|‘TTP leader’ killed in South Waziristan operation|
|[DAWN] A close aide of Khan Said, naib emir of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP), and his guard were killed during a search operation conducted by security forces on Friday along the border of South Agency with province.|
Mehmoodul Hasan alias Khwaja Madni was said to be an important member of the TTP.
According to sources, the security forces conducted the search operation in Tor Mazdak area of the agency, close to the Balochistan border, after receiving information about the presence of leaders there.
They said a clash erupted when the security personnel were searching houses in the area, leaving the two men dead.
The sources said Khwaja Madni had remained affiliated with TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud. He joined Waliur Rehman after Baitullah died in a drone attack.
They said Khwaja Madni stayed back in Waziristan after all leaders of the TTP escaped to Afghanistan in the wake of military operations.
|Police claim killing seven suspected terrorists in Karachi|
|[DAWN] Police on Wednesday claimed to have killed seven suspected and one in injured condition in a raid conducted following firing and a blast in Afghan Basti near Suhrab Goth, DawnNews reported.|
Speaking to media representatives, SSP Malir Rao Anwar said the of proscribed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain's (TTP) Waliur Rehman group were killed after a police encounter that lasted for two hours.
He said the action was taken upon reports of presence of ten in Afghan Basti, adding that a suspect was arrested in injured condition while two others managed to escape through Malir River.
The dead and injured were later shifted to Abbasi Shahid Hospital.
Police officials also claimed to have recovered weapons, hand grenades and home-made tennis-ball bombs in large quantity. The recovered ball bombs were also presented before the media.
SSP Anwar said that same home-made bombs had been used in attacks on Sohrab Goth Police Station and Al-Asif Police Checkpost.
It may be mentioned that law enforcers have apprised the Supreme Court in written about hindrance they face in raiding Afghan Basti due to presence of TTP's Waliur Rehman group. Dead bodies belonging to the group have also been recovered from different deserted areas of the port city in the past.
deteriorating law and order and increasing incidents of s were discussed in a meeting headed by the DG Rangers in .
The meeting decided to expedite the ongoing targeted operation against criminals and in the city. More cooperation among all law enforcing forces for the next phase of operation was also agreed upon in the meeting.
|Taliban infighting kills seven in NWA|
|PESHAWAR: Fresh clashes between rival militant groups left seven dead on Sunday in Shawal Tehsil of North Waziristan Agency, as military launched a âcomprehensive operationâ to eliminate Taliban and Qaeda militants in the tribal region. Two people were also injured in the militant infighting. |
Officials and tribal sources confirmed that the fresh clashes erupted between supporters of Sheharyar Mehsud and Khan Said Sajna groups. Over the last two months, the infighting within the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan factions has left over 100 dead and many more injured.
The Sajna and Sheryar groups of the TTP have been at odds since the death of Hakimullah and Waliur Rehman Mehsud in US drone strikes. The rival factions have accused each other of grabbing power in order to control South Waziristanâs Mehsud tribal area. Sajna had been considered the right hand man of Waliur Rehman, whereas Sheryar was a confidant of Hakimullah Mehsud. Their slain leaders had also been at loggerheads after the death of TTP founder Baitullah Mehsud.
|Key Pakistani Taliban faction breaks away|
|[DAWN] A key faction of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) announced Wednesday that it was splitting from the outfit following bloody with a rival group.|
The break-away faction belongs to the Mehsud tribe, widely considered the most important of the various groups that comprise the umbrella TTP which has fought the Pak government since 2007.
Azam Tariq, a for the group, said the breakaway faction would be lead by Khalid Mehsud, famously known by the name of Khan Said alias Sajna.
"We announce our defection from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain, we have chosen Khalid Mehsud as the new leader for South ," announced Tariq.
Khalid Mehsud was a key ally of former Mehsud Taliban chief and former TTP number two Waliur Rehman Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike in May last year.
Speaking in an interview at , Tariq said individual ideologies had created a rift among the Taliban and they were deviating from "the real cause".
He claimed that the present TTP regime was carrying out s on public places with bogus names and money was also being extorted from madrassahs and other institutions which, he said, was unacceptable.
