Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 572, 1 December 2022

Pakistan: TTP ends ceasefire with the government
Abigail Miriam Fernandez

In the news
On 28 November, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ended the ceasefire agreed with the government in June and ordered its militants to stage attacks across the country. The statement from the group said: “As military operations are ongoing against mujahideen in different areas [...] so it is imperative for you to carry out attacks wherever you can in the entire country.” The TTP claimed that its decision followed a series of incessant attacks launched by the military in Bannu's Lakki Marwat district. The group also claimed that it had repeatedly asked the people of Pakistan to be patient so that the negotiation process is not sabotaged. However, with the continuing attacks by the army and intelligence agencies, the group claimed they have decided to initiate retaliatory attacks across the country.

Following the end of the ceasefire, the TTP carried out a suicide attack in Quetta’s Baleli area, leaving four individuals, including a police officer and three civilians dead and over 20 wounded. The suicide bomber targeted a police vehicle carrying security personnel deployed to protect polio vaccination campaign workers in Quetta.

Issues at large

First, the resurgence of the TTP. Since 2021, the TTP has made a steady comeback into parts of Pakistan. There are several reasons for this resurgence. For instance, the negotiations with the government, which to an extent has tried to mainstream the group by allowing members of the group to return to Pakistan. As a result, hundreds of TTP fighters have been returning to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including its former stronghold Swat. This has angered the people who in recent months have staged protests against the rise of militancy in the region. In addition, the Taliban’s takeover and the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan have given the TTP more space to operate in the region. Moreover, the porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan allows TTP militants to move across the border easily. Yet, it is not all good for the TTP as its major setback comes with the killing of its prominent leaders, including its intelligence chief in August 2022.

Second, ceasefire violations, surge in violence and the threat of militancy. The recent ceasefire agreement between the TTP and the federal government came into effect on 2 June 2022. A previous ceasefire was agreed upon on 29 April 2022. However, there were frequent breaches. Attacks by the TTP have been on the rise since September 2022. Most of the attacks took place around South Waziristan and North Waziristan districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), the TTP has claimed responsibility for 87 attacks in 2021, an 84 per cent increase in attacks in comparison to 2020. Additionally, the threat of sub-groups that are close to the TTP such as the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group, Lashkar-e-Khurasan, and IMAM group has emerged as a matter of concern. The TTP has supported those who have carried out the attacks while it keeps its hands clean during the ceasefire period.

Third, the lack of political consensus and stalled negotiations between the TTP and the government. The incumbent government and opposition in Pakistan have divergent views on how to deal with the TTP. While the previous Imran Khan government took on a softer position, the coalition government under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken on a harder stance in dealing with the group. Additionally, there is no political consensus on the threat posed by the TTP as the politics seem to be focused on Islamabad and not on issues such as the TTP. Meanwhile, all the ceasefire agreements have been called amid peace negotiations between the federal government and the TTP. The talks first started in October 2021 but broke down in December after the Ministry of Interior claimed to have been in talks with the group for more than a year. The talks failed as the TTP accused the Pakistani government of failing to fulfil its main demand including the reversal of the merger of former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as continuing to detain TTP members while a truce was still being negotiated. Meanwhile, there have been several criticisms of the government against entering into peace talks, fearing that this would legitimize the group and make it difficult to contain the militancy.

Fourth, the military’s position on the TTP. The military has conducted several operations in the region to flush out militancy. In the last decade, there have been three military operations – Operation Rah-e-Nijat in 2009, Operation Zarb-e-Azb in 2014, and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad in 2017. These operations have had some success, but the threat of militancy has not been removed completely. In turn, the military operations have resulted in strong resentment among the people against the army and the government. The latest attack comes as General Syed Asim Munir takes over as Chief of Army Staff and General Qamar Javed Bajwa retires. Through the attack, the TTP might be signaling the new army chief to revive the negotiation process which had stalled since the transfer of Lt General Faiz Hameed.

In perspective

First, the TTP has become an existential crisis for Pakistan. It is unlikely that TTP will hold back on the violence given that the group is disgruntled with the position of the government and army. Additionally, the regional and domestic situation has emboldened the group which seems to have re-strategized and come back stronger. Thus, the TTP is likely to assert itself as an entity of its own not just in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but also in Balochistan and Karachi specifically.

Second, the state’s incoherent strategy. This past year, the state took on a different narrative on the TTP, from terming it a threat to negotiating and considering amnesty for its members to calling them a “menace” to the state. These confusing and often contradicting narratives have emboldened the TTP and have left the Pakistani public ill-informed and confused about the nature of the threat the TTP poses. Additionally, the state is also left in a difficult position between taking a hard or soft stance on dealing with the group. However, without a concession, the issue is unlikely to be resolved; but by doing so, other militant groups in the country would raise similar demands, pushing the state into a tight spot.  

