Country Report on Terrorism 2017 - Chapter 5 - 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- and Afghanistan-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. Mullah Fazlullah led the group before his death (in 2018). 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 spokesperson and five regional commanders defected from TTP and publicly pledged allegiance to ISIS.

TTP aims to push the Government of Pakistan out of the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkwa Province and establish Sharia law by waging a terrorist campaign against the Pakistani military and state. 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 elements of AQ rely in part on TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistani border. This arrangement has given 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 Khost, 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 2017, TTP continued to carry out attacks against the Government of Pakistan and civilian targets, as well as against U.S. targets in Pakistan. 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.

In February 2017, TTP killed 13 people and injured over 80 when a suicide bomber targeted a protest in Lahore, and in March, TTP targeted a mosque in northwestern Pakistan, killing over 20 people and injuring dozens more. In July, the group killed 26 people, including nine policemen, using a suicide bomber in Lahore. In December, TTP militants disguised as women stormed an agricultural training school in Peshawar, leaving nine dead, including the attackers.

Strength: The group consists of several thousand fighters.

Location/Area of Operation: TTP operates in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Funding and External Aid: TTP likely raises most of its funds through kidnapping ransoms, criminal activity, and extortion.