In a first, the spokesperson of Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan, Muhammad Khurasani, gave an interview to a Russian newspaper, Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

In this interview, Khurasani states that thousands of TTP fighters are waging a guerrilla war to establish an “Islamic system” in Pakistan, following which peace will be achieved in the region.  Just to remind our readers, TTP has been under UN sanctions since 2011 as an organization associated with Al-Qaeda. According to UN estimates, the TTP has up to 35,000 fighters, making it the largest jihadist organization in the region.

Khurasani described TTP as ‘a religious jihadist organization that emerged as a result of monstrous atrocities and successive operations against the people of Pakistan”.  He states that as long as Kufr (non Muslim) system exists in Pakistan, there can be no peace in the region. Today’s Pakistan is on the verge of collapse in every sense because of its wrong policies.  He specified that TTP fighters are spread all over the country, and they are in thousands, as the war is being fought in guerrilla form.  He mentioned that many religious and political parties in Pakistan are well-wishers and sympathizers of the TTP.

He described that the understanding of an ‘Islamic State’ according to TTP is that it protects the religion, property, life, honor and intellect of all people, and this is what it intends doing in Pakistan. On women’s rights to education, he stated that the TTP wants to give women all the rights that Islam has given them, be it social, political or educational.

He was clear on the TTP’s stance on America and the West by stating that as long as they do not interfere in our affairs, we have nothing to do with them. On the subject of Russia, Khurasani stated that the country is located far from their region of interest and has not been involved in any cooperation with Pakistan against the TPP. He hoped that Russia will stick to the same stance in the future too.

In this interview the TTP makes its stance clear on what its designs are in Pakistan.  On another note, the TTP has openly showed its leaning towards Prime Minister hopeful Imran Khan and his party PTI.  During March 2023, the TTP issued a statement instructing its Mujahidins, affiliated groups & supporters to make sure that they vote for Imran Khan’s party PTI in the next elections. According to renowned Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, former TTP militant Iqbal Khan was present at the stand off between Khan and the Pakistan government.

Imran Khan has said on record that he want to gave the TTP fighters rehabilitated.  He had also admitted that many of them were brought back to Pakistan and put up in various areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with no surveillance, and hence they were able to move around freely in the country.  After being removed as Prime Minster, Khan had lamented that the incumbent government was not providing necessary resources to continue this procedure.

Khan said: “When the militants came [to Pakistan], they were not rehabilitated or given any proper attention, and no money was spent on them,” he said.  “We were afraid that if we did not pay attention to them, then terrorism would start in different places, which has happened,” Khan said.

With the continual vow of Imran Khan to turn the country into Riyasat e Madina, and the pledge of TTP who call the current set up in the country as Kuffar, Pakistan should maybe look to remove the word Islamic from its name until these goals are achieved.

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