TTP attacks in Chitral suggest terror group trying to open new front in war against Pakistan

Pakistan terrorism jihadism radical islam

The latest Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacks in Pakistan's Chitral suggest that the terrorist group could be trying to open a new front in their war against Islamabad, according to Al Arabiya. Chital, located in the remote north of Pakistan, has been a relatively stable area that has not witnessed major militant activity, except for the 2011 attack.

The district has recently been in the headlines due to the September 6 deadly cross-border incursion in which a large band of TTP militants crossed over and attacked Pakistani Army positions before being pushed back into Afghanistan. 

Although the army has not given any numbers, the TTP raiders were reported to be in 'hundreds'! A few days later a bomb explosion killed at least one soldier and wounded several people, including civilians in an attack that targeted a Frontier Corps convoy in Peshawar, the capital of KPK province, as per Al Arabiya.

The TTP claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it ambushed the convoy with an improvised explosive device. While the September 6 attack was brought under control after five days, the capacity of the Pakistan Army to keep the region under control is going to be tested from time to time by the TTP.

Pakistan has said the country has warned the Taliban that TTP militants were massing near the border in northeastern Afghanistan, but the Afghan Taliban did not prevent the TTP from carrying out the attacks. 

The Afghan Taliban's continued failure to destroy TTP safe havens will enable the TTP to conduct future attacks in Pakistan. The difficult mountainous terrain and lack of Pakistani military manpower and infrastructure in Chitral will hinder Pakistan's ability to secure the border with Afghanistan.

The TTP has used its freedom of movement in Afghanistan to move forces from havens in the Kunar Province and massed them in Barg-e Matal, Nuristan Province, before attacking Chital. The leader of TTP commanded the operation from Barg-e Matal. The TTP claimed responsibility for the attack on the Ostai security check-post and Janjeerat Koh check-post in Chitral district. 

Jalil Abbas Jilani, the Interim Foreign Minister insisted that the September 6 attack was an "isolated incident" and the Afghan Taliban rulers did not sanction the attack, while the Foreign Office has repeated the mantra that Pakistan's concerns have been communicated to the relevant quarters in Kabul, as per Al Arabiya. Jilani said Pakistan had registered a strong protest with Afghanistan by handing over a demarche to the Afghan Charge d' Affaires.

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