Pakistan mosque blast Taliban

Taliban Repays the Support Shown by Pakistan By Blowing Mosque


Pakistan mosque blast by Taliban shows their repayment of support. On January 30, a suicide bomber inside the holy grounds of a mosque in the high-security police headquarters in Peshawar killed 30 people. It is a place that is quite close to Afghanistan. The toxic ideology of the Taliban frequently gets spilled onto the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which is giving birth to violent militancy. The incident of the Pakistan mosque blast proves that the ugly head of Taliban is emerging again after the return of the US troops from Afghanistan.

Rubbles, Death, and Injuries

So much was the intensity of this blast in the mosque that it decimated an entire wall and a part of the roof. Since the mosque is housed in the police headquarters, more than 300 police officers go there to pray. It was feared trapping of Hundreds of police officers trapped after the blast resulted in the decimation of a part of the mosque.

Pakistan Mosque Blast: A Serious Lapse In Security

The police compound in Peshawar is one of the most high-security areas in the city. The home to the intelligence and counter-terrorism bureau, Peshawar Police HQ, is tightly controlled. It is, therefore, extremely concerning that an attacker could enter the mosque with a bomb attached. In fact, the attacker was wearing a police uniform which is why the persons in charge of maintaining the security of the compound did not suspect the attacker. The CCTV camera showed that the suicide bomber – in a police uniform – came to the mosque on a motorcycle, stopped in front of the compound’s gate, and asked an officer where the mosque was. One security officer rued that he would have to suspect even men in uniform after Monday’s incident.

The resurgence of TTP Violence?

Before 2014, Peshawar suffered frequent incidents of violence carried out by the Pakistani version of the Taliban– Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP. The city of Peshawar and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa faced a terrible humanitarian crisis brought on by the violence inflicted by TTP. As time progressed, the violence became bloodier and crueler. The situation turned worst when TTP attacked a school in Peshawar and killed 150 people – mostly innocent children who had nothing to do with politics or religion. It was not just an attack. It was a massacre.

This incident prompted the Pakistani government and the army to undertake a clean-up operation that killed most TTP members. The survivors were pushed back to Afghanistan.

However, after the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban came back to power. And they came back with a vengeance. The temporary peace that the people of Afghanistan enjoyed ended. The country became hell once again.

As a by-product of the return of Taiban, its Pakistani arm – TTP, started getting stronger. The peace returned in Peshawar in 2014 started getting disrupted. However, TTP is not alone in its urge to plunge Pakistan into darkness. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, an affiliate of TTP is believed to be the mastermind of the recent blast in Pakistan. Although TTP distanced itself from the incident of Pakistan mosque blast, its involvement in some form or the other is undeniable.

Feeding the Hand That Bites

Pakistan’s foreign policy has always been shaped by its fear of India gaining power in the region. On the one hand, Pakistan has always feared that India would try to destabilize the country and grab Pakistani land. On the other hand, Pakistan has also been wary of Afghanistan because of its interest in uniting the Pashtun territory inside Afghanistan with the Pashtun territory inside Pakistan. Hence, Pakistan feared that India and Afghanistan might act together against their common foe, Pakistan.

With this sense of fear in mind, Pakistan tried to take advantage of the radical Islamists in Afghanistan before even the Soviets tried to influence the politics of the region. These radical Islamists later became the Taliban in the 1990s. Pakistan sees the radical Islamists of the Taliban as an antidote to the India-Afghanistan relationship. In its hatred against India, Pakistan kept supporting the Taliban even when it was clear that the well-being of Pakistan was never the agenda of the Taliban.

After the withdrawal of the US troops, Pakistan hope was that a strong Taliban would influence its ideological offshoot – TTP, to stop attacking Pakistan’s infrastructure and citizens. However, much to the dismay of Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban kept on indirectly supporting TTP to the point of protesting against Pakistan when the latter undertook drone strikes to destroy TTP hideouts both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

After the US troops left Afghanistan, terrorist attacks in Pakistan increased by 51%. This data is proof that the Taliban and its affiliate, TTP, have already started wreaking havoc in Pakistan. The recent attack on the mosque is just one incident among a series of such incidents.

Pakistan Needs To Proactively Destroy TTP Before the Pre-2014 Chaos Returns

Pakistan who is already in rising foreign debt needs to deal with TTP strictly to prevent Peshawar and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a whole from plunging into the darkness of violence and instability. The TTP has already called off an indefinite ceasefire and is aiming to decimate the security forces. The Pakistani civil-military leadership led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has vowed to show zero tolerance to TTP. Emboldened by the US promise of providing support, Pakistan’s leadership is most likely to conduct ground and drone strikes. The Sharif government, it seems, is preparing for a tough response against the TTP. It is believed that nearly 7000 to 10000 insurgents belonging to TTP reside in Afghanistan.

India To Gain From the Emerging Enmity Between Pakistan and Taliban

After the US kicked the Taliban out of power in 2001, pro-India leaders like Hamid Karzai became powerful figures in Afghanistan. However, now that the Taliban returned to power, India’s influence in the region has decreased. In this situation, it is extremely beneficial for India if Islamabad and Kabul don’t come to a mutual agreement about the TTP situation. The more retaliatory measures Pakistan takes, the more the relationship between it and Afghanistan will become worse. On the other hand, if Pakistan does not take any retaliatory action against TTP, thanks to murky politics, the government will appear weak. The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will remain vulnerable to attacks by TTP. Either way, it is India that is all set to achieve some geopolitical advantage. It’s a lose-lose situation for Pakistan and a win-win situation for India as the efforts to establish diplomatic presence in Afghanistan is under process.

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