PESHAWAR: Several are being reported killed in infighting between two distraught Tehreek-i-Taliban factions between whom fighting intensified on Friday in Waziristan.
Both factions are part of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) umbrella group, which has been waging a bloody seven-year insurgency against the Pakistani state.
The clash started a few days ago and the cause of infighting was said to be over interference in matters inside one another’s domains.
In the latest clash, six Taliban fighters were killed in a remote controlled IED attack on the vehicle of Hakimullah Mehsud group’s top commander Sheryar Mehsud in Shawal area of North Waziristan Agency.
Official sources said that the vehicle of Sheryar Mehsud was targetted by rival Khan said Sjana group as the two groups continue to target each other.
At least 19 militants of the two TTP groups have been killed on Friday alone in three different attacks in Shawal and Dattakhel areas of the agency.
The top TTP leadership has also reached Waziristan to resolve the conflict.
On the other hand, the militant outfit's leadership is also divided on the ceasefire with the government as no formal extension in ceasefire has been announced despite the end of the earlier deadline of April 10 yesterday.
Cause for strife
Fighters from both sides have been launching attacks in the areas of Shawal, Shaktoi, Makin and Tank with heavy ammunition and artillery in an attempt to destroy one another’s sanctuaries.
Moreover, the internal strife between the two groups is now spilling onto the other areas of the region.
The TTP has remained silent on the matter of infighting in which over 30 deaths have been reported over a couple of days.
The clashes first erupted on Sunday in Shawal between supporters of Khan Said Sajna and followers of the late Hakimullah Mehsud group.
Militant sources had earlier suggested that differences emerged after Sajna, a senior commander, was rejected for the TTP leadership, after then-leader Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike last November.
The TTP has long been driven by infighting.
Sajna had been seen as a strong candidate to become TTP chief following Mehsud's death. But the movement's ruling council at the last minute elected Mullah Fazlullah, who hails from Swat and is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan.
Three killed in Dattakhel explosion
At least three people were killed in a remote-controlled blast Dattakhel tehsil of the North Waziristan tribal region.
According to an initial report, the three were killed when unknown attackers targeted the vehicle they were travelling in using a remote-control bomb.
The men killed in the Dattakhel attack could not yet be identified.