‘Markay Hain Taiz Tar’: An Analysis of the Pakistani Taliban’s Final Propaganda Video of 2023

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 22 Issue: 3

A past issue of Umar Media's "Markay Hain Taiz Tar." (Source: Terrorist Media)

Executive Summary

  • The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) released the 8th video in their “Battles Are Accelerated” series showcasing attacks on Pakistani security forces throughout 2023, meant to portray the TTP as a formidable force and the Pakistani military as weak.
  • Infographics at the end of the video detail the TTP’s claimed battlefield successes against Pakistani forces, which could encourage potential mergers with other jihadist factions and further radicalization.

In its final bid in 2023 to disseminate a message of jihad against the Pakistani state, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or “Pakistani Taliban,” released the eighth episode of its video series, “Markay Hain Taiz Tar” (Battles Are Accelerated). Apart from presenting itself as a formidable fighting force, the purpose of the video series has been to communicate the TTP’s relevance in the Afghanistan-Pakistan militant ecosystem. This specific video release by the TTP’s media wing, Umar Media, featured the group’s attacks on Pakistan’s military and other law enforcement agencies across parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa throughout 2023. It also hinted at the group’s recovery from internal divisions. These had begun after the death of Hakeemullah Mehsud in 2013, continuing until the ascent of the current TTP chief Noor Wali Mehsud (Dawn, May 28, 2014).

Video Highlights

The video kicks off with a Quranic verse on jihad. This is an apparent attempt to call upon the Pakistani people to rebel against a governmental system which the TTP deems as un-Islamic. While displaying footage from numerous attacks with motivational nasheeds played in the background, the group’s media wing offered a complete breakdown of various assaults and their aftermath. In the past, videos in the series predominantly chronicled attacks carried out with thermal snipers and other night vision devices. In an interesting change, these latest videos showcased a variety of ambushes and guerilla-style tactics conducted during daylight hours (Samma, December 17, 2023).

In the videos, TTP members are seen catching the security forces by complete surprise. A variety of weapons are used during the ambushes on military convoys, in addition to the more conventional improvised explosive device (IED) blasts. Lastly, the video features footage in which TPP militants fire rockets at a Pakistani military base.

Key Narratives

The recurring use of “haq o batil” (truth or falsehood) terminology in the video emphasizes the TTP’s portrayal of its armed struggle as a pure Islamic endeavor against evil. In particular, the group declared that it will persist in its attacks until sharia in Pakistan is enforced. In the psychological domain, the release of this footage signifies an intensified effort by the TTP to showcase its battlefield successes against the group’s declared enemy. Likewise, the video is intended to suggest that Pakistan’s military is weakening and on the run. Moreover, it is also meant to challenge the perception that the TTP is a spent force. The group feels the need to make this point because Pakistan’s security agencies had been predicting the TTP’s defeat following the Zarb-e-Azb Military operation in North Waziristan. Following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, however, the TTP has gained considerable ground in Pakistan (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, January 13, 2022).

By showcasing its tactical capabilities through this video, the TTP has presented challenges for Pakistan on multiple fronts. First, on the traditional security front, the use of diverse tactics, including ambushes and rocket attacks, indicates the TTP’s adaptability in exploiting weaknesses in Pakistani security measures. It also hints at the Pakistani military’s inadequacy in terms of operational preparedness. Additionally, there are threats of further radicalization. The TTP’s use of religious narratives and slogans in the video aims to legitimize jihad in the eyes of potential sympathizers and recruits. This poses a counter-narrative challenge for the Pakistani government. These battlefield successes, as detailed in the video itself as well as infographics at the end, may prove to be a factor in potential future mergers between the TTP and other, weaker jihadist factions.


As the TTP controls the “digital narrative,” strategic thinkers in Pakistan face a challenge in crafting a counter-narrative. The Pakistani security establishment originally misconstrued the absence of violence following past military operations as evidence of the TTP’s demise. This was greatly overstated. The group instead strategically utilized opportunities, such as the opening of peace talks and provision of safe harbor with the Afghan Taliban, to stage a comeback. With the Taliban in control of Afghanistan and sympathetic to the TTP, Pakistan’s sole recourse at this point appears to be persuading the Afghan Taliban to cease their support of the TTP as it continues its campaign of violence.

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