Breakaway faction, splinter group join TTP

Updated 18 Aug 2020

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Umar Khalid Khurasani, head of Jamaatul Ahrar, and Umar Khurasani, head of his own splinter faction of Hizbul Ahrar, dissolved their groups and took the oath of allegiance to TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud. — File photo
Umar Khalid Khurasani, head of Jamaatul Ahrar, and Umar Khurasani, head of his own splinter faction of Hizbul Ahrar, dissolved their groups and took the oath of allegiance to TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud. — File photo

PESHAWAR: A breakaway militant faction and a splinter group returned to the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to fight the Pakistani state and its system of governance, a spokesman for the organisation said in a post on internet.

Mohammad Khurasani, the main spokesman for the TTP, in his post announced that Umar Khalid Khurasani, head of Jamaatul Ahrar, and Umar Khurasani, head of his own splinter faction of Hizbul Ahrar, dissolved their groups and took the oath of allegiance to TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, aka Abu Asim Mansoor.

The spokesman didn’t mention the location of the meeting, but photographs distributed along with the post showed a gathering of men holding the hand of 42-year-old Abu Mansoor.

Noor Wali had previous allegiance with the Afghan Taliban, but later joined the TTP and worked as its ideologue on Shariah issues.

In 2017, he wrote a book Inquilabi-e-Mehsud, a chronicle of the TTP that also dilated on why the organisation had failed, highlighting kidnapping for ransom, extortions and targeted killings of the innocent as the main reasons.

The TTP and the hitherto splinter groups, including the two Ahrars, are believed to be based in Afghanistan’s eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar and Khost. Mufti Noor Wali succeeded Maulvi Fazlullah, who was killed in a drone strike in Kunar in June, 2018.

In September, 2019, the US classified Mehsud as the Specially Designated Global Terrorist, while the UN added his name to the sanctions committee list in July this year.

Jamaatul Ahrar, which has joined the TTP, had split up in 2014 after infighting over the succession of Hakimullah Mehsud. Hizbul Ahar was a splinter group of Jamaatul Ahrar.

A recently released UN report suggested that around 6,000 Pakistani militants affiliated with different groups were enjoying sanctuary in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has frequently called upon the Afghan government to take action against these groups, which are behind most of the deadliest attacks in the country.

Security officials maintain that some of these groups enjoy the support of hostile intelligence agencies to carry out subversive activities in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2020