|Drone strike near Pak-Afghan border takes out Hakimullah's aide|
|[DAWN] A close aide of former Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) Chief Hakimullah Mehsud, Khawrey Mehsud, was killed in a drone strike near the Pak-Afghan border yesterday.|
According to TTP Muhammad Khorasani, Khawrey Mehsud was killed in a drone attack in near the Pak-Afghan border on March 18. Two other were also killed in the drone attack.
Khawrey Mehsud was a close aide of former TTP supremo Hakimullah and was said to have taken part in terrorist activities in Afghanistan and Pakistain.
Kurram is one of the most sensitive tribal areas as it borders three Afghan provinces and at one point was one of the key routes for movement across the border.
The region was claimed by the military to have been cleared of during an operation a couple of years ago, however, still carry out sectarian attacks and also target security forces occasionally.
Kurram tribal agency is adjacent to North region where the operation is in progress against Taliban and other groups.
Drone attacks are widely unpopular across Pakistain and according to survey conducted in June last year, 66 per cent of the country's citizens oppose the strikes.
|US designates Mullah Fazlullah as a 'global terrorist'|
|[DAWN] The US State Department on Tuesday designated Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) chief as a global terrorist.|
According to a State Department , Fazlullah has been labeled a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets and those providing support to or acts of terrorism.
The consequences of these designations include a prohibition against American citizens engaging in transactions with Fazlullah, and the freezing of all property and interests of Fazlullah that are in the United States, or come within the United States or the possession or control of US persons, the statement said.
Fazlullah was elected TTP commander in November 2013, following the death of former leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
Under the leadership of Fazlullah, TTP for the December 16, 2014 attack on a school in that resulted in the deaths of at least 148 people, mostly students.
Prior to becoming TTP leader, Fazlullah claimed he was behind the killing of Pak Army Major General Sanaullah Niazi in September 2013, as well as ordering the shooting of schoolgirl and activist in 2012.
The State Department designated TTP as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on September 1, 2010.
|Key Taliban commander, three others handed over to Pakistan|
|PESHAWAR: Latif Mehsud, a close aide of former Pakistani Taliban chief Hakeemullah Mehsud, has been handed over to Pakistani authorities along with his two guards and a broker, sources said on Saturday night.|
High placed official sources told Dawn.com that Latif Mehsud, the then number-two of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud, was arrested along with his guards and a tribesman, Shah Jehan on Pak-Afghan border by the Afghan National Army.
Latif was crossing the border allegedly to buy weapons at the time of the arrest.
The Pakistani authorities had been demanding the return of the arrested TTP commanders. The other two militants handed over to Pakistan have been identified as Jafar and Aziz.
|One soldier killed, six injured during rocket attack in Orakzai|
|One soldier was killed and six others Friday in a rocket attack on Kalaya, the agency headquarters of the restive northwestern |
Official sources said that two rockets were fired on the Kalaya Headquarters as a result of which seven soldiers sustained injuries. One of the injured soldiers died on his way to a hospital, while six others are receiving medical treatment.
Last month, 18 suspected and six soldiers were killed during a gun-battle in Orakzai Agency. The gun-battle was set off by an attack by before dawn, on a check-post in Shireen Dara area of Lower Orakzai.
Orakzai is one of Pakistain's seven semi-autonomous tribal regions in the northwest, where Pak Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked are said to have carved out strongholds.
It was a key abode of former Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud before he was killed in a US drone strike in North in 2013.
|Pakistani Taliban Breakaway Faction Threatens India Attacks|
|[AnNahar] A breakaway faction of the Pak Taliban that for a devastating earlier this week threatened Wednesday to carry out attacks inside India.|
At least 55 people were killed and more than 120 at the main Pakistain-India border crossing on Sunday when a bomb tore through crowds of spectators leaving after the colorful daily ceremony to close the frontier.
Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JA), a faction of the Pak Taliban which broke away from the main leadership in September, was one of a number of groups that for the attack at the Wagah border crossing
The group's said India would be the target of their next attack, warning Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his country was not "out of reach" for the group.
"India is included in our next attack, Narendra Modi should not have this misconception that we cannot attack his country," he told Agence -Presse.
"If we can attack on one side of the border we can also attack on the other side of the border. We do have access to the other side of the border," he added.
Ehsan also repeated his group's claims that they carried out the Wagah border crossing attack, saying he would soon release a video to prove his faction was behind the blast.
There were several conflicting claims of responsibility for the attack, reflecting the fragmentation the umbrella Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) movement has undergone in recent weeks.
Abdullah Bahar, a for a Pak Taliban faction loyal to its dead chief Hakimullah Mehsud, said they carried it out to avenge Mehsud's killing in a U.S. drone strike last year.
TV channels also ran claims from a third faction, called Jundullah.
But the Jamat-ul-Ahrar faction, which broke away from the main TTP leadership in September, rubbished the claim and said they were behind the blast.
