The Pakistani military has engaged in a long, bitter conflict with the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), but has made it clear since last week’s Mumbai attacks that in the event of war with India those troops would be shifted from the tribal areas to the eastern front. A high ranking TTP leader is now expressing a similar sentiment.
In a strongly worded statement in which he declared that the TTP was ready to “die for the motherland,” Qari Hussain says that in the event of an Indian invasion, the TTP would raise an army of 15,000 tribesmen to fight alongside the Pakistani military. In addition, Hussain says the organization would infiltrate 500 suicide bombers into India to “cause havoc there.”
Hussain said the statement was a warning to India not to invade Pakistan “as any aggression would be resisted jointly by Pakistan’s armed forces and the mujahideen.” He also urged Pakistan’s “political and religious forces to unite in the face of the Indian threat.”
Ironically, as the Indian government pressures Pakistan to commit increasing amounts of resources to fighting the militants, the bellicose rhetoric coming across the border may serve to unite the two factions against what they see as a greater external threat.