Militant group accuses government of not honoring terms of agreement, raising fears of renewed terror surge
The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Thursday announced it will not extend a month-long ceasefire that had been announced by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government last month, alleging that authorities had failed to honor the terms of their initial agreement.
A statement issued by TTP spokesman Muhammad Khurasani alleged that the militant group and the government had met on Oct. 25, 2021 “under the guidance of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” and finalized a six-point agreement.
Under the agreement, per the statement, Kabul would play the role of mediator between the government and the TTP; both sides would each form a five-member committee that would negotiate on their respective demands; a ceasefire would be declared from Nov. 1-30; 102 “imprisoned mujahideen” would be released to the TTP through Afghanistan; and that both sides would issue a joint statement on the ceasefire on Nov. 1.
Khurasani alleged that the government had failed to honor the terms of this agreement. His statement noted that the government had not issued its statement on the ceasefire until Nov. 9, adding that it had not been issued jointly as agreed earlier; that none of the 102 detained mujadhideen had been released; the government had not formed its five-member committee to proceed with negotiations; and “rather than implementing the ceasefire, security forces had” conducted raids and killed and detained militants and their relatives in Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat, Swat, Bajaur, Swabi and North Waziristan.
The TTP statement also criticized Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain’s description of the “guidance” of Afghanistan during the negotiations, claiming he had described them as “facilitators.”
Urging the people of Pakistan to decide whether it was the TTP or the “Pakistan Army and security establishment” who had violated the ceasefire agreement, the statement added: “Under these circumstances, it is not possible to extend the ceasefire.”
In an audio clip released prior to the statement, TTP chief Noor Wali Mehsud directed all fighters to resume their attacks after midnight, Dec. 9. He echoed the statement’s allegations that the TTP had not received any word from the government or the mediators.
On Nov. 9, the information minister had confirmed the ceasefire agreement, stressing that all future talks would be in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Pakistan. He had claimed this would bring “peace” to the region, adding that “these are our citizens” and it is “welcome” that they want to lay down their arms. The announcement had provoked outrage, especially among the families of students martyred in the 2014 Army Public School massacre, with opposition parties demanding the government place the “secret” agreement before Parliament for debate.
The TTP’s announcement virtually ends the government’s hopes for a peaceful settlement to the years-long unrest in Pakistan’s northern areas.