"The TTP leadership has fallen into the hands of a bunch of conspirators, the umbrella organization is involved in criminal activities like robbery and extortion," he said.
He said other Taliban factions were also becoming distrustful of the main umbrella organization.
Azam further said that the group had tried to reform the TTP, claiming that, despite its efforts, conniving elements in the organization had emerged successful.
The said that these elements had handed over management of the central organization into the hands of "shadowy forces".
Two factions of the TTP, the umbrella grouping for disparate organizations, have been locked in bloody for the past several weeks.
Differences emerged in the organization after former chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed by a US drone in November last year and a crisis developed over the future leadership of the group.
Khalid Mehsud was a contender for the TTP's top slot after Hakimullah's death, but the post eventually was handed to who hails from the scenic valley and is the first non-Mehsud to lead the TTP.
The conflict brought those backing Khalid Mehsud against supporters of Sheheryar Mehsud, who claim to be the followers of the late Hakimullah Mehsud.
Infighting among the factions has also impeded and undermined what little progress had been made in peace negotiations with the government.
|TTP Turf War|
|[Dawn] IS the within the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain an outcome of muscle-flexing or a shift in the militancy scenario? More importantly, what role does power and money play as the proscribed organization extends its network to lucrative urban areas?|
Fazlullah lacks the credentials of his Mehsud predecessors.
Power transfer is not a new issue within TTP ranks. It started soon after the death of the TTP's chief Baitullah Mehsud in a 2009 drone strike. The ensuing confrontation was finally resolved through a compromise in which the newly appointed chief Hakeemullah Mehsud made Waliur Rehman his deputy. Soon after the deaths of both TTP commanders in US drone strikes, however, the fault lines reappeared.
|Infighting between rival TTP factions leaves 13 dead|
|[DAWN] MIRAMSHAH: Thirteen have been killed on Tuesday as infighting between rival Taliban groups restarted in Shawal Tehsil of North Agency.|
The latest violence comes a few days after a ceasefire which the claimed to have reached through mediation by top commanders.
Official and tribal sources confirmed that the had started early Tuesday morning between Sheryar Mehsud and Khan Said alias Sajna.
According to official sources, several other have also been injured in the Shawal mountains near the Pak-Afghan border.
The infighting between the two groups have claimed more than 50 lives during the last few weeks.
Sources said that the is likely to rise.
The Sajna and Sheryar groups of the TTP have been at odds since the death of Hakimullah and Waliur Rehman Mehsud in US drone strikes.
The rival factions have accused each other of grabbing power in order to control South Waziristan's Mehsud tribal area.
Sajna had been considered the right hand man of Waliur Rehman, whereas Sheryar was a confidant of Hakimullah Mehsud.
Their slain leaders had also been at loggerheads after the death of TTP founder Baitullah Mehsud.
|Afghan Taliban seek tribesmen's help to stop TTP infighting|
|[DAWN] A pamphlet attributed to the Afghan Taliban and distributed in parts of North Agency has confirmed serious differences among the Mehsud Taliban and the infighting which has left a number of killed on both sides.|
The Pashto language Pamphlet, with letter head of Afghan Taliban's chief Mullah Umar, has not only mentioned the conflict among the Mehsud Taliban groups which forms major part of TTP but also appealed to the local to pray and resolve the conflict.
The pamphlet has also appealed to the Taliban groups to play their role in defusing the tension and stopping the infighting between Hakimullah Mehsud group led by Sheryar Mehsud and Khan Said Sajna group, affiliated earlier to Waliur Rehman Mehsud group.
The authenticity of the letter, however, could not be verified from the Afghan Taliban but a copy of the letter is available with Dawn.com.
On the other hand a member of the Hakimullah Mehsud group, Haji Daud who claimed to be its has also confirmed to the media that their group is in conflict with Khan Said Sajna group.
He said that the Sajna group wanted to take over the Meshsud Taliban's command and establish its authority in South Waziristan's Mehsud belt which was not acceptable to them.
Daud added that the group would accept the authority of any group only if endorsed by TTP chief .
The umbrella TTP group on the other hand has termed the internal rift a petty issue and had blamed the media for creating hype.
A key member of the TTP shura, Azam Tariq told Dawn.com that the Mehsud Taliban's dispute has been resolved and it was not a "big problem" any more.
About the extension in ceasefire with the government and other issues, he said that reports about it were premature and the matter would be decided by the Shura soon.
He said that a ceasefire has been established between the two Taliban groups and there would be no more fighting between them.
The armed between the groups over a period of a week have left over 40 dead on both sides.
|Clash between TTP groups claims 10 more lives in S. Waziristan|
|[DAWN] The clash between two groups of the Taliban in Shaktoi area of South continued on Tuesday claiming the lives of ten more and wounding three others.|
Both the warring sides used heavy machinery in the clash, government officials and Taliban sources confirmed.
The between Khan Said alias Sajna and Waliur Rehman groups of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) began on Sunday during which five were killed and several others .
The total of the clash stood at 15.
|Four TTP militants killed in S. Waziristan attack, claim sources|
|[DAWN] At least four Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP)s, including a key commander, were killed in the Shaktoi area of South tribal region on Monday, sources said.|
Just a splinter group. Nothing to get worked up about.
Official sources said unknown persons attacked a car in the Shaktoi area of South Waziristan Agency, killing four people and injuring another.
Other sources said that a clash occurred between the Khan Said alias Sajna and Waliur Rehman groups of the TTP.
|[DAWN] ABDUL Razzaq Buneri, an Awami National Party (ANP) leader and Pakhtun trader, refused to pay Rs20 million to the Pak Taliban after he received numerous threatening telephone calls which were traced to Afghanistan and North .|
Recently, the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) killed two police personnel in charge of his security; and his home and business in were targeted twice in three months. Although ANP politicians have chosen to lie low in Karachi's Pakhtun-dominated areas, they have been intimidated into leaving their constituencies, their offices forcibly closed and their leaders murdered.
By attacking local ANP leaders and Pakhtun elders, extorting and threatening residents and businesses, and forming parallel courts providing rough justice in exchange for support, the TTP is consolidating its hold over parts of Karachi. Aqeel Yousafzai, a -based security analyst, explains that killing influential Pakhtun elders is a key Taliban strategy, initially successful in Afghanistan, then Fata and KP and now happening in Karachi. Previous infighting between Hakimullah Mehsud's Karachi faction and the hardline Waliur Rehman group, the latter which attacked ANP activists, also resulted in much violence in these areas.
Shahi Syed, ANP's president in Sindh, concurs. With more than 800 workers killed between 2008 and 2013 in Pakistain, including over 60 in the last three years in Karachi, he explains that his party is a target because they had initially opposed the Taliban's ideology, as they believe in Bacha Khan's philosophy of non-violence.
According to a TTP from the Khan Saeed faction in Sohrab Goth, "We target specific traders, especially from the ANP, and collect money from them or those who make money through illicit means," he says on condition of anonymity. He confirms that the TTP shura decided to target liberal political parties, including the ANP, for their secular doctrine and also because they were responsible for offensives against the TTP in and districts of .
Over the last two years the TTP has shifted its strategy to territorial control, becoming increasingly involved in the city's s, thus adopting the modus operandi of its more secular rivals -- something which, incidentally, had already been practised by sectarian organizations, particularly in North Karachi.
According to French analyst Laurent Gayer, there exists a blueprint for unofficial governance involving the coercive exploitation of economic rents, and the provision of public services, either by rebooting public institutions or by setting up de facto bodies providing health services, justice, and security.
while TTP affiliates from South Waziristan, Swat ( faction responsible for killing ANP leaders) and (with extortion expertise) may wield power in certain townships by forming organizational networks and relationships with local groups, it is hugely unlikely that this would translate into votes or a solid support base.
Explaining that the TTP in any case has no political ambitions in urban centres, and continues to use Karachi mainly for fundraising, Muhammad Amir Rana, director at the Pakistain Institute for Peace Studies, says its activities could be controlled if provincial governments had larger security budgets.
In several Pakhtun townships, the TTP, with its illicit enforcement authority, is virtually the only decision-maker. Local residents say almost nothing gets done without its nod. Protection money rackets previously exclusive to certain political parties have multiplied since 2000, with competitive players fundraising for both the Pak and the Afghan Taliban. The TTP has also penetrated lucrative businesses, particularly in Sohrab Goth, forcibly imposing flat rates to eliminate competition among transporters, in order to receive regular hefty commissions.
