Terrorists have opened a night hunt for Pakistani policemenCaptured modern weapons and night vision devices left in Afghanistan by the retreating US military contingent in 2021 are being used by militants of the terrorist group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, banned in the Russian Federation) to strengthen subversive activities against Pakistani government forces, regional experts believe.
The intensification of the economic crisis, the depreciation of the national currency and the lack of domestic political stability weaken Islamabad's position in the fight against the TPP, which, in fact, is waging an open war against the Pakistani government.
According to the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, the group is responsible for 89 attacks in Pakistan in 2022, mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. This result exceeds the figures of 2021 (87 attacks), even despite the four-month ceasefire agreement with Islamabad, which was unilaterally canceled by the militants at the end of last year.
The police of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province found that TTP militants used modern weapons and military equipment belonging to American and Afghan security forces to organize night ambushes. After one of the attacks in the suburbs of Peshawar on January 14, Moazzam Ja Ansari, then the provincial police chief, reported that the TTP had carried out a coordinated strike using thermal imaging sights. Three policemen died at the hands of the attacking militants.
Ansari said that TTP militants also used similar equipment in ambushes in Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu and Lakki Marwat – in the most turbulent areas of the province. The statistics provided by the local police show that 118 officers were killed as a result of terrorist attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2022 alone.
According to last year's report by the US Department of Defense, military equipment paid by Washington in the amount of $ 7.12 billion was in the possession of the former Afghan government at the time of its capture by Taliban militants (banned in the Russian Federation) in August 2021.
After the attacks on two Pakistani military camps in Balochistan province in February 2022, Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the separatists of the Balochistan Liberation Army (OAB) used weapons left by the forces of the international coalition in Afghanistan. At the same time, the Taliban government strongly denies that the TTP and other regional extremist groups had access to captured American equipment.
According to Foreign Policy experts, up to 42 thousand pieces of equipment, such as night vision devices, biometric systems and positioning systems, were left in Afghanistan.
In recent propaganda materials, the TTP has demonstrated how militants train with American-made weapons, such as M24 sniper rifles, M4 carbines with Trijicon ACOG optical sights and M16A4 rifles with thermal imaging sights. There is a possibility that the Afghan Taliban handed over part of the equipment and military equipment to the TTP in exchange for manpower to strengthen their positions after seizing power in 2021.
The current situation puts the law enforcement agencies of Pakistan at a disadvantage. Using night vision devices, TTP militants can easily target police officers in the dark, while the police do not see them approaching.
At the end of January, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province provided the police with several dozen night vision devices so that its employees could resist militant attacks at night. But the resources of government forces are limited, including due to the fact that after the announcement of the successful suppression of the TTP and other extremist groups in 2017, the Pakistani state reduced funding for law enforcement agencies.
Such formations as the TTP quickly adapt to the changing environment. Since 2002, militants in Pakistan have used a variety of weapons: from remote-controlled explosive devices, sniper rifles and suicide belts to Kalashnikov assault rifles and rockets. But more modern weapons increase the ability of the TTP to conduct operations in any conditions and gives the group a clear advantage over poorly equipped law enforcement agencies.
Many experts draw parallels between the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989 and the withdrawal of international coalition forces from the country in 2021. In both cases, the remaining weapons soon ended up in the hands of extremist groups in other countries, particularly in Pakistan.
According to the estimates of the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, TTP militants, as well as Baloch separatist groups and Islamist detachments in Indian-controlled Kashmir turned out to have such types of weapons and military equipment as long-range sniper rifles and night vision devices that the United States provided to Afghan government forces.
In January, Kashmir authorities told NBC News that local Islamist militants were armed with M4, M16 rifles and other American-made weapons, which had not been observed in the state before. Most of these weapons were seized from members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba groups based in Pakistan (both organizations are banned in the Russian Federation). In July 2022, the Kashmir police reported that after a clash with two Jaish-e-Mohammad militants, an M4 assault carbine manufactured in the United States was seized from them.
There is a lot of evidence that the leadership of both groups sends militants to Afghanistan for training. According to the Indian Institute of Conflict Management, "Jaish-e-Mohammad" and "Lashkar-e-Taiba" can buy American weapons from the Taliban in Afghanistan, from where, according to the UN, they are supplied through smugglers to Pakistan.
Although American-made weapons are unlikely to change the balance of power in the Kashmir conflict, they give the Taliban a significant reserve of combat power. Potentially, these combat resources are also available to those who want and can purchase them. H