The Taliban-led violence in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) is on the rise since the start of 2016 and there has been an increase of 34 percent in violent incidents compared to the last quarter of 2015, according to the first quarter report 2016 issued by the Fata Research Centre ( FRC) here on Saturday.
The report mentioned that 42 percent of Taliban attacks employed IEDs, while 26 percent involved ambushes on security forces and anti-Taliban elders.
However, casualty ratio in these violent incidents comprised mainly of the terrorists – 64 percent of the total number – which signifies effectiveness of the counter-terrorism measures employed by the government.
The report stated that, the Mohmand Agency recorded the highest number of terrorist attacks, while North Waziristan witnessed the highest number of counter terrorist operations from January to March 31.
According to Irfan Uddin, a security analyst at FRC, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar (TTP-JA) has emerged as the most virulent terrorist group in the northern Agencies of Fata as well as adjoining Peshawar valley districts.
“TTP-JA has recently announced to carry more attacks under its annual offence “Sawt al-Raad” (Arabic for Sound of Thunder)”, says Irfan. “Reports of co-operation between Omar Mansur aka Narai, TTP’s military head, and TTP-JA have also been received.
The resurgence of Taliban groups direly threatens the security situation in Peshawar and its adjoining districts”, added Irfan. The locals in Peshawar’s suburbs adjacent to Darra Adamkhel are reportedly patrolling their villages during night time.
The incidents of extortion by the TTP-JA, especially in Peshawar Valley districts, have risen once more after witnessing a brief decline during the last quarter of 2015. In South Waziristan, Mahsud Taliban led by Khan Said alias Sajna Mahsud penetrated as deep as Serwaki tehsil to conduct attacks on security forces.
These attacks took place in the Mahsud territory earlier cleared under military operation Rah-e-Nijat in 2009. Such attacks may inhibit repatriation of Mahsud IDPs to their ancestral area.
Terrorist attacks by Khan Said group were also reported from the area of Sulaiman Khel tribe which had hitherto remained peaceful.
This signifies that Mahsud Taliban intend to widen their war and destabilise those areas in the Agency which were previously peaceful. On the other hand, Shahryar Mahsud, head of TTP-South Waziristan, is gradually losing control over his commanders, who are either acting independently or switching their loyalties.
For the first time, Commander Waheed Ullah Mahsud alias Jigri surrendered to the government along with two dozen fighters. Similarly, another prominent commander, Gul Janat alias Zabal Mahsud, left Shahryar and joined the Afghan Taliban along with 250 fighters. Kurram Agency has seen a spike in terrorist activities.
There are reports of presence of Mahsud Taliban in Central Kurram tehsil. Located on the confluence of North Waziristan, Orakzai and Khyber Agencies, security situation could worsen in all these Agencies if Taliban are allowed to regroup in Kurram.
It may also re-ignite sectarian violence since head of TTP-Kurram, Gilaman Mahsud aka Qari Saifullah, exhibits sympathies for Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK). With rising temperature, this summer may witness an unprecedented level of violence compared to the previous year 2015.