TTP split in Kurram Agency: Taliban commander defects

Published: June 28, 2011
A Pakistani Taliban warlord who claims to control hundreds of foot soldiers said he had broken with the militia. PHOTO: FILE

A Pakistani Taliban warlord who claims to control hundreds of foot soldiers said he had broken with the militia. PHOTO: FILE


As the US prepares to get their feet off Afghan soil, the war theatre in Pakistan headed towards surprising twists with the Haqqani network seeking relocation to new strategic positions and the homegrown Taliban facing their first serious fracture in what appeared to be separate but coordinated manoeuvres.

A Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander of the Shia-dominated Kurram tribal region on Monday announced his separation from the main group in protest against bombings of mosques and civilians.

Fazl Saeed was appointed by TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud as the group’s leader for Kurram – one of seven tribal regions located at the centre of Pakistan’s border badlands with direct access to Haqqani’s stronghold of North Waziristan and Afghanistan.

Although Fazl told a media conference in Kurram his move was a result of a chronic disagreement with the TTP main leadership’s policies, it appeared to be supplementing Haqqani’s quest to seek new sanctuaries in the region from where penetration into Afghanistan is easier than from anywhere else.

Saeed, who commands an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 militants, said he was founding a new organisation called Tehreek-i-Taliban Islami.

It was unclear what inspired this ‘change of heart’ but some locals said he might have done this to avert Pakistani military plans to launch an operation in central Kurram. However, there is no confirmation.

The move came after several years of efforts by the Pakistani security establishment as well as the Haqqani network’s elders to broker a truce between warring Sunni – backed by the TTP – and Shia tribes.

A peace agreement was finally reached early this year but the TTP continued to kill and kidnap Shias to sabotage the deal, earning rage from Sirajuddin Haqqani who once warned Hakimullah against such attempts.

Locals, who frequently travel to the area, said that some of Haqqani’s men had already been shifted to lower parts of Kurram which have been relatively peaceful over the years.

With the TTP main leader turning against the group, there won’t be any challenge for the Haqqani network to get a firm foothold in Kurram.

A couple of strikes last week by US-operated predators  inside Kurram – for the first time during the five-year drone campaign – appeared to be suggesting that the Haqqanis might have been planning to take over the region for their fresh offensive in Afghanistan.

In recent months, there has been increasing American pressure on the Pakistani military to go all out against the network that policymakers in Washington term the “deadliest on the planet earth”.

The Pakistani security apparatus has so far been resisting the pressure but insiders have said the situation has almost reached its boiling point with Americans saying they are running out of patience.

Recent reports suggested the plan to move parts of the Haqqani network to Kurram and Afghanistan might have been a strategic move before the Pakistani military goes into North Waziristan for an eyewash sort of operation.

There is popular opinion in Pakistan that the country’s security establishment would never abandon the network of Afghan militants who have been standing firm with it all the way since jihad in the war-torn country started in the early ‘80s.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Jun 27, 2011 - 2:56PM

    Looks like RAW/CIA/MOSSAD is having a hard time getting there act together eh? Recommend

  • Jun 27, 2011 - 3:39PM

    Finally something sensible from these insensible people. Now turn towards AfghanistanRecommend

  • perviaz memon
    Jun 27, 2011 - 3:55PM

    i think he eat 100 rats and now he deiced for ” Haji ” . please do not call them friend or good they all are same so of ………….. Recommend

  • Aftab
    Jun 27, 2011 - 4:06PM

    I don’t believe in these people. When they will find some heavy response from forces in Afghanistan, their “Qibla” and “Islam” will change all-together.Recommend

  • Journalist...
    Jun 27, 2011 - 4:17PM


    Jun 27, 2011 - 4:36PM

    Another sabotage by CIA Recommend

  • AK
    Jun 27, 2011 - 5:06PM

    They should all just fight each other and kill each other off.Recommend

  • sachu
    Jun 27, 2011 - 5:27PM

    whole world laughs on pakistan taliban

    still pakistan give respect to them

    but they kill all in mosques,police,military

    and because of them america blame pakistan of terror
    why dont they leave pakistan and do whatever they want .

    on both sides pakistan is crying

    shame on them Recommend

  • Abhi
    Jun 27, 2011 - 5:44PM

    so he is good taliban now.Recommend

    Jun 27, 2011 - 5:50PM

    So the new TTP group joins good Taleban bandwagon, will have the patronage of the state and roam freely despite their pledge to enforce sharia law on Pakistan.Recommend

  • sachu
    Jun 27, 2011 - 6:22PM

    dont force any law on anybody

    *so enough of mindless violence.behave like a man not like beasts*Recommend

  • Reader
    Jun 27, 2011 - 6:46PM

    Took them 4500 innocent people to realize the needed to break up, and will it take another 4500 innocent people to realize they are wrong all together????Recommend

  • Javed
    Jun 27, 2011 - 7:24PM

    We are witnessing the birth of a new strategic asset. God help us!Recommend

  • Bangash
    Jun 27, 2011 - 7:26PM

    All Taliban are garbage.Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jun 27, 2011 - 8:39PM

    I wonder how many Pakistani civilians he has murdered before he saw the “light” – wonder how many Afghan civilians he has murdered and still plans on murdering? If this crud wants redemption then he should turn himself in and be judged by his victims. He should also inform the authorities of everything he knows about the crud he has been associating himself with.Recommend

  • Blithe
    Jun 27, 2011 - 8:49PM

    This is good news.

    Let’s make sure we have more such conversions.

    This not what US wants; but it is what Pakistan needs.Recommend

  • khauf.
    Jun 27, 2011 - 10:37PM

    Who can deny war agaisnt America… every pakistani in pakistan and around the world fight America somehow through different means… So this act is justified…Recommend

  • Jameel
    Jun 27, 2011 - 10:45PM

    “Islam does not allow killings of
    innocent civilians in suicide
    attacks,” he said, likening what TTP
    does in Pakistan to “what US troops
    are doing in Afghanistan” and vowing
    to continue the fight alone against
    the Americans.

    Even Taliban have figured this but Taliban Khan has not.Recommend

  • asma@london
    Jