A report published in The New York Times has revealed that the US Special Forces raided an Afghan convoy headed to Kabul, last month. The convoy was escorting a senior TTP commander, Lateef Mehsud, who had been approached by Afghan intelligence in an attempt to form an alliance with the terrorist organisation, currently engaged in a violent onslaught against Pakistan’s government, security forces and citizens. Mr Mehsud is now under the custody of the US. According to Afghan officials, the plan was to use the TTP as a proxy in order to achieve a stronger position for negotiations after the US forces left the region. Revenge was also a major motivating factor behind the scheme. The Afghan government has voiced concerns on numerous occasions over Pakistani military’s support for Afghan insurgents fighting US forces and the Karzai government. In a region plagued by proxy wars, the Afghan government unintelligently decided that it must recruit a proxy of its own. What is equally startling is that the TTP had demonstrated willingness to co-operate, and considerable progress had been made over the last year until the US discovered and foiled the plot. Although greatly disappointed over being caught red-handed, Afghan officials found solace in the fact that they sent a clear message to Pakistan: we can play dirty too. 

It is hoped that the story serves as a wake-up call for Pakistan, and forces it to re-evaluate its policy with regards to Afghanistan. It was naively believed that assistance against the Soviets during the war, and the historical role in the accommodation and welfare of millions of Afghan refugees, would permanently reserve Pakistan’s position in the good books of its neighbour. Clearly, the truth is far from it. In the post-US withdrawal scenario, Pakistan is most likely to find a hostile neighbour; more than willing to use proxies to achieve desired objectives.  If the Afghans are operating on the principle that enemy of my enemy is my friend, it has become exceedingly pertinent to eradicate the nuisance at home. The proponents of peace talks must also take a lesson or two from the story. The revelation that the TTP is open to conspiring with foreign powers against Pakistan destroys the narrative that it comprises of simple-minded, pious, disenchanted  Pakistan-loving fellow countrymen as Mr Imran Khan would have everyone believe. They are terrorists, only loyal to their own twisted agenda, and ready to shake hands with anyone as long as it suits them. The tolerance for the TTP is severely costing Pakistan, and now providing outsiders with fruitful opportunities to franchise their own sinister activities. So, what to do then? The answer is clearer than ever before: Unite, and put full force behind a decisive military action which rids the country of this menace which threatens our present and the future, and propagates everything that we loathe.