What’s Behind The Attack On Peshawar Airport And The New Terror Wave?

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Context
18-12-2012_Pesh Airport AttackFrom early indications, new wave of terror attacks is underway in Pakistan. The high profile attack on Peshawar Air Base took place on Saturday December 15, leaving around 15 dead. This was followed up by a deadly bomb blast in Jamrud on Monday December 17 that left about 21 dead and 80 wounded. Today grenades were launched in front of the army recruitment center in Risalpur, wounding 10. Reportedly, 3 soldiers also died in an ambush in Laki Marwat. Meanwhile, a total of 5 woman health workers administering polio drops were gunned down, 4 in Karachi and 1 in Peshawar.

Clearly, in the aftermath of the opening of NATO’s supply line, something has changed in Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) calculus that has caused them to initiate a fresh onslaught. The reasoning could be:

  • TTP may have received information on a possible deal between Pakistan and US, regarding conducting military operations against the extremists. The meeting of Khar and General Kiyani with Hillary Clinton and other senior NATO officials in Brussels, in early December, was an evidenced of this. Moreover, the get together of Pak-US Defense Consultative Group was held in Rawalpindi from December 3 to 4. These meetings led US government to reimburse $700 million to Pakistan for keeping its military in the tribal areas.
  • The attack on Mullah Nazir on November 29 may have been seen by TTP as an attempt by Pakistan and US to divide various factions of Taliban. Therefore, TTP decided to launch a counter attack.
  • Improving Pakistan-India ties, without any visible shift on India’s part regarding the Kashmir issue. Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik visited India on December 14 to signal the go ahead for the new visa regime, signed with India back in September.
  • To dent the fast smoothening Afghan reconciliation process. The 7th trilateral meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey, held from Dec 11 and 12, was impacted by the attack on the Afghan intelligence chief on December 6th. Afghan president alleged the planning of the attack took place in Quetta.