Terrorist Threat Blog

by Antiterrorism Consulting

Terrorist Group




aka Pakistani Taliban; Tehreek-e-Taliban; Tehrik-e-Taliban; Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan; Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan; TTP

Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 1, 2010, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a Pakistan-based terrorist organization formed in 2007 in opposition to Pakistani military efforts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Previously disparate militant tribes agreed to cooperate and eventually coalesced into TTP under the leadership of now deceased leader Baitullah Mehsud. The group officially presented itself as a discrete entity in 2007. Since August 2009, TTP has been led by Hakimullah Mehsud. TTP’s goals include waging a terrorist campaign against the Pakistani military, as well as against NATO forces in Afghanistan, and overthrowing the Government of Pakistan. TTP uses the tribal belt along the Afghan-Pakistani border to train and deploy its operatives, and the group has a symbiotic relationship with al-Qa’ida (AQ). TTP draws ideological guidance from AQ, while AQ relies on TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border. This arrangement gives TTP access to both AQ’s global terrorist network and the operational experience of its members.

Activities: TTP has carried out and claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against Pakistani and U.S. interests, including a December 2009 suicide attack on a U.S. military base in Khowst, Afghanistan, which killed seven U.S. citizens, and an April 2010 suicide bombing against the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, which killed six Pakistani citizens. TTP is suspected of being involved in the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. TTP claimed to have supported the failed attempt by Faisal Shahzad to detonate an explosive device in New York City’s Times Square on May 1, 2010. TTP’s claim was validated by investigations that revealed that TTP directed and facilitated the plot.

Throughout 2011, TTP carried out attacks against the Government of Pakistan and civilian targets, as well as against U.S. targets in Pakistan. Attacks in 2011 included: a March bombing at a gas station in Faisalabad that killed 31 people; an April double suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine in Dera Ghazi Khan that left more than 50 dead; a May bombing of an American consulate convoy in Peshawar that killed one person and injured 12; a May siege of a naval base in Karachi; and a September attack against a school bus that killed four children and the bus driver.

TTP continued to utilize the same tactics against similar targets in 2012. In March, a suicide bomber struck at a mosque in Khyber Agency, and killed over a dozen people while injuring approximately 10 others. In May, an attack in the Bajaur tribal region killed 24 people when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a police checkpoint near a crowded market. In August, TTP stormed a Pakistani Air Force base in Kamra; five Pakistani soldiers were killed in the ensuing firefight. Also in August, TTP militants pulled 22 Shia Muslims off busses in the remote Pakistani district of Manshera before shooting them dead.

Strength: Several thousand.

Location/Area of Operation: Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan

Funding and External Aid: TTP is believed to raise most of its funds through kidnapping for ransom and operations that target Afghanistan-bound military transport trucks for robbery. Such operations allow TTP to steal military equipment, which it sells in Afghan and Pakistani markets.