2 high-value TTP commanders arrested: Balochistan minister

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Mir Zia Ullah Langau says militant Nasrullah was taken into custody after a “difficult operation” by LEAs

Quetta, JUN 26: In a major success on the anti-terror front, the Balochistan government Wednesday announced the arrest of two high-value commanders of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) namely Nasrullah alias “Maulvi Mansoor” and Idris alias “Irshad”.

“We have apprehended an important terrorist network. Terrorists Nasrullah […] and Idris have been arrested after a difficult operation,” Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zia Ullah Langau said while speaking at a press conference in Quetta.

The arrests came a day after the federal cabinet approved Operation Azm-e-Istehkam — a reinvigorated and re-energised national counter-terrorism drive decided by the National Action Plan’s Central Apex Committee.

Highlighting external elements behind terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, Langove said: “India is behind terrorist attacks in the country [and] provides financial support to the militants.”

Underscoring that a certain group of youth have been misled and are harming their country, the minister called on such individuals not to fall to the enemy’s words.

The new initiative of the federal government will comprise intelligence-based operations (IBOs) instead of a new organised armed operation and will aim at uprooting remnants of militants, crimes and terrorist nexus, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said.

The government’s move is a response to a significant surge in terrorist attacks in recent months as reflected in the Q1 2024 Security Report issued by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) which revealed that the country witnessed at least 432 violence-linked fatalities and 370 injuries among civilians, security personnel and outlaws resulting from as many as 245 incidents of terror attacks and counter-terror operations.

The statistics only cater to the first four months of the ongoing year 2024 and include 281 civilian and security forces casualties.

Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have faced the brunt of these attacks with 92% of all fatalities and 86% of attacks, including those related to terrorism and security forces operations, occurring in these two provinces.

RAW in cahoots with TTP, BLA

The home minister also released a video confession of terrorist Nasrullah, who acknowledged the involvement and support of the Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to the banned TTP and Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).

“The TTP is funded by RAW,” the militant said, revealing that he was in fact responsible for the military, financial and administrative affairs of the banned outfit.

Highlighting that the TTP leadership, including its chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, was residing in Afghanistan, Nasrullah further underscored that his organisation has been working closely with the BLA.

His remarks coincide with Islamabad’s concerns which has time again called on Kabul to prevent its soil from being used by terrorist outfits against Pakistan — a claim the neighbouring country has repeatedly denied.

“The RAW wanted BLA and TTP to collaborate, and establish the latter’s camps in Balochistan.

“Mufti Mehsud and Mufti Muazhim had said that we and our friends [RAW] have three objectives i.e., establish a foothold in Balochistan, target Chinese citizens [in a bid] to sabotage China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and carry out kidnapping for ransom which will highlight forced disappearances [issue] which in result will discredit Pakistan’s intelligence agencies,” the militant said.

“A lot of ‘missing’ people roam free in Afghanistan,” he added.