The fear finally took the real shape. We might have become more vulnerable to ever expanding voracious forces. It was foreseen for long but somewhere inside the heart I wished it didnâ€™t happen. Our conjectures became reality when Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced its allegiance with brutal ISIS the other day. In a very brief statement through the video from TTPâ€™s jihadist leader Shahidullah Shahid, it informed the ill-fated nation about this ill-development.
I remember when, few months ago, few articles published in newspapers regarding this possible development, number of people took it as a joke and paid no heed to the possibility. People were assured that Operation Zarb-e-Azb will break the TTPâ€™s break to the point that they wonâ€™t be able to make any alliances or strategies in the future. Moreover, showing concerns for the possibility of TTP-ISIS alliance had people saying that weâ€™re promoting negative image of Pakistan by pursuing propagandist agendas.
Raising cautions for disasters in the making will make you least patriot. This is the practice that promotes ignorance and hatred. In worst cases, talking about extremism and terrorism may raise questions on loyalty and patriotism. Anyways, I will discuss the development without pointing figure at any one in particular who didnâ€™t see this coming.
Shahidullah Shahidâ€™s video was released to number of TV channels and Urdu translation of the video message was run through the tickers on various TV channels. The prominent section of Taliban jihadists residing in hidden areas around FATA and Peshawar have left the TTP and declared their joining to ISIS.
In the video tape Shahidullah Shahid clearly says:
â€œI declare allegiance to the Caliph of Muslims, Amirul Momineen Abu Bakar al Baghdadi al Qarshi al Hussaini. I will listen and follow his every instruction whatever the situation may have been. This allegiance is neither from the TTP or its chief, Mullah Fazlullah. This is only from me and five leaders.â€
He also informed that the chief-leader of TTP has the backing o ISIS and he, himself, is fond of ISIS philosophy but he has abstained form declaring full allegiance to ISIS as yet. He also told the real name of his chief Abu Omar also known as â€˜Al-Khorasaniâ€™.
I believe this video message is a joint propaganda of TTP and ISIS to deceit our armed forces and the nation. We know our armed forces through operation Zarb-e-Azb have brought them to their knees in North Waziristan region. By allying themselves to ISIS, they may get a little more space and time to re-organize and gain the lost grounds. The reason is simple, any support from ISIS will be a big advantage to crumbling TTP, they might have thought that army will think twice about its ongoing strategies if ISIS gets on to TTPâ€™S side in the war.
With key Taliban figures allying with ISIS, this adversity brings another opportunity to us. These six leaders belong to section of Taliban confined to Malakand division. However, we havenâ€™t heard of alliance with ISIS from other factions such as Mehsud group and Taliban residing in Mohmand Agency. To our advantage, these two groups have been reported to make separate group with the name of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. So, while the ISISâ€™s support may be earned, Taliban seem of crumbling from within. The weak ally will be more of threat than opportunity to ISIS. TTPâ€™s chief Mullah Fazlullah has been trying hard to unite up all the factions and make a grand alliance with ISIS in the region but his efforts seem fruitless. This is where our might forces has an opportunity to crack down on small Taliban factions which act as driving force of main-stream block.
Talking about this alliance, it also reminds us of grand alliance between TTP and Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Omer. TTP ostentatiously declared about its allegiance to Amir-ul-Momineen Mullah an year or so ago. Has that alliance faded because of Mullah Omer coming close to U.S. in Afghanistan? Does alliance with Mullah Omer donâ€™t ensure safety to TTP in Pakistan anymore? Or is it other way around that Mullah Omar doesnâ€™t have much to offer to TTP anymore and It finds ISIS as the best boss in times ahead?
These all questions are critical for Pakistan security especially at point in time when its armed forces and political leadership have turned on against extremism and radicalism in the tribal areas. The breaking of TTP is a good sign but, as history suggests, they may make a better and powerful alliance and rise once again. We know how ISIS came into existence in the first p;ace that number of small factions finally got together and formed a massive organization threatening the whole middle east region. Similarly, TTP leadership joining the ISIS may be beginning of one the atrocious and fierce group in the volatile region of subcontinent.
For us, TTP and its factions are the enemies. Our government should make clear that any one aiding and abating our enemies will face same consequences as faced by TTP. We may stand neutral with ISIS as long as they donâ€™t boost up TTPâ€™s resources enabling it to fight us.
So, taking a broader look of the situation and understanding the real motives behind TTP-ISIS alliance can help us take proactive long term strategy to pre-empt the worst consequences the alliance can bring.