Country Report on Terrorism 2016 - Chapter 6 - Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan

aka Pakistani Taliban; Tehreek-e-Taliban; Tehrik-e-Taliban; Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan; TTP

Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 1, 2010, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a Pakistan-based terrorist organization formed in 2007 to oppose Pakistani military efforts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Previously disparate tribal militants agreed to cooperate and eventually coalesced into TTP under the leadership of now deceased leader Baitullah Mehsud. TTP was led by Hakimullah Mehsud from August 2009 until his death in November 2013. Since Hakimullah Mehsud’s death, TTP has been led by Mullah Fazlullah, former leader of TTP’s chapter in the Swat area of Pakistan. Since Fazlullah became leader, TTP has been fraught with violent infighting. A rival faction led by Khan Said, a former TTP commander who previously clashed with Hakimullah, publicly split from TTP in May 2014, but has since rejoined. Separately, TTP entered into peace talks with the Pakistani government in early 2014, but the talks collapsed in June of that year. In October 2014, the chief spokesman and five regional commanders defected from TTP and publicly pledged allegiance to ISIS.

TTP aims to overthrow the Government of Pakistan by waging a terrorist campaign against the Pakistani military and state, as well as North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Afghanistan. TTP uses the tribal belt along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to train and deploy its operatives, and has ties to al-Qa’ida (AQ). TTP draws ideological guidance from AQ, while AQ relies on TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistani border. This arrangement gives TTP access to both AQ’s global terrorist network and the operational expertise of its members.

Activities: TTP has carried out and claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against Pakistani and U.S. interests, including a December 2009 suicide attack on a U.S. military base in Khowst, Afghanistan, which killed seven U.S. citizens; and an April 2010 suicide bombing against the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, which killed six Pakistani citizens. TTP is suspected of being involved in the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. TTP directed and facilitated the failed attempt by Faisal Shahzad to detonate an explosive device in New York City’s Times Square on May 1, 2010.

Between 2011 and 2015, TTP continued to carry out attacks against the Government of Pakistan and civilian targets, as well as against U.S. targets in Pakistan. A series of suicide bombings and strikes in 2011 targeted civilians, Pakistani government and military targets, and an American consulate convoy. In 2012, TTP carried out attacks against a mosque, a police checkpoint, a Pakistani Air Force base, and a bus carrying Shia Muslims. In 2013, TTP attacked churches, the home of a government minister in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, and a Shia neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan. TTP’s attacks in 2013 killed and wounded hundreds of civilians and Pakistani government and law enforcement officials. In 2014, TTP targeted military and police convoys, bazaars, buses, and schools including two consecutive attacks against Karachi’s international airport and a siege on a primary school in Peshawar, Pakistan that killed 145 people, 132 of whom were children. Throughout 2015, TTP focused many of its small-scale attacks on Pakistani government and law enforcement officials by targeting convoys, government buildings, motorcades, and police checkpoints. The group also bombed a Shia mosque near Peshawar and carried out suicide bombings at two churches in Lahore.

In 2016, the group continued carrying out attacks, claiming responsibility for a December attack that left the Deputy Superintendent of the police counterterrorism department dead and his son injured in an attack on their vehicle in Peshawar.

Strength: Several thousand

Location/Area of Operation: Pakistan and Afghanistan

Funding and External Aid: TTP is believed to raise most of its funds through kidnapping ransoms, criminal activity, and extortion.