The police, for their part, claim that Karachi's diverse population poses tough challenges. With the Pakhtun community constituting 22pc of the population, the TTP finds ethnic sanctuaries in a city policed by under-resourced and ill-trained personnel. "It is difficult to identify and arrest high-level s living in rented homes in Defence, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Nazimabad. Home to over one million s Karachi allows the TTP to disappear without a trace. We don't have a defined database to identify terrorists, like Nadra," says Karachi police spokesperson Imran Shaukat.
Although the police lost more than 200 officers to violence in 2013, the fact that law enforcement agencies have largely failed to bring the perpetrators to account is partly because witnesses are threatened in court and with no witness protection programme, there is little chance of successful prosecutions.
|Spoilers in the game|
|[DAWN] REMEMBER the attack on the district courts on March 18, 2013? Two s had entered the district courts, from the back, firing indiscriminately and lobbing hand-grenades.|
Fast forward to March 3, 2014. A couple of suicide bombers entered the district courts in Islamabad, police say, from the back of the premises, shooting and throwing hand-grenades.
The attacks were strikingly similar in method, only this time the intelligence and security officials aren't really sure who or which group of the myriad of Pak are behind it. The Peshawar district courts attack was attributed to the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain's Tariq Geedar; this time it is Ahrarul Hind -- a relatively new entrant -- which has for the Islamabad bombing.
Ahrar is a recent phenomenon. It had come under the spotlight on Feb 9 when it declared it would not accept any peace agreement short of complete enforcement of Sharia. On Feb 14, the group publicly rebuked "those who hope that peace would come to Pakistain through an agreement or ceasefire with the Taliban without the enforcement of Sharia. "That would be ridiculous," its Asad Mansoor had said in his first statement.
Founded by brothers from Hizro, Attock district in Punjab, the attack by Ahrar in Islamabad and the denial by the TTP , Shahidullah Shahid, is a grim reminder of just how complex the Pak scene is.
The attack came within hours of a ing in Landi Kotal, region, which targeted a Frontier Corps vehicle and that intelligence officials believe is the handiwork of the TTP's Mohmand chapter. It has once again prompted calls from those advocating talks for segregating the amenable and reconcilable from those bent upon spilling blood and wreaking havoc.
There are said to be 43 Pak groups operating in North alone. Counted together with groups operating in other tribal agencies and settled districts of the country, the total number of organizations in Pakistain comes roughly to 54. Foreign groups are said to be 12 in number. Most of the groups are operating under the TTP umbrella. Some are independent but officials believe the groups have ideological, tactical and logistical similarities.
Of the 54 groups, the government has peace agreements with two groups -- the Maulvi Nazir group in Wana, South Waziristan, and Hafiz Gul Bahadar's group in , North Waziristan, which, depending how one interprets it, are holding. Other than them, there are two more groups which the government believes can be reconciled -- Khan Said alias Sajna (Waliur Rehman group) and Asmatullah Moawya (Punjabi group). Together, their total fighting strength, according to official estimates, should come to 1,300.
Then there are four other Punjabi Taliban groups, which officials believe, could be neutral, and are waiting to see how the cookie crumbles.
For the foreign groups, a peace agreement (like the deals) still holding, which can somehow ensure their continued stay in the region would be a better option than a military operation which would uproot them along with thousands of others. Their survival thus would hinge largely on a loose peace agreement. North Waziristan is their last stand.
But while most of these groups have taken sanctuary in the volatile tribal region, there are two other groups whose behaviour would also have an impact on any policy formulation. Miranshah is home to Hafiz Gul Bahadar and the Haqqani Network. So far, officials believe that both groups are neutral.
Gul Bahadar has a vested interest in talks and against an escalation in hostilities that could threaten 'peace' in his own region. The Haqqani Network would not want action that could, even temporarily, disturb their operations in Afghanistan. The TTP has served as their rearguard in Pakistain. But if there is action, it could easily slip across the border where officials claim they have a large swathe of territory available to operate from.
So even if the TTP is engaged in talks and their claim of no involvement in the recent bombings are taken at face value, arguably there are still a number of groups which can work as spoilers, though there is scepticism within officialdom over the umbrella group's intentions and sincerity.
So far the TTP has played its cards intelligently; some analysts say it is politically savvier than those at the helm, crafting a course of action that the government has no option but to follow. It has stalled any impending military operation and put the hawks and the government on the defensive.
The scenario is so complex, complicated and confusing that there are many within officialdom who now wonder if there is any clarity and vision at the top.
Like the Guinness records being set in Lahore, the false starts of the military operation, the on-again, off-again peace talks, the attacks and the number of terminologies describing the strikes -- from targeted to surgical to precision to retaliatory -- may also become a record of sorts. The only difference is that the Guinness records are being celebrated in Lahore, while the wave of attacks in the rest of the country is cause for mourning.
|Taliban checkmate the govt|
|[DAWN] Prime Minister must be scratching his head, wondering what his next move should be. On the other hand, the leadership is probably enjoying cups of green tea in a mud-house somewhere in the tribal region. The beardos can afford to relax -- after all they have just checkmated a confused and clueless hip while also putting to the test the political rhetoric of those who have gone hoarse lobbying for peace talks with the Pak Taliban.|
The nomination of the five-member committee to represent the Tehrik-e-Taliban in talks with a four-member government-nominated team appears to be a smart political move by the TTP.
The TTP-nominated committee is representative of the school of thought which vociferously advocated peace negotiations with the Pak s.
The have nominated PTI chief ; Maulvi Kifayatullah, the burly, former JUI-F MPA from ; JUI-S leader Maulana , who until recently claimed to have been tasked by the government to engage the s; the leader from Bannu, Professor Mohammad Ibrahim; and the famous Lal Masjid , Maulana Abdul Aziz.
The TTP said that the had spoken to the individuals and had obtained their consent.
Among the bearded crowd, the clean-shaven Khan seems like the odd man out but then, perhaps more than the others, he articulated and forcefully pushed for a dialogue with the s. Not just that, he ordered his party men to forcibly stop supplies for foreign forces moving through before entering Afghanistan. His party also staged a sit-in to protest drone strikes in our tribal regions.
So, tactically and politically speaking, the have chosen an ideal team. The ones, who believed that peace was possible, have been given the task to make it possible.
Let not be blamed for lack of seriousness or resolve; let their chosen few speak for them and vouch for them by engaging the official handpicked team, the majority of whose ideological bent of mind may not be different from their supposed interlocutors.
It's a win-win situation -- tail, I win, head, you lose! Like-minded people on both sides. As one commentator put it, it was a case of Liverpool playing against Liverpool.But this is not all what it is all about. The TTP has put the political parties' own rhetoric to test. Will Khan now come forward and be part of a team representing the and risk being permanently called a Taliban Khan by his political detractors?
Even more interesting is the fact that his party's government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has endorsed and supported the official team by nominating Rustam Shah Mohmand to it. How will Mohmand -- a government interlocutor -- confront his own party leader sitting on the other side of the table?
Khan has made it clear he wouldn't be part of the Taliban-nominated committee. "This is beneath his stature," a party leader said.
JI's Prof Ibrahim was smart. He acknowledged having been approached. he added that while he had consented to be part of the effort he would do so only as a mediator between the government and the Taliban.
Samiul Haq, who opted out, is simply miffed that Prime Minister Sharif did not return his calls. Hence, he has adopted the wait-and-see approach -- in other words he will not commit either way till the situation clears up.
Maulana Abdul Aziz too has been a bit ambivalent. He said he was willing to help as much as he can but added that till the government imposed the Sharia or appeared sincere in doing so, he would not become part of the team.
This leaves behind Maulvi Kifayatullah, who was once JUI-F's contact person with the late TTP leader, Waliur Rehman, to respond to the nomination.
But where does this leave the government's initiative? What will the prime minister do to achieve political consensus for his peace initiative? Or will he now swallow the bitter pill and do the seemingly unthinkable -- order a military operation -- now that at least four of the political parties which supported his move, have now been chosen by the to sit on the opposite end of the table?