Evolution of militancy: Al Qaeda, Taliban grooming new leadership

Published: April 4, 2011
Heads delegating more authority to smaller cells to evade detection.

Heads delegating more authority to smaller cells to evade detection.


Al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups based in Pakistan’s tribal regions are grooming alternative leaderships and splitting their strength into small cells to confuse counter-terror agencies operating against them and survive in the face of sudden fatalities.

Intelligence officials in Islamabad and associates of such groups in South and North Waziristan agencies said these outfits, including Haqqani network, had been following this pattern for some time now and unusual changes were expected in months to come.

The network of Afghan Taliban led by Maulana Sirajuddin Haqqani, supposedly the strongest of al-Qaeda partners, might be promoting a new leader to undertake the group’s operational as well as organisational activities.

Badaruddin, one of several sons of Maulana Jalaluddin Haqqani, would now be introduced to the outside world as the network’s main operative, leading the group and spearheading its operations across Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

“He is up and coming… very soon he will be a household name in the world of terror,” said one official.

Jalal’s elder son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, has so far been leading the network his father established almost two decades ago to fight the communist regime in Afghanistan after the former Soviet Union withdrew forces from the country.

The network, comprising the Pakti clan of Afghan militants because of its base in Paktia and Paktika, has been operating from the North Waziristan tribal district of Pakistan after the US-led invasion uprooted the Taliban regime from Afghanistan.

This change of leadership, one of the group’s associates said, was a strategic move to make sure that there will not be any crisis if one leader got killed. But intelligence officials suspect another reason.

“It is to save him from the public exposure… they don’t feel safe after an intensified drone campaign against them by the US,” one official explained.

Sirajuddin, he added, was the real inspirational character in the network and a replacement for Jalaluddin and the groups wanted to have him anyway whether he led its operations or not.

Similarly, another al Qaeda affiliated group based in same region and led by veteran Kashmir militant leader Ilyas Kashmiri was also in the process of creating several small cells primarily to create confusion and also as a mechanism for the division of labour.

What was Harkat Jihadul Islami in the beginning was then converted to al Qaeda’s 313 brigade and now had been renamed as Lashkar-e-Zil, officials and local said.

Kashmiri, who was responsible for controlling an al Qaeda cell to plan and coordinate attacks on Western targets, had gone in virtual hiding now and all of the foreigners being trained by him have now been divided into small groups to work with different commanders.

“What used to be a cluster once (of white al Qaeda) is now a divided group of individuals operating independently,” a local said of all the Western affiliates of the terror network.

In South Waziristan also, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud had delegated most of his power to a Shura or council led by Sheikh Khalid, a militant commander belonging to Mardan.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Apr 4, 2011 - 8:55AM

    “I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.”

    Albert Einstein Recommend

  • Apr 4, 2011 - 8:57AM

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
    Albert Einstein Recommend

  • muhammad jibran
    Apr 4, 2011 - 10:53AM

    As long as our media,public,armed forces keep on defending the hatefilled ideology of these religious savages,their numbers will only grow.We can’t go on making excuses for these terrorists only because they are doing Allah’s work.
    What is wrong is wrong,no matter if the person saying it has a beard or is wearing a burka.Our scared,confused mentality of giving automatic respect to anyone with a beard of any woman in a burka allows these people to spread their poison while hiding behind religion.
    We have to challenge anyone spewing hatred of nonmuslims,anyone telling us how girls are by birth inferior to men,that they have to be kept locked up behind the chaar diwari,that the gay community has to be humiliated & attacked.The bearded/burka ones spew their venom & get away with it by reason of being thought of as religious.Recommend

  • shakeel irfan
    Apr 4, 2011 - 10:59AM

    we have to condemn what is wrong no matter if religious barbarians say it is right.
    All our mullahs scream that anyone who was born a muslim & then leaves islam has to have his head chopped off,this is plain barbarity & nothing else.
    When our public celebrates whenever a hindu or christian converts to islam ,why is there a call for an ex-muslim to be killed?? why such double standards & religious hypocrisy?

    Athiests & agnostics have as much of a right to a good life as do the religious savages,atleast athiests & agnostics don’t go around killing people to make them convert to your religion.Recommend

  • Apr 4, 2011 - 1:17PM

    On a lighter note, this just sounds like a line straight from a cheesy Bollywood film.Recommend

  • Apr 4, 2011 - 1:19PM

    “He is up and coming… very soon he
    will be a household name in the world
    of terror,” said one official”

    On a lighter note, this just sounds like a line straight from a Bollywood film.Recommend

  • Anoop
    Apr 4, 2011 - 5:35PM

    The ISI has taught the Monster it created well. Too well, infact: The Monster is hunting the hand that fed it!

    I would sympathize if Pakistan were a country which hasn’t supported Terror against other states, but this is not so. You reap what you sow!Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 4, 2011 - 8:38PM

    LOL !!!! Firstly which intellligence agencies are we refering to?? ISI or CIA !!! Also which associates of these are we refering to ??
    We all know who created and supported these Jihadi groups and sponsored them too, for their own selfish purposes !!!!
    If ISI is suggesting the above mentioned event, then perhaps they have another agenda of claiming their efforts are costing them more with view to Uncle Sam coughing up more $$$$ to them!!!
    Love to know about associates thou, as these may be other raymond davis characters working on their own basis too !!!!!!!!!!! Recommend

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