Unpromising news rolled in that the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) declined to extend their ceasefire with the government, which had previously lasted a month. They accused the government of failing to respect the decisions that had been mutually decided on previously. The breakage of this news has suspended the ongoing peace efforts with the TTP.
The TTP issued a statement that released details of the agreement it claims it had reached with the government, the six-point agreement was reached under the backing of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” (IEA). Both parties had agreed within the agreement that the IEA would be a mediator among them and that they would form committees made up of five members that would debate the next actions and demands of each side respectively.
The agreement also stated that both parties would observe a ceasefire that would last from Nov 1 to Nov 30, 2021 and that the government would release 102 “imprisoned mujahideen” to the TTP.
The government went against the statement as it failed to implement the agreements reached within the statement that both parties had decided upon and the situation was further aggravated by the security forces running raids in North Waziristan, Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat, Swat, and Swabi during which it detained and killed militants. The TTP said “Under these circumstances, it is not possible to extend the ceasefire”
An audio was released in which Mufti Noor Wali Mahsud announced an end to the ceasefire between TTP and the Government and told his fighters to continue the attacks past midnight as since they had not heard back from the government or mediators, they claimed they had the right to resume their attacks.
This decision by the TTP has setback the government’s efforts to establish an agreement to restore peace with the militants that have been waging war against the state for years.
Official sources had released information earlier that both parties had agreed to initiate peace talks and had each concluded five names of negotiators for the committees. The government’s committee incorporated two senior civil officers with respectable experience of having served in conflict zones. The TTP said it had created a five-member committee for negotiations.
The peace talks backed by the Taliban government in Afghanistan, especially the Haqqani Network, held at least three rounds for both sides, one in Kabul and two others in Khost.
Informal discussions took place between these two sides both during and before the ceasefire was implemented. According to these sources, to reassure both sides, particular confidence-building measures had been agreed upon. Afghan Taliban are holding the title of the principal mediator between the TTP and Pakistan.
Government officials say Afghan Taliban have presented Pakistani authorities with many options but that they prefer that the TTP be engaged through talks and negotiations. Ultimately convinced to return to their country in a peaceable manner.
The ceasefire had remained implemented with no significant violations. After the Afghan Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan near the mid of August, a considerable spike had been observed in the militant attacks led by the TTP in Pakistan. These attacks decreased after the ceasefire was implemented according to official statistics released by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Important to mention, an exception to the ceasefire were more than 20 attacks by the Hafiz Gul Bahadar and TTP-affiliated Aleem Khan Khushali, the Hafiz Gul Bahadar do not consider themselves as a part of TTP and a separate ceasefire agreement had to be arranged with them.
The government had agreed to release 102 militants being held at ‘de-radicalization centres’ and has released a group of 12 already. The next group was expected to be released soon and so forth. These militants are required to report back to the police stations of their area every two weeks and their movements and actions will be monitored as well. The road ahead is full of difficulties and the path to peace between these militants and Pakistan seems unstable. Pakistani citizens have suffered countless inhumane attacks, such as the APS school attack in 2014 during which 149 people were killed including 132 children. The story is continuously developing and it is unclear what the future will hold.