ISLAMABAD –A terrorist attack on an air force base in Peshawar in mid-December revealed a weakness in the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) by exposing its shortage of nationally recruited fighters, analysts say.
Pakistani security forces, who killed all 10 insurgents in repelling the December 15 (or 16) attack, said that nine of the 10 were foreigners and that six were linked to al-Qaeda or the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), rather than to local militant groups.
“For the TTP … foreigners are filling the gap in supply because of a decline in local recruits,” said Peshawar-based security analyst Brig. Said Nazeer Mohmand.
He was referring to the terrorists’ difficulty in recruiting Pakistani youth among their ranks as security forces inhibit terrorist operations and as public revulsion with terrorism grows.
During the past 10 years, the militancy has become more of an internationalised killing machine that crosses borders, Mohmand said.
“Had the TTP enough local members for such high-profile attacks, the militant group never would have risked sending such a big number of foreigners for a single attack,” he said.
The militants are running out of local members and are on the verge of collapse, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government spokesman Mian Iftikhar Hussain told the KP provincial assembly after the attack, according to the media.
“Of six terrorists, three were Chechens, one Kyrgyz, one Uzbek and one from Dagestan,” Iftikhar said, highlighting the TTP’s lack of support within Pakistan.