Modern weapons and sophisticated night vision devices left behind by U.S.-led coalition forces withdrawing from Afghanistan and fleeing Afghan troops are being used by Pakistani Taliban militants to intensify attacks on law enforcement, police and experts say.
Plagued by an economic crisis, plunging currency and political polarization, Islamabad is also scrambling to contain the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a banned militant group. Emboldened by the Afghan Taliban’s victory, the TTP has essentially gone to war against the Pakistani government.
The group was responsible for 89 attacks across Pakistan in 2022, mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, an Islamabad-based think tank. That was up slightly from 87 in 2021 despite a roughly four-month cease-fire with Islamabad that was scrapped by the militants late last year.
In some attacks, police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa determined that the TTP militants used advanced weapons and gadgets that had belonged to U.S. or Afghan forces to carry out nighttime ambushes. After one such attack in the suburbs of Peshawar on Jan. 14, Moazzam Jah Ansari, the provincial police chief at the time, revealed that the TTP had conducted a “coordinated” strike using high-tech equipment like thermal weapon sights.
The attackers killed three police officers, including a senior official.
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