Taliban and Pakistan On Collision Course Over Cross-Border Assaults


Welcome to The Azadi Briefing, a brand new RFE/RL publication that unpacks the important thing points in Afghanistan. To subscribe, click on right here.

I am Mustafa Sarwar, a senior information editor at RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi. Here is what I have been monitoring and what I am maintaining a tally of within the days forward.

The Key Difficulty

The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group claimed duty for the killing of an official and officer of Pakistan’s highly effective Inter-Providers Intelligence (ISI) spy company. Police mentioned the 2 males have been shot useless on January 3 outdoors a lodge in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous and affluent province.

The TTP, often known as the Pakistani Taliban, mentioned in a assertion {that a} “secret squad of TTP killed ISI Deputy Director Multan Naveed Sadiq alongside together with his colleague Inspector Nasir Butt.” Islamabad confirmed the killings however not the TTP’s involvement.

It was the most recent high-profile TTP assault in Pakistan for the reason that militant group ended a cease-fire with Islamabad in late November. The Afghan Taliban, which seized energy in Kabul in 2021, has been accused of sheltering the TTP, an in depth ideological and organizational ally.

Why it is vital: The TTP’s intensifying assaults inside Pakistan have infected tensions between Islamabad and the Afghan Taliban, who’re longtime allies. In a reference to the Afghan Taliban, Pakistan’s political and army management on January 2 mentioned no nation could be allowed to harbor militants who perform assaults towards the South Asian nation.

A day later, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid mentioned Pakistan’s accusations have been “baseless” and “provocative.” He added that the Taliban was making an attempt its finest to stop any teams from utilizing “the territory of Afghanistan towards Pakistan or another nation.” This was a pledge the Taliban made beneath the 2020 U.S.-Taliban deal that paved the way in which for the withdrawal of overseas forces from Afghanistan in August 2021. However the Taliban’s alleged sheltering of the TTP suggests it’s unwilling to fulfil its promise.

The areas of the TTP’s current assaults are additionally vital. Beforehand, the extremist group had concentrated its assaults on Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas, its former stronghold. However it’s now increasing the scope of its assaults, together with a bombing within the capital, Islamabad, on December 20.

What’s subsequent: The TTP is prone to proceed its assaults inside Pakistan, which in flip may immediate Pakistan to place extra stress on the Afghan Taliban. In April 2022, Pakistan carried out unprecedented air strikes in japanese Afghanistan, killing dozens of individuals. Pakistan mentioned it was concentrating on the TTP. The air strikes provoked unusually harsh exchanges, with the Taliban issuing threats towards Islamabad. Comparable motion sooner or later is prone to additional worsen tensions between Islamabad and the Afghan Taliban.

The Week’s Finest Tales

Throughout 2022, the Taliban imposed sweeping restrictions on girls’s appearances, freedom of motion, and their proper to work and obtain an training. Afghan girls mentioned the militant group has successfully erased them from society. Activists have warned that the Taliban is prone to additional erode girls’s rights in 2023 because the group reestablishes its brutal regime of the Nineties.

Ladies throughout Afghanistan proceed to protest current bans by the Taliban on training and employment alternatives for females. Some have burned photos of Taliban leaders. Male professors and college college students have additionally protested towards the elevated restrictions on girls in increased training. Regardless of worldwide condemnation, the Taliban has mentioned it’s unwilling to reverse the bans.

What To Maintain An Eye On

Iran introduced on January 3 that it’s planning to supply extra scholarships to feminine Afghan college college students. Final month, the Taliban banned girls from attending universities in Afghanistan, a choice that was extensively criticized, together with by Tehran.

Iran’s official IRNA information company mentioned Tehran College has elevated its finances fivefold for scholarships to Afghan college students. Some 470 Afghan college students, round 1 / 4 of them girls, presently examine at Tehran College, in accordance with IRNA.

Iran’s clerical regime has lengthy been criticized for violating girls’s rights. However girls within the Islamic republic are allowed to attend universities, the place they make up nearly all of college students.

Why it is vital: Iran’s plan to supply scholarships to feminine Afghan college students is a part of a wider rebuke of the Taliban’s ban on girls’s training by Islamic international locations. Taliban-ruled Afghanistan is the one nation on the planet that has banned girls’s training.

Many Islamic international locations and establishments have condemned the Taliban’s ban, saying the choice has nothing to do with Islam. Qatar and Indonesia are additionally reportedly planning to supply college scholarships to Afghan girls. However these efforts may very well be futile if the Taliban, as anticipated, prevents girls from touring overseas to obtain an training.

That is all from me for now. Do not forget to ship me any questions, feedback, or suggestions that you could have.

Till subsequent time,

Mustafa Sarwar

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