The Most Dangerous Terrorist Organizations: TTP

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)

                 TTP, otherwise known as the Pakistani Taliban, is a fundamentalist Sunni Islam jihadist terrorist organization.  They are separate from but affiliated with the Afghan Taliban 4.  TTP is composed of various militant groups residing in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi, and several smaller cities. Unlike the previously mentioned terrorist groups, the TTP is composed of much smaller groups each with their different leaders.  TTP is considered a Fundamentalist Sunni Islam group.  They seek to implement Sharia law in Pakistan.

               Baitullah Mehsud was the first head of the TTP which and led them to pursue hundreds of bomb attacks in the FATA 4. These attacks often resulted in high civilian casualties. They attacked a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) base and killed seven employees.  In 2009, TTP then run by Hakimullah Mehsud changed their focus to primarily focus on U.S. military and government targets. Maulana Fazlullah is the current chief leader of TTP.  Their goals include the enforcement of Sharia law, allying with the Afghan Taliban, defeating the army of Pakistan, and eradicating military checkpoints in FATA 4.  Khan Said Sajna is a commander who resides in Karachi and helps finance TTP through criminal means.

                 The TTP pattern of violence tends to be the use of bombings in the FATA region which typically results in civilian casualties.   In 2010, the attempted to set off a bomb in Times Square but the attack was thwarted.  They have not claimed responsibility for any attacks since 2014.  In 2014, peace talks were occurring when a group within TTP executed hostages, which caused the peace negotiations to fall apart 4.  Since then, TTP leaders have claimed that they have sent hundreds of jihadists to Syria to help fight in their civil war 2.

               The drawdown of the United States presence in Afghanistan in 2014 has allowed TTP to focus on overthrowing the Pakistani government 4.  Since 2014, TTP has supported ISIS and has seemingly supported al-Baghdadi’s choice of the caliphate 5.  Through a Pakistani military and civilian-run counterterrorism operation called Zarb-e-Azb, the FATA region is mostly free of TTP as of March 2016 1.  Unfortunately, the FATA is plagued with many education, economic, and democratic problems that left unresolved will likely lead to a resurgence of the TTP or another jihadist organization reclaiming the region.

Current status of TTP

               TTP has not been actively engaging in terrorist attacks since 2014.  Many factions of the TTP have defected to ISIS most notably the faction led by Omar Khalid Khorasani 3.  The threat of a TTP does not presently appear particularly significant, however, former TTP jihadists working for ISIS may continue to be a real threat.  The TTP may become more relevant if they ally themselves more closely with a more resourced jihadist organization.

 

1.       Ahmed, A. (2016). FATA after operation Zarb-e-Azb. Defence Journal, 19(10), 22-26.

2.       Golovnina, M., & Ahmad, J. (2013). Pakistan Taliban set up camps in Syria, join anti-Assad war. Retrieved May 30, 2016, from http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-syria-taliban-idUSBRE96D02V20130714

3.       Siddique, A. (2014, October 24). Desperate for Recruits, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Declares Then Retracts Support for Islamic State. Terrorism Monitor. pp. 2-3.

4.       Tehrik-i-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP). (2014). Background Information Summaries, 1.

5.       Zenn, J. (2014, October 10). Islamic State Finds New Ally in Pakistan’s TTP. Terrorism Monitor. pp. 2-3.