A Yousufzai from Swat, he took charge as the head of the TTP after the death of Hakeemullah Mehsud last year. He controlled large parts of the Malakand division for nearly three years before escaping to Afghanistan in 2009 following a military operation. The mastermind of GoC Swat Maj Gen Sanaullah Khan Niazi’s killing, he maintains strong relations with the Afghan Taliban and is popular and well-respected within the TTP and similar ranks.
Sheikh Khalid Haqqani
From the Swabi district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he is the deputy head of the TTP and also head of the TTP shura. A graduate of the Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak, he is held in high esteem within the banned group as a thoughtful religious scholar and a seasoned military commander. He is the main author of the recently released fatwa against the media.
Umar Khalid Khorasani
One of the founding members of the TTP, Umar Khalid Khorasani (aka Abdul Wali) is a former journalist from Mohmand agency. Within organisational circles he is known as a formidable military commander. He was also given additional charge of the Khyber agency chapter for a brief period where he orchestrated a bloody campaign against government-backed lashkars.
Qari Shakeel Ahmed Haqqani
A close associate of Omar Khalid Khorasani, he is currently the head of the TTP’s political shura and deputy chief of the TTP Mohmand.
Currently posted as the chief spokesman of the TTP, Shahidullah Shahid (aka Sheikh Maqbool Orakzai) is known as a “professor” within TTP ranks and maintains strong connections with Arab fighters.
Head of the TTP in South Waziristan.
Maulvi Abu Bakr
A little known figure, he was appointed head of the TTP in Bajaur after the arrest of Faqir Muhammad in Afghanistan. He is media-shy and maintains a very low profile.
Head of the TTP in Orakzai agency.
Formerly a technician with the Pakistan Air Force, he was convicted as one of the planners behind an assassination attempt on the then army chief and president Pervez Musharraf. He was freed by the TTP in the raid on Bannu jail, along with nearly 300 others. He currently leads the Ansaar-al-Aseer (helpers of prisoners), a unit that focuses on freeing Taliban men in prison.
He is the ‘chief justice’ of the TTP, addressing internal disputes taken to his court.
Formerly the chief TTP spokesman, he was removed from the post after being accused of trying to sabotage relations with the Afghan Taliban, a charge he has termed baseless. He is very active within the TTP media circle.
Maulana Saleh Qassam
Editor of the TTP’s monthly magazine, Ihyae Khilafat.—Hasan Abdullah