‘Isolated Hakimullah losing control of TTP’

Published: July 5, 2011

A file picture dated 4 October 2009 shows chief of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Hakimullah Mehsud (C) sitting with Taliban Spokesman Azam Tariq (R). PHOTO: EPA

ISLAMABAD: 

Chief of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Hakimullah Mehsud has been in isolation for more than a year and is rapidly losing control over the terror group he once led with absolute command and authority, his associates and intelligence officials said.

Insiders of the dreaded militant outfit in the country’s lawless tribal badlands and intelligence officials in Islamabad told The Express Tribune that Hakimullah might soon be faced with more rebels from within the TTP after last week’s defection by one of his top commanders.

Fazal Saeed Haqqani, who was appointed by Hakimullah for the strategic Kurram tribal region, announced to separate his group of more than 1,000 fighters from the main outfit in what appeared to be the first serious fracture for the TTP.

The defection took place within days after unknown attackers killed a spokesperson for the TTP’s Fidayeen-e-Islam group – the suicide bombing squad.

The killing of Shakirullah Shakir, a key figure of the TTP, in Mirali town of North Waziristan has raised questions over how influential Hakimullah still is in the region.

“It was like a slap on the face for him. Nobody could have imagined such things here sometime back,” a tribal source commented on the murder, which is still unsolved.

A day after Haqqani’s announcement to split, a group of the Taliban from Khyber Agency attacked their counterparts from Orakzai in what appeared to be another sign of growing friction within the TTP and lack of a centralised and coordinated leadership.

“All these incidents are just the tip of the iceberg. There may be a series of challenges for him … you will see more of his boys turning against him and this is exactly what we desired and have been working on,” claimed an official, who deals with counter-terror operations in the tribal areas, while choosing to stay anonymous. His comments were verified by some of Hakimullah’s associates.

“It looks as though he is just a figurehead now. He can hardly communicate with his commanders in other parts of the tribal areas … he is in total isolation. Only a few people within the TTP know where he is,” said one of Hakimullah’s affiliates.

Although Pakistani military officials claimed credit for Hakimullah’s isolation, tribal sources said it was more likely due to fears of being hit by drones rather than anything else.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2011.

Reader Comments (24)

  • Mirza
    Jul 5, 2011 - 9:07AM

    TTP are just like their Pakistani brothers! No wonder the USA is planning to leave slowly. They know that after the USSR left, the Afghan mujahideen kept killing each other for decade. The same would happen after the US leaves. There is a hope for Pakistani civilians. These terrorists would be busy in settling old scored and fighting for territory that they would not think of killing Pakistani civilians. Recommend

  • irfan
    Jul 5, 2011 - 10:15AM

    hakim ulla,will have to face defeat,because the PAK army will not let him live,inshallah,soon his chapter will be closed permanentlyRecommend

  • usman
    Jul 5, 2011 - 10:25AM

    InshAllahRecommend

  • The patriot
    Jul 5, 2011 - 10:49AM

    INSHALLAH , like any other foolish thing this had to end and in a foolish way…..Recommend

  • kazi jawed akhter
    Jul 5, 2011 - 11:16AM

    Hakeemullah Masud,perhaps wanted to become Nepoleon,if so,he will have his waterloo one day.IshallahRecommend

  • Siraj Ahsan
    Jul 5, 2011 - 12:04PM

    Pak Army is for sure harbouring him. I dont believe he could have survived till now without their support.

    I wonder how blinded we have become…. We consider these thugs and tribal fighters and bandits as our religious leaders. Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Jul 5, 2011 - 1:10PM

    Pak military keeps on playing snake and ladder games with various terrorists organisations. Recommend

  • Adi
    Jul 5, 2011 - 3:02PM

    Pls refer to the last line…thats for all PTI, PML N and JI supportersRecommend

  • rameed
    Jul 5, 2011 - 3:13PM

    What’s the use of splitting the TTP when the Pakistani military won’t seize the moment to hit hard against this group and its splinter factions? Why become het-up about it? Splitting the TTP just means the proliferation of like-minded violent groups that may only slightly differ in tactics, but nevertheless still share the agenda of establishing a caliphate which enfroces a distorted and violent interpretation of Islam. This also means more of such groups for Pakistan to face. It would be a grave mistake if the government/military decides to once again forge deals with newly-created factions, instead of tackling them head-on. Of course, proxies and agents are too precious for the Pakistani Army to let go what with India and Afghanistan in the equation, and the promise of international aid continuously flowing to “save” Pakistan from terrorism. Recommend

  • Jul 5, 2011 - 4:03PM

    Mr Zia Khan.!
    First of all many congratulations,as you are no more a bachler.shadi mubarak ho.
    Secondly I disagree with you.
    You didn’t meet fazal saeed yet,nor Hakimullah,as you didn’t mention.
    You are as ignorant about the internal matters of TTP as ordinary people like us.
    I don’t think,you have some sources.
    You are just trying to make some people in establishment or americans happy.
    I think you should meet Hakimullah mehsud and fazal saeed personally,if possible.Inquir about their differences and then judge the weight of your article.
    Don’t follow Yellow journalism.Take such matters seriously.
    Be a professional.
    I don’t think you have ever been to waziristan.
    Suppose,it is true(you article),then this will be a good news for security establishment,(but they shouldnt sleep cònfortably,as a lot to be done yet).
    But if it is wrong,then you are giving them wrong informations.this may a tactic of TTP.
    So follow your case and give further informations.Whats efforts are being done to resolve their(TTP) differences,and how successful they are?
    But I dont think you can do this.
    Long Live Pakistan..Recommend