Third, the military will take a hard stance against the TTP. The military has been carrying out intelligence-based operations across the region in which several terrorists have been reportedly killed. Although a full-fledged operation has not been launched to flush out the militants, the increasing operations highlight the hard stance that the military has taken to address the threat of the TTP and militancy at large.

December 2022 | Conflict Alert # 573
Russia: Drone attacks escalate the Ukraine war
November 2022 | Conflict Alert # 568
Ukraine: The Russian withdrawal from Kherson
November 2022 | Conflict Alert # 567
Pakistan: The assassination attempt on Imran Khan
October 2022 | Conflict Alert # 563
Global Hunger Index: Four Takeaways
October 2022 | Conflict Alert # 561
Haiti: Gang violence and beyond

October 2022 | Conflict Alert # 560
Reducing Inequality Index 2022: Three Takeaways
October 2022 | Conflict Alert # 559
China: UNHRC proceeding on Xinjiang
September 2022 | Conflict Alert # 556
Iran: Protests spark against hijab rules
September 2022 | Conflict Alert # 555
EU's food waste 2022: Three takeaways
September 2022 | Conflict Alert # 553
Global Estimates of Modern Slavery 2021: Six takeaways

September 2022 | Conflict Alert # 551
Ukraine: Counteroffensive in Kharkiv and Kherson
September 2022 | Conflict Alert # 550
The UN report on Xinjiang: Four Takeaways
September 2022 | Conflict Alert # 549
Drought in Europe, August 2022: Four Takeaways

September 2022 | Conflict Alert # 547
Iraq: Al-Sadr Withdraws, Protests Intensify
August 2022 | Conflict Alert # 546
Europe: Heatwaves, wildfires, and droughts
August 2022 | Conflict Alert # 545
Afghanistan: One year since the Taliban’s takeover

August 2022 | Conflict Alert # 539
Iraq: The escalating political crisis
July 2022 | Conflict Alert # 536
The US: Wildfires in California, again
July 2022 | Conflict Alert # 531
Sudan: Military steps down, following protests
July 2022 | Conflict Alert # 530
Sri Lanka: Continuing economic crisis
July 2022 | Conflict Alert # 527
Libya: The continuing political stalemate
June 2022 | Conflict Alert # 523
NATO: Turkey’s concerns over Finland and Sweden
May 2022 | Conflict Alert # 516
The US: Another school attack kills 19 children
May 2022 | Conflict Alert # 512
Ukraine: 75 days of the war
May 2022 | Conflict Alert # 511
Ethiopia: Rising communal tensions
May 2022 | Conflict Alert # 510
Sri Lanka: Political crisis intensifies
April 2022 | Conflict Alert # 507
Afghanistan: The rise of sectarian violence
April 2022 | Conflict Alert # 506
Mexico: Protests over continuing femicides
April 2022 | Conflict Alert # 501
Israel: Al-Aqsa Mosque raids

April 2022 | Conflict Alert # 500
Ukraine: The battle for Donbas
April 2022 | Conflict Alert # 499
Russia: The strategic shift from Kyiv to the Donbas
April 2022 | Conflict Alert # 498
Nigeria: Over 100 killed in another gunmen attack
April 2022 | Conflict Alert # 497
Ukraine: Russia's battle for Mariupol

April 2022 | Conflict Alert # 496
Yemen: Finally, a ceasefire
March 2022 | Conflict Alert # 491
The worsening economic crisis in Sri Lanka
March 2022 | Conflict Alert # 488
Russia’s Ukraine Invasion: One Week Later
February 2022 | Conflict Alert # 486
Russia’s Ukraine salami slicing
February 2022 | Conflict Alert # 485
Libya: With two Prime Ministers, a new political crisis

February 2022 | Conflict Alert # 481
Canada: Freedom convoys and a new wave of protests

February 2022 | Conflict Alert # 478
Myanmar: One year after the coup
January 2022 | Conflict Alert # 477
Syria: The ISIS attack on a prison

January 2022 | Conflict Alert # 476
Yemen: The warzone expands in the Houthi-UAE face-off
January 2022 | Conflict Alert # 475
Burkina Faso: Another coup in Africa
January 2022 | Conflict Alert # 474
France: New round of protests over COVID-19 passes
January 2022 | Conflict Alert # 472
Ukraine: Threat of Russian invasion
January 2022 | Conflict Alert # 470
Iran: Two years after Qasem Soleimani
January 2022 | Conflict Alert # 468
Kazakhstan: Bloody unrest and a brutal crackdown
December 2021 | Conflict Alert # 466
COVID-19: Omicron rapidly spreads across countries
December 2021 | Conflict Alert # 464
Ukraine: The West warns Russia over Ukrainian aggression
December 2021 | Conflict Alert # 463
China: 12 million missing children
November 2021 | Conflict Alert # 459
Europe: Restrictions lead to Widespread Protests
November 2021 | Conflict Alert # 457
Cuba: Between bouts of demonstrations

November 2021 | Conflict Alert # 454
Pakistan: A month-long ceasefire with the TTP
October 2021 | Conflict Alert # 447
The US: Protests against the Texas anti-abortion law
October 2021 | Conflict Alert # 444
Brazil: Anti-Bolsonaro protests across the country

September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 441
Yemen: Houthis continue to capture territories
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 439
Europe: Pride Marches in Serbia and Ukraine
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 437
Brazil: Protestors call for the impeachment of Bolsonaro
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 435
Guinea: Another coup in Africa
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 431
Climate Change: Hurricane Ida destructs the US Gulf Coast
August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 422
Europe: Measures to curb pandemic trigger protests
August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 418
Peru: Protests a sign of challenges facing Castillo
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 411
Wildfires: Siberia to the US
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 409
Bosnia: 26 years after the Srebrenica Massacre
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 405
Colombia: Two months of protests
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 399
Myanmar: New UNGA resolution
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 397
Myanmar: The Aung San Suu Kyi trial begins
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 390
Burkina Faso: Another massacre in Africa
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 386
Nigeria: Another mass abduction grips Niger state
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 385
Colombia: The protests continue
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 382
Israel-Hamas ceasefire: The long road to peace
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 380
Colombia: Three weeks of protests

May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 378
Israel-Palestine: Who wants what?
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 374
Yemen: The Battle for Marib rages on
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 371
Pakistan: Meetings with Afghan leaders
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 369
Israel-Syria: Continuing Missile Strikes
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 358
India: Another Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 356
Global Gender Gap Report 2021: Main Takeaways

March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 353
Niger: 137 massacred in the latest attack by gunmen

March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 351
Yemen: Saudi Arabia announces ceasefire
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 347
Australia: Women fight against sexual violence 
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 345
The US: The George Floyd trial begins

March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 340
Syria: UN report calls for a complete ceasefire
February 2021 | Conflict Alert # 333
South Korea: The 'Comfort Women' issue returns to haunt

January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 222
Russia: Pro-Navalny protests turn anti-government 
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 220
COVID-19: The Vaccine Wars
December 2020 | Conflict Alert # 200
India: Farmers' protests intensify as deadlock persists
November 2020 | Conflict Alert # 191
Pakistan: Anti-French protests called off
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 174
Bangladesh: Protests intensify against sexual violence
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 167
India crosses 6 million-mark in COVID-19 cases
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 166
Pakistan: The persisting polio problem
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 156
Pakistan: Targeted Violence continues in Waziristan
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 154
The anti-Racist Protests in the US: Between
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 148
Israel and UAE normalize relations
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 146
Bolivia: Protests against the Election postponement
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 138
In Iraq, the protestors return to the streets 
July 2020 | Conflict Alert # 118
J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence
June 2020 | Conflict Alert # 105
Black Lives Matter brings the US to its knees
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 86
Libya: Khalifa Haftar announces ceasefire 
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 81
India: The surge in violence in J&K
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 71
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 67
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 64
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps 

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 63
Indigenous Communities battle a complete wipeout 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 51
Coronavirus & China: Fall in numbers 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 47
Coronavirus & Nepal: In the second stage, cancels
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 44
Two Presidents in Afghanistan

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 42
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 38
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 35
A ceasefire between Israel, Islamic Jihad in Gaza
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 34
Libya: rivals withdraw from Geneva peace talks
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 33
India: Violence in Delhi
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 32
Afghanistan: Seven Days of Peace

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 31
Climate Change Fallouts: Impacts the Bird population
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 28
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 27
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 26
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 24
Israel: Violence in post  Trump-deal

January 2020 | Conflict Alert # 20
Kenya: Al Shabab and a week of killings

December 2019 | Conflict Alert # 19
Citizenship Amendment Bill:2019
November 2019 | Conflict Alert # 18
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue 
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 16
Bolivian unrest

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 15
Hundreds protest in Haiti
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 14
Protests rock Chile
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 13
Hong Kong Violence: A divide within
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 12
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 11
Turkey's Offensive in Syria
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9
Africa to be Polio Free
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7
Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 6
Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 3
Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar