’s happening now. It’s a dire situation. And the more dangerous it grows the less we see planning to seriously tackle it, which raises many questions, is it deliberate for some reason? Are we pawns again? Whatsoever the reason, terrorism is going up and perhaps if we keep up pursuing adventures, we may end up doing irreparable damage.