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Pak army top brass hints at tougher app­roach against TTP


Islamabad, Aug 26 (IANS) Top brass of the Pakistan Army has hinted at a tougher app­roach against the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakis­tan (TTP) terror group as it emphasised continuat­ion of counter-terrorism operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) and Balochistan.

Speaking at the 250th Corps Comm­anders’ Conference, a monthly feature at General Headquarters, Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa, according to ISPR, “directed formations to maintain operational readiness and efforts to counter terrorism particularly in KP and Balochistan must continue”, Dawn reported.

A review of the security situation and flood relief operations being undertaken by the army topped the agenda of the meeting.

The ISPR press release on the conference did not give any details about the emphasis on counter-terrorism operations.

Operations against Baloch insurgents, Gul Bahadur group (KP) and some other militant outfits have been continuing.

However, there has been a cessation of hostilities between security forces and TTP since Eid-ul-Fit, at least an unannounced one as far as Pakistani security forces are concerned.

At present, the two sides are observing a three-month ceasefire as their representatives hold peace talks.

Gen Bajwa’s assertion about the continuation of the kinetic operations in KP and Balochistan provinces comes in the backdrop of growing public resentment about the return of TTP fighters, Dawn reported.

Many suspect that the TTP fighters were returning as part of the ongoing peace talks.

Earlier this month, the TTP militants were seen in Swat’s Matta area and at least one incident of their clash with law-enforcement agencies was reported.

Similarly, their presence has been noted in North and South Waziristan where an uptick in target killings and kidnappings has been witnessed.

This has led to anti-TTP protests in Swat and North Waziristan, Dawn reported.

The timing of Gen Bajwa’s statement also coincides with stress in peace talks that have been taking place in Afghanistan.

There is a growing trust deficit between the two sides, though neither wants to walk out of the talks.

It is widely suspected that the TTP has begun extending active support to Gul Bahadur group in its attacks on security forces.

The group, however, does not formally acknowledge its role in these attacks.


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