By Hamza Ameer
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistan-based terror group, has merged with its splinter groups Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) and Hizb-ul-Ahrar (HuA) in Afghanistan to re-align and re-establish itself to carry out terror activities aimed at sabotaging the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan along with targeting neighbouring Pakistan.
Reliable sources have informed that representatives from TTP, JUA and HuA had several meetings in the recent past in different parts of Afghanistan as part of their months long ongoing efforts to merge the splinter groups and discuss their reunification.
As per sources, the talks have been going on for the past seven months and after many hiccups, halts and disagreements, all parties have come to a merger agreement.
Sources in Pakistan, however, believe that the merger is being coordinated, arranged and facilitated by elements within the Afghanistan intelligence network, who they say are working hand in glove with India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
As per reliable sources, the ongoing talks ended in a merger that was registered through an oath of allegiance to bring the three militant factions together. The sources also confirmed that the meeting was held in Afghanistan’s Paktia and Kunar provinces.
As per the agreement, Mufti Noor Wali has been appointed the chief (amir) of the TTP with the responsibility of carrying out terror activities in Pakistan. On the other hand, JuA’s Ikram Turabi, who was bailed out of Peshawar Central Jail earlier this year, is now the head of Amari Shura.
Sources have further detailed that all decisions will be taken under the authority of the TTP’s central Rahbari Shura, while a prime focus of the groups will be to carry out physical attacks in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Analysts in Pakistan have expressed serious concern over the merger, stating that the hard work behind the success of the Afghan peace process and rooting out terror groups in Pakistan, would come under serious challenge.
“The merger should be a major concern for Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US. Many former TTP members have already joined ISIL-Khorasani and Member States expect that the group and its various splinter groups will align themselves with ISIL-K,” read a report presented to the United Nations Security Council.
As per estimates, a total of at least 6,000 to 6,500 Pakistani foreign fighters in Afghanistan, mostly with the TTP, pose a serious threat to the security situation and installations in Pakistan.