According to Asfandyar Mir, a senior analyst at the United States Institute of Peace, the modern weapons and military equipment left behind by the US forces after their pullout from Afghanistan in 2001 have given the banned Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Baloch separatist groups a “vast war chest”. These weapons have added to the lethality of such groups and enabled them to launch terror attacks inside Pakistan, which has witnessed a surge in violence over the past two years.
The report by Radio Free Europe (RFERL) reveals that the US had left behind firearms, communications gear, and even armored vehicles worth $7 billion. Experts say that these groups have obtained advanced US weapons and equipment like M16 machine guns and M4 assault rifles, night-vision goggles, and military communication gear.
Abdul Sayed, a Sweden-based researcher who tracks the TTP, said the group’s access to sophisticated combat weapons has had a “terrifying” impact, especially on the lesser-equipped police force in Pakistan. According to the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), a think tank in Islamabad, the number of terrorist attacks in the country increased by 27% last year compared to 2021. At least 419 people were killed, while 734 were injured in 262 terrorist attacks last year.
While Pakistan has been accused of playing a blame game with Afghanistan, the RFERL report rejected Kabul’s claims that the TTP was not using Afghan soil against Pakistan. The presence of TTP, ISKP, and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan was an undeniable reality, according to the report. The report added that using the US weapons and equipment, both the TTP and Baloch separatist groups were waging insurgencies against the government in Pakistan.
The Taliban spokesperson, however, rejected claims that it has supplied TTP fighters with US weapons and equipment. “If some weapons are being smuggled, they are far fewer and not of much concern,” the report quoted Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman.
In conclusion, the report by Radio Free Europe suggests that the US weapons left in Afghanistan have been a source of concern as they are being used by the banned Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Baloch separatist groups for militancy in Pakistan. The situation is worrisome as it is fueling terror attacks in the country, which has already witnessed a surge in violence over the past two years.