Ehsan previously said in an email statement that the attack was for those killed in the ongoing Pak military operation in North tribal area on the Afghan border.
|Taliban's Mehsud faction condemns attack on JUI-F chief|
|[DAWN] The Taliban's Mehsud faction, led by Khan Said alias Sajna, has condemned the attack on Fazl (JUI-F) chief and has said that attacks on Ulema were disgraceful.|
Azam Tariq, for the Mehsud Taliban, said the group condemned the attack and felt that those involved in similar incidents were against and Islam.
Tariq, who had previously also served as the TTP under former Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud who was killed in a US drone strike on November 1, 2013, said that Khan Said Sajna was still the Ameer of the Taliban's Mehsud faction and that members of the group were united under his command.
Earlier on Thursday, at least two people were killed and dozens had been injured when a suspected detonated his explosives outside a JUI-F rally in Quetta.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman remained unhurt in the attack which targeted his bullet-proof vehicle. The banned group Jundallah for the attack.
|MQM workers detain suspicious foreigner near Nine Zero|
|[DAWN] KARACHI: A foreigner was apprehended by (MQM) workers on Tuesday near the party's Nine Zero headquarters. The man was later handed over to the police.|
Speaking to the media, MQM leader Iftikhar Alam said the suspect appeared to be of Afghan or Uzbek descent and could not speak Urdu.
Alam added that despite the language barrier, the suspect had managed to convey an offer of USD 100,000 for his release.
He alleged that the man was scouting the area for a possible attack.
Two mobile phones, Rs 25,000, a portrait of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain's (TTP) former chief Hakimullah Mehsud, and other paraphernalia was recovered from the man's possession.
Speaking to s on Oct 13, senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar said that party leaders had been receiving threatening letters from the banned Taliban outfit in the recent past, asking them to immediately pay up extortion money or face dire consequences.
|Fazlullah has joined hands with killers of Taliban, says splinter group|
|[DAWN] The outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain and its splinter group (JA) are on a collision course as the latter has accused TTP chief of joining hands with people involved in the killing of commanders.|
In a statement on Thursday, JA said those who were involved in the killing of TTP commanders Nadeem Abbas, Asmatullah Shaheen , Tariq Mansoor and 200 fighters of the Mehsud tribe were now sitting beside Fazlullah.
Ehsan, who earlier served as central for the TTP, said that being head of his group Fazlullah should bring the killers to "justice".
He said the TTP chief lacked qualities of a good leader, which had resulted in the killing of many commanders.
The JA said the Fazlullah-led TTP group "now comprised only a few people".
He said that Fazlullah had no authority to expel Umar of from TTP. Khurasani was now an active member of JA and the group's leadership had the authority to appoint a leader for Mohmand.
He claimed that a majority of s had joined JA and the families of both Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud had become associated with it.
He said JA had expressed allegiance to Mullah Umar and had faith in the leadership qualities of the top leader of Afghan Taliban.
Ehsan said some elements in the Fazlullah-led TTP were hatching conspiracies to drive a wedge between JA and the Afghan Taliban.
The JA said that Fazlullah should reveal the names of people who killed Nadeem Abbas alias Inteqami, who was the TTP leader for Rawalpindi, Asmatullah Shaheen and Tariq Mansoor Afridi.
It is the first time that a Taliban-linked group has acknowledged the death of Nadeem Abbas, who police custody in in August, 2011, and was reportedly involved in several acts of terrorism.
In 2011, Abbas and another TTP leader Zakim Shah were brought to the Khyber College of Dentistry for treatment. They when being moved back to the central jail in Peshawar.
Asmatullah Shaheen, who was an acting chief of TTP, was killed outside his residence in , North , in February last year.
Ehsan also clarified that JA had no links with the Janud Khurasan group and that Ahrarul Hind had merged with JA. He said a majority of TTP commanders in Malakand division had joined JA.
|Punjabi Taliban shift focus to Afghanistan|
|[DAWN] Punjabi Taliban, an influential faction of the Pak Taliban on Friday said it would abandon activity inside the country and redirect its energies towards Afghanistan.|
The announcement indicates further fragmentation in the umbrella Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (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 Pak 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, Pakistain's wealthiest and most populous province and the political power base of Prime Minister and his Pakistain League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.
Muawiya said the faction will operate in Afghanistan under the guidance of , the spiritual leader of Afghan Taliban, while its activities in Pakistain will be confined to preaching Islam.
"The announcement is a major setback for the TTP as it shows fragmentation is continuing and the organization is fracturing," defence and security analyst Talat Masood told AFP.
"The groups within TTP have not accepted , which has caused a serious split in the organization."
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.
|AuH warns of suicide attacks if NWA op continues|
|[The Nation (Pak)] Ahrar-ul-Hind (AuH), a splinter group of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP), the other day (Friday) threatened to stage s across the country if the government did not stop military operation against in North Agency.|
Weren't they doing that before the operation started?
"We will target security forces all around the country. Our s have reached the major cities of the country. This time the focus of our attacks will be Punjab, as all policies are formulated there," said Asad Mansoor, a spokesperson for AuH, while talking to The Nation on phone from .
The AuH under the leadership of Maulana Umar Qasmi parted ways with TTP when the former initiated peace talks with the government earlier this year. "AuH had asked the leadership of TTP not to initiate any peace talks with the 'infidel government' until the Mujahideen did not take of the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud. They did not agree with us and the result is in front of all," he added.
