Recent unification of various splinter groups of the Taliban can pose a threat to China’s China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and create internal security challenges

Alarm bells have started ringing for China’s multi-billion US dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as Pakistan’s leading Taliban group reunifies its breakaway factions.

Nikkei Asian Review maintains that there are several Chinese development projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the field of hydro-electricity generation and infrastructure. But the Japanese daily, quoting senior security analysts, has maintained that Pakistan Taliban’s reunification move will have ramifications on security of the Chinese projects.

The daily further said that Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, the Hizb ul-Ahrar and Hakeemullah Mehsud group were the three major factions in the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) until they parted ways over leadership in 2014. Last month, it was announced that they would be reuniting, including a faction of Lashkar -e-Jhangvi. TTP, a strong ally of al-Qaeda, became an umbrella organization for militant groups after its formation in December 2007, says the report. The group has been involved in numerous terror attacks.

Analysts believe the various TTP splinters recognized that they would no longer be viable alone in a changing Afghanistan. The report highlights that in order to meet its peace talk commitment to stop harboring foreign militants, the Afghan Taliban would no longer be able to shelter the TTP.

“The self-realization of the threats for its survival in the changing political landscape of Afghanistan, and then possible pressures from the Afghan Taliban, could have played a more significant role behind this process of reunification,” the Japanese daily quoted Abdul Sayed, a Sweden-based researcher on Jihad groups, as saying.

He also said that this has alarmed China, which has been pushing Pakistan to crack down on ethnic separatist groups in Balochistan and Sindh provinces because of projects linked to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Pakistan cannot overlook the fact that anti-China rhetoric has already increased immensely in TTP and al-Qaeda media.

Read the full report in Nikkei Asian Review