On January 7, an Islamabad-based think tank, the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), released its annual “Pakistan Security Report 2022.” The report compared the security situation in 2021 and 2022. The report noted that the TTP remained rooted in Afghanistan and that this factor alone gave the organization the requisite leeway to be a major factor in violence in Pakistan. Furthermore, as a militant group, the TTP is a major irritant in Islamabad’s relations with the Afghan Taliban’s government in Kabul. It is quite correct to say that the TTP has not only sought sanctuary in the territory of Afghanistan but has also taken refuge in the ideology of the Afghan Taliban. Apparently, for its survival, the TTP needs the Afghan Taliban. Here, the expectation (or presumption) is that Afghan Taliban do not believe in destabilizing Pakistan by promoting or conducting terrorist attacks. The TTP, however, does so on its own, and without the consent of its host, the Afghan Taliban. Despite this presumed dissociation, there are two main areas of convergence between the TTP and the Afghan Taliban: first, the question of the legitimacy of the Durand Line; and second, the question of the ideology of Islamic (Shariah) rule. Therefore, contrary to the report’s assertion, it is not easy for Pakistan to bypass the TTP to reach out to Afghan Taliban. On the issue of the Durand Line, the Afghan Taliban’s stance is almost similar to the stance of King Mohammad Zahir Shah in 1947. To the detriment of Pakistan, the King was the major proponent of the Pashtunistan issue. The difference is that the Afghan Taliban do not speak emphatically for the issue by name, though they support the dream of retrieving the lost (ethnic) territory. Whether achievable or not, irredentism is what brings the TTP closer to Afghan Taliban. Nevertheless, the recent resentment in the Pashtun youth in the (former) tribal belt of Pakistan is the major exacerbating factor. The report deplores Pakistan’s attempts to negotiate peace with the TTP after August 15, 2021, and declares the efforts an expression of weakness. Furthermore, the report says that the negotiating attempts have encouraged the TTP to regroup and escalate terrorist violence in Pakistan. Here, the report mixes the advantages of negotiations with the flexibility in declared conditions. That is, the report considers that negotiations automatically mean elasticity in the state’s stance. Moreover, the elasticity has been permitting the TTP to renew its offenses against Pakistan. This may not be the case. Negotiations are a means to get heard and convince the participants of the state’s point of view to minimize the prospects of bloodshed. Maintaining an army does not mean investing its tears and blood in one conflict after the other. The more the opponent is benighted and nescient, the more is the need for negotiations, as a pre-requisite for a conflict. Underestimating the significance of negotiations is perilous. The principle is this: always give negotiations a chance before resorting to the use of force. It is quite correct to say that the TTP has not only sought sanctuary in the territory of Afghanistan but has also taken refuge in the ideology of the Afghan Taliban. Apparently, for its survival, the TTP needs the Afghan Taliban. The report also says that the subject of dealing with the TTP should not be left exclusively with the security agencies. Instead, as per the report, the issue should be discussed in the parliament, which is a centre of collective decision-making, which must take a lead role in counterterrorism efforts, and which must build a clear stance on terrorism and extremism. That is true. There should be a cushion between the security agencies and the target organization. The absence of such a pad increases the chances of collateral damage, which has been a source of retaliation and further intensification of the conflict. The value of human life should never be undervalued. The TTP has been repulsed from Pakistan’s territory. The TTP knows well that if the Pakistani army could launch operations in the past, the army can do so again in the future. Despite this understanding, if the TTP has got reactivated, there is a need to look deeply into the causes. When General Qamar Javed Bajwa (former COAS) retired, he proposed to the parliament that legislation be enacted to protect the captives held in internment camps. The proposal invited a hue and cry. The incident of December 18 in Bannu, where more than thirty members of the TTP held officers of a CTD police station hostage, reminds one that these detainees cannot be kept in custody for a long time without any legal justification. Illegal captivity, and that for a protracted period, must be a source of resentment in the TTP causing a surge in terrorist attacks as witnessed recently. Where there is a need to condemn the TTP, there is a need to do introspection if the State is dealing with the TTP prisoners legally. Contrary to the assertion of the report, the Afghan Taliban are not inclined to get involved in border skirmishes (except in isolated cases) with Pakistan’s security forces across the Durand Line on the issue of fencing the line. The reason is simple: they need Pakistan’s help in getting the legitimacy of their rule over Kabul recognized by the world. If Pakistan turns hostile to Afghan Taliban, the world, especially the United States (US) may find little or no space to recognize the government of the Afghan Taliban. Hitherto, the Afghan Taliban have been reluctant to challenge Pakistan and have given open support to the TTP to launch attacks on Pakistan. However, there is an ominous development. On January 4, during a press briefing, in an answer to a question, US State Department’s Spokesman Ned Price said that Pakistan had a right to defend itself from terrorism, as the country had suffered tremendously from terrorist attacks. The statement is portentous because it permits, and perhaps encourages, Pakistan to follow the TTP in hot pursuit inside Afghanistan, which is devoid of any legal government. Any such act of Pakistan’s security forces may turn the Afghan Taliban hostile towards Pakistan. In response to its actions against the TTP, Pakistan must first weigh the pros and cons of hurting the TTP inside Afghanistan. The writer can be reached at qaisarrashid @yahoo.com.