In an attempt to dispel the notion that his group receives support from the administration in Afghanistan, Noor Wali Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, asserted that the group targets and attacks Pakistan from “within its territory.”
In an interview with CNN, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief stated that the group is fighting Pakistan’s war from within the country’s territory, “using Pakistani soil.”
“We have the ability to fight for many more decades with the weapons and spirit of liberation that exist on the soil of Pakistan,” Noor Wali Mehsud said.
After 20 years in the country, the US withdrew its troops on the condition that the group on the other side of the Afghan delegation negotiation table, if they returned to power, would not serve as a sanctuary for terrorist organizations.
The recent collapse of an already tenuous year-long truce in neighboring Pakistan between the TTP and Pakistan, however, poses some unsettling doubts about the viability of that commitment.
A months-long ceasefire with Islamabad was broken by the Pakistani Taliban, a rebel group that has been charged with carrying out a series of deadly strikes, in late November, and its militants were ordered to resume attacks across the country.
In addition to the prospect of increased violence in Pakistan, the termination of the truce may also result in an uptick in tensions between the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan, reflected in the recent border clashes.
He responded, “When we don’t need any help from the Afghan Taliban, what is the point of hiding it,” when questioned if he was being defensive about the assistance they were receiving from the authorities in Afghanistan.
Pakistan is one of the countries that have urged the Afghan government to respect its pledges to prevent the resurgence of terrorist groups and the use of its soil as a launchpad for strikes.
This comes as Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari warned against cross-border terrorism on Friday, saying that his country reserved the right to take direct action against the TTP or other militant groups.