LAHORE: The Swat chapter of the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the killing on Sept 15 of a major general, a lieutenant colonel and an army soldier. The two officers and the soldier lost their lives when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Upper Dir.
The claim was made in a 20-minute video, which is exclusively available with Dawn.
It purports to show a military jeep driving up a mountainous track while a Taliban cameraman tracks the shot. Suspected militants can be heard in the background praying for “success”.
A powerful explosion then rips through the vehicle and fragments can be seen flying off. The suspected militants can be heard chanting slogans in the background, rejoicing over their “success”. It could not be independently verified whether the vehicle under attack belonged to the military.
The video also shows an interview with Mullah Fazlullah, the reclusive leader of the TTP’s Swat chapter, in which he says that he would abide by the orders of his outfit’s supremo, Hakimullah Mehsud, and those of the Shura, over negotiations with the government.
“The government of Pakistan is a slave and not sovereign. It has not fulfilled a single agreement in the past and has instead accused us of violating the agreements. As far as the present talk of negotiations is concerned, we will abide by whatever is decided by our respected Amir, Hakimullah Mehsud, and the Shura,” he said in the interview.
Mullah Fazlullah claimed that the TTP was getting support not just from some members of the general public but also from “powerful members of the state”.
“There are people in this government and in the armed forces who agree with our ideology. Pakistan was made for this ideology. So many of these Muslims support us on ideological grounds. The examples of us successfully breaking jails and conducting other major operations is a proof of our infiltration,” he said.
Mullah Fazlullah, 39, had unleashed a reign of terror in Swat before he lost control of the area following the military operation. He fled to Afghanistan and is believed to operate primarily from that country’s Kunar and Nuristan provinces, from where his men attack Pakistani forces.