He further said that talks were under way between AuH and TTP and hoped that both the groups would soon reconcile, as both have a common enemy (security forces of Pakistain). According to the AuH, the ongoing military operation has resulted in the killings of innocent people and AuH 'will avenge the killings.'
The AuH became active when the TTP leadership initiated peace talks with the government and during that period the group for different attacks against the security forces. "We had carried out attacks in different parts of the country like and Quetta and we have the capability to reach our targets," warned Abu Mansoor. The spokesperson also revealed formation of a new central Shura of AuH under the leadership of Qasmi. "We have formed a new Shura (council) with members from all around the country," he added.
The leading members of the shura are Maulana Habib-ul-Haq, popularly known as Nazim Sahib (Malakand division), Maulana Yaseen (Malakand division), Maulana Salih (Malakand Division), Maulana Hamza (Mohmand Agency), Maulana Naik Salam Haider (Orakzai Agency), Misbahuddin Sayyad (Kohat), and Abu Ibrahim (Punjab).
|Key Taliban commander among five killed in Orakzai blast|
|[DAWN] A key commander of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) was among five killed Thursday night in a blast at a compound in lower |
Official sources said the took place inside a house in Out Mela area of Orakzai agency, destroying the building and killing the five suspected inside.
Sources said that a key commander Amir Salam was among the dead.
Orakzai agency was known to be a stronghold of Talibs and a key abode of former TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud before he was killed in a US drone strike in North .
|Taliban cut hair and beards to flee army assault|
|[DAWN] Hundreds of Taliban fighters rushed to disguise themselves with new haircuts in the weeks before the launch of the North operation, it has emerged, as refugees revealed details of life under the - and their taste for imported luxuries.|
Azam Khan was one of the top barbers in until he, like nearly half a million others, fled the long-awaited offensive unleashed by the military on the tribal area in June.
He told AFP his business boomed in the month leading up to the army assault as the sought to shed their distinctive long-haired, bearded look.
"I have trimmed the hair and beards of more than 700 local and Uzbek ahead of the security forces' operation," he said while cutting hair in a shop in Bannu, the town where most civilians fled.
For years he cut s' hair to match the flowing locks of former Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud, killed by a US drone last November, but in May a change in style was called for.
"The same leaders came asking for trimming their beards and hair very short, saying that they were going to the Gulf and wanted to avoid problems at Pak airports," Khan said.
Even Uzbeks and Tajiks with little knowledge of the local language came to him, he said.
"Knowing little Pashto, they used to utter four words: 'mulgari (friend), machine, zero, Islamabad'," said Khan -- asking him to shave their beards to nothing so they could go to Islamabad.
The military launched the offensive against in North Waziristan tribal area on June 15, vowing to wipe out the strongholds they have used to wreak countless deadly terror attacks across the country.
The rugged, mountainous area on the Afghan border has been a hideout for years for Islamist of all stripes - including Al Qaeda and the homegrown TTP as well as including Uzbeks and Uighurs.
For years people from North Waziristan remained tight-lipped about life in a Taliban fiefdom, scared of being kidnapped or even beheaded if they shared information about the s.
But as the exodus of people has grown, some have found the confidence to tell their stories.
While the bombed and maimed thousands in their fight to install an austere sharia regime in Pakistain and publicly professed contempt for the West, in North Waziristan they indulged themselves with fancy imported goods.
Hikmatullah Khan, a shopkeeper in Miranshah, said that at the same time as commanders were insisting he pay 300 rupees a month "tax", their fighters were stocking up on grooming products.
"They were very keen to buy foreign-branded shampoos, soaps and perfumed sprays," Khan told AFP.
"They had a lot of eagerness for French and Turkish perfumes, body sprays and soaps. "Muhammad Zarif, a wholesale merchant in Datta Khel, near Miranshah, said fighters would buy large quantities of British detergent and American cooking oil, much of it smuggled from Dubai.
Pakistain's allies, particularly the United States, have long called for an operation to flush out groups like the Haqqani network, which use the area to target troops in neighbouring Afghanistan and are thought to have links to Pak intelligence services.
The military has said it will target "of all hue and colour" but the scant resistance troops have encountered has led many to believe the fled before the offensive, limiting its effectiveness.
The army says the operation has killed nearly 400 and will rid North Waziristan of their bases, denying them the space to plan attacks and allowing investment to come to one of the country's poorest areas.
But it remains to be seen what the long-term impact of the offensive will be. Local intelligence and sources told AFP that up to 80 per cent of fighters fled after rumours of an army assault emerged in early May, most over the into Afghanistan.
These sources estimate the present number of as around 2,000, down from around 10,000 before the operation. The figures are uncertain and difficult to confirm.
The army has asked Afghanistan to crack down on TTP refuges across the border and this week top brass from both sides met in Islamabad to discuss the issue.
"It is clear that were aware that the offensive was coming before it started. Lots of them fled," a Western diplomat told AFP.
"The big question is: after the offensive, will Pakistain allow the Haqqanis and others to come back? "