How can we understand the resurgence of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)? Framing FATA as a Zomian space, we argue that its “friction of terrain” provided nonstate spaces for the emergence as well as the resurgence of TTP. The literature describes TTP as an outcome of global political and security compulsions, Islamabad’s regional policies, and ideological associations with the Afghan Taliban. The present study adds terrain to the discussion. Islamabad, after militarily destroying TTP, announced the FATA merger in 2018. However, TTP’s revival not only problematizes the state’s role but also affirms the continuation of Zomian character: the nonstate spaces that facilitated TTP’s ability to regroup and thrive again. James C. Scott’s Zomia framework is tested here against empirical realities with the help of both primary and secondary data sources.

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