  • A
    Jul 5, 2011 - 4:43PM

    Pakistan Army is the only institution in the world which can fight the Taliban. As soon as the US leaves Afghanistan, the Taliban can be fought back to their roots.
    I really don’t care if they kill each other in Kabul. Just stay away from our border. Pakistan should build a wall and control the border like US does with Mexico…Recommend

  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Jul 5, 2011 - 6:33PM

    All terrorists groups operating from Pakistani soil are now in the phase of reorientation .There will be a paradigme shift in the war canvas where there could be a collaborative role of regional forces against the terrorists .Recommend

  • Mehsud
    Jul 5, 2011 - 6:47PM

    The story reflects that such information about any defunct group would be of security establishment. TTP either will loose the battle or will enjoy victory because they were involved in fighting on both sides of the border. As far as Hakimullah is concerned, if he will lead TTP or not in future but the arm struggle against the US and its allied forces in every nook and corner of the world would continue, according to the holy book,” the battle between Muslim and infidels will be continuing till the day of judgement”. now the main subject is to focus on our country and make it safe from all external and internal threats and this only possible that we should say good-bye to the Americans in the war on terror. As the US is trying of reconciliation with the Afghan Taliban we should also focus on doing so in order to save our country from further fight especially the army of Muslim country against its own Muslim. all of us should pray for the betterment of the country and also do something practical in this regard. we should also pray for change of leadership because the present government has destroyed every institution of the country by making it corrupt. God bless us with a true Muslim and pious leader. Recommend

  • Ali
    Jul 5, 2011 - 8:46PM

    @Dr SA Khan, I started reading your comment with interest thinking you might have some insight and experience in the tribal belt…but you turned out to be the same as you claim Zia Khan to be. Just stating your opinion without backing it up. You just said..oh Zia Khan you are wrong…that’s very convenient isn’t it..Recommend

  • Samir
    Jul 5, 2011 - 9:29PM

    All the idiots from PTI like Imran Khan and all their burger baby supporters including idiots like Zaid Hamid should read this article. The drone strikes work. All of these people are just terrorist sympathizers. Send them to live in FATA. Let them see how it feels to have your life ruined by these madmen on a daily basis.Recommend

  • billo
    Jul 5, 2011 - 10:14PM

    @Mirza: Lets remember that more civilians were killed in the Afghan civil war that during the entire 9 year long Soviet occupation. So hopefully it will not be the same result as that.Recommend

  • billo
    Jul 5, 2011 - 10:16PM

    @Dr SA Khan: yellow journalism is a problem in Pakistan. But as you show, so is yellow readership and yellow comments on news sites. Recommend

  • Jul 5, 2011 - 10:41PM

    There is a lack of follow up journalism in pakistan.
    Zia khan is a grown up journalist.
    I appreciate him,for becöming a leading journalist in a short period of time.
    We hope that he will follow these new developments(disintegration of TTP)
    I am waiting for his response regarding my comments.Recommend

  • Hammer
    Jul 5, 2011 - 10:48PM

    As far as I remember, The Army had claimed that he was killed in a drone strike Last year ? He is now suddenly back in the News again, I believe that his strategic use is over for the Marshalls and that he will be sacrificed to appease the “Farangi” Gods, and of course Pakistan Army will step in to claim the Trophy for a game they play never to win, Though getting rid of him is really not a bad idea, by whichever means.Recommend

  • Abrar
    Jul 6, 2011 - 12:12AM

    Mirza is dreaming big here, TTP is funded by outsiders its not like SSR Indian Hindu terrorist organisation who have the support of Indian govt and army. SSR is involved in massacring thousands of minorities in india. Recommend

  • pappu
    Jul 6, 2011 - 1:20AM

    May Allah turn them against each other, as ‘our’ experts miserably failed to weed them out – no matter what the reason is.Recommend

  • asma riaz
    Jul 6, 2011 - 10:44PM

    I believe that TTP is anti Pakistan and Pakistanis simply because they kill innocent people of my country! If there is defection in the ranks of the terrorist organisation, it is not due to some internal disagreements but most likely scenerio is a change in the strategic policy of America, hence it would fit the TTP to act as their masters take a new terror policy. Recommend

  • Jul 7, 2011 - 12:11PM

    @irfan: Brother my Salams to you. Recommend

  • Jul 7, 2011 - 12:27PM

    The Kashmir and Afghan imbroglio is one very, very long spaghetti piled up on a plate with mince and tomato sauce. One does not know the start from the end. The Pak Army and ISI should now jettison the ‘flotsam and jetsam’ and start bringing in peace on the borders.

    The USA should be told that with their wealth, education and technology nobody can harm them in their own territory. The few instances of militancy, which they say were carried out by Muslims, are nothing compared to instances of terrorism done at schools and supermarkets by their own citizens.

    As for the TTP, the tribal lashkars and disgruntled elements within itself will take them out. Also the ‘de-radicalization’ being carried out by the Pak Army is a good start at turning the tribal youth around. As for Hakimullah Mehsud, send him to the Express Tribune and the commenters will ‘de-radicalize’ him properly. Salams ET. Recommend

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