Recruiting of Taliban fighters in Pakistan

Soldiers in FATA region in March 2017 Soldiers in FATA region in March 2017 Aamir Saeed/IRIN

20 July 2017
It has emerged that some Taliban militants, who previously fought against the Pakistan army and civilians, are forming a pro-government militia group.

In 2014, the Pakistan government launched a military operation against Taliban militants in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a semi-autonomous region on the border with Afghanistan. At that time the Pakistan Taliban, an armed Islamist group, rose up in the region, fighting against the government and killing many civilians. The governmental offensive lasted years, aiming to drive the insurgents outside the border, into Afghanistan. Since the operation, many civilians have been coming back home, as they left FATA region in order to escape from the fight. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of May 2017, 45,488 families are still in displacement.

As reported by IRIN, a news agency focusing on humanitarian stories, more recently  some members of Taliban factions have been returning to Pakistan, with the alleged support of local administration, in order to form pro-government militia groups in FATA and in three neighbouring districts. This means that the same militants who were fought against just a few years ago, are now going to defend the country from the threat of other armed groups.

Despite the denials from some local officers, the news was confirmed by residents, local opposition politicians and a former Taliban leader. Their suspicion is that Taliban militants should have been received a sort of green signal from the government before coming back to Pakistan. Civilians who live in the area appear to be concerned and discouraged, as they fear to be left at the mercy of Taliban militants again.


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