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Pakistani Army Warns Of Blowback In Crackdown On Afghan Taliban

Pakistani Army Chief of Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa reportedly said that the Afghan Taliban and Tehrik-e Taliban are "two faces of the same coin." (file photo)

Pakistan's top military leadership has warned members of parliament that an army crackdown against militants of the Afghan Taliban group inside Pakistan could result in blowback, lawmakers say.

Lawmakers speaking under condition of anonymity told RFE/RL that Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, head of the military’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), issued the warning during an off-the-record meeting on the security situation in Pakistan and the region after the withdrawal of U.S.-led international forces from neighboring Afghanistan.

The meeting was attended by members of the parliament’s National Security and Defense Standing Committees, parliamentary leaders of all political parties in the Senate and National Assembly, as well as chief ministers of Pakistan’s four provinces.

Lawmakers quoted the two military commanders as admitting that the Afghan Taliban and the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, were “two faces of the same coin.”

They said that well-trained Afghan Taliban militants were present across Pakistan, according to the lawmakers interviewed by RFE/RL.

The army could launch an offensive against the group immediately but the country should be “prepared for the reaction,” the military leaders said.