The representative of the radical Taliban movement Zabihullah Mujahid said on Sunday that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement should be managed by the Pakistani authorities, not Afghanistan.
The TPP problem is a problem that Pakistan, not Afghanistan will have to deal with. Pakistani ulama and religious leaders, not [Afghan] Taliban, must decide whether the war is legal or illegal and develop a strategy accordingly,” Mujahid said in an interview with Pakistani Geo TV.
At the same time, he assured that the Afghan Taliban are determined to prevent the use of Afghan soil for terrorist activities against other countries.
“Our principled position is that we will not allow anyone to use our territory to destroy peace in a foreign country,” he said.
“If the TTP considers the Afghan Taliban as its leaders, they will have to listen to them, whether they like it or not,” the Afghan Taliban spokesman added.
TTP is a radical group operating primarily in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, northwest Pakistan and along the border with Afghanistan. It opposes the Pakistani government and the system of power in the country and calls for the creation of a “real Islamic state” in Pakistan.
US To Work With Taliban
Meanwhile, the US government is likely to expand its intelligence ties with the Taliban after completing its withdrawal from Afghanistan next week, former UK ambassador Peter Ford said.
On Friday, the White House admitted there was clearly a breakdown in the security process that failed to prevent this week’s suicide bombing at the Kabul airport, which reportedly left 170 dead, including thirteen US troops.
The attack, claimed by the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) terrorist group comes amid a chaotic US evacuation from Afghanistan that President Joe Biden claims the US will complete by the end of the month.
“After August 31, I expect US anti-ISIS [IS] intelligence cooperation with the Taliban to be discreetly stepped up, possibly resulting in an operation similar to that which saw [IS leader Abu Bakr] Baghdadi eliminated on the Syrian Turkish border, with the ISIS [IS]-in-Afghanistan leadership its target,” Ford said.
The United States, Ford added, was caught off guard because of the rushed nature of the evacuation.
“And that happened because of the colossal error of US intelligence and military in assessing the likelihood of collapse on the part of the US-trained Afghan army as US forces withdrew,” Ford said.
Once it became clear that the Afghan army would not fight it was clear the final rush for the exits would be a shambles, opening up opportunities for IS-K to strike, he added.
“Those who wish to distract attention away from the huge strategic errors of earlier years will want to dwell on the shambles of the immediate moment,” Ford said. “The focus should be on calling to account the security establishment’s crass complacent handling of Afghanistan over 20 years.”
Ford doubts that Biden will be deflected from the final departure on 31 August, whatever happens now. “To do so would only hand victory to ISIS [IS], allowing them to go on posing as the only pure resistance to occupation,” the former ambassador said.
The Taliban after the attacks said the group warned that the large gatherings at the Kabul airport could attract the attention of terrorists.
On Friday, the White House confirmed that Biden gave the US military all the authorities needed to carry out attacks against the IS-K without congressional approval.