The Afghan Taliban, who are now running the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), have distanced themselves from the recent claims by the banned terror outfit in Pakistan, which claimed to be a branch of the IEA.
The Afghan Taliban statements comes after the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, claimed that the organisation is a branch of the IEA, calling TTP being operated under what he called a larger umbrella of the IEA.
“Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan is a branch of Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan and is part of that umbrella on this land,” stated Noor Wali Mehsud in a video, in which he is seen addressing the TTP fighters.
However, the TTP claim was brushed aside by the IEA spokesperson, who said that TTP is not part of it.
“They are not, as an organization, part of IEA and we do not share the same objectives,” said Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid.
“We advise TTP to focus on peace and stability in their country. This is very important so they can prevent any chance for enemies to interfere in the region and in Pakistan. And we request Pakistan to look into their demands for the better of the region and Pakistan.”
Calling the issue of tackling TTP Pakistan’s internal matter, Mujahid said that IEA has maintained, “it would not interfere in other country’s affairs”.
“We do not interfere in Pakistan’s affairs,” he added.
The IEA rejection to own up to TTP comes at a time when it acknowledged mediating talks and negotiations between Pakistan and the terror group, which led to the month-long ceasefire.
It was the mediation of the Afghan Taliban that facilitated and materialized the ceasefire during November, which the TTP later declined to extend any further.
As per the agreement between TTP and the Pakistan government, both sides accepted that the IEA would play the role of a mediator and that both sides would form a five-member committees each, which would discuss the future course of action and demands under the supervision of the IEA as the mediator.
The ceasefire agreement, that stayed on from November 1 to 30, included consent to release of at least 102 imprisoned militants of the TTP, who would be handed over to the TTP through the IEA.
But TTP claims that the Pakistan government failed to implement the decisions reached and opted to conduct raids, detaining and killing TTP militants.
“Under the circumstances, it is not possible to extend the ceasefire,” read a statement issued by the TTP.
While the IEA has distanced itself from TTP, it is a known fact that TTP has been an umbrella branch of the Afghan Taliban and has operated under the same in the country.
IEA decision to distance itself from TTP may be taken as a big blow to the TTP as Pakistan may launch a major offensive against the group.
On the other hand, IEA facilitation of previous talks may continue to try and engage with both parties through back channels and help them silently in reaching another agreement, without officially owning up to the group.