Punjabi Taliban shift focus to Afghanistan

Published September 5, 2014
Punjabi Taliban chief Ismatullah Muawiya. – File Photo
Punjabi Taliban chief Ismatullah Muawiya. – File Photo
This photograph taken on September 3, 2014 shows a Pakistani man holding a pamphlet, allegedly distributed by the Islamic State (IS), in Peshawar. – AFP Photo
This photograph taken on September 3, 2014 shows a Pakistani man holding a pamphlet, allegedly distributed by the Islamic State (IS), in Peshawar. – AFP Photo

PESHAWAR: Punjabi Taliban, an influential militant faction of the Pakistani Taliban on Friday said it would abandon insurgent activity inside the country and redirect its energies towards Afghanistan.

The announcement indicates further fragmentation in the umbrella Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which suffered a setback Thursday when a new bloc declared its split from the group's official leadership.

“We will confine our practical jihadist role to Afghanistan in view of deteriorating situation in the region and internal situation of Pakistani jihadist movement,” Punjabi Taliban chief Ismatullah Muawiya said in a pamphlet faxed to the media, without clarifying further.


Jamatul Ahrar welcomes new Al Qaeda branch


The faction is active in Punjab, Pakistan's wealthiest and most populous province and the political power base of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.

Muawiya said the faction will operate in Afghanistan under the guidance of Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of Afghan Taliban, while its activities in Pakistan will be confined to preaching Islam.

“The announcement is a major setback for the TTP as it shows fragmentation is continuing and the organisation is fracturing,” defence and security analyst Talat Masood told AFP.

“The groups within TTP have not accepted Mullah Fazlullah, which has caused a serious split in the organisation.”

Mullah Fazlullah was elected head of the TTP last November following the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike.

A new bloc, named the TTP Jamatul Ahrar (freedom fighters group), announced its split from the group Thursday and named Omar Khalid Khorasani as its commander.

Opinion

Editorial

X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...
IMF’s projections
Updated 18 Apr, 2024

IMF’s projections

The problems are well-known and the country is aware of what is needed to stabilise the economy; the challenge is follow-through and implementation.
Hepatitis crisis
18 Apr, 2024

Hepatitis crisis

THE sheer scale of the crisis is staggering. A new WHO report flags Pakistan as the country with the highest number...
Never-ending suffering
18 Apr, 2024

Never-ending suffering

OVER the weekend, the world witnessed an intense spectacle when Iran launched its drone-and-missile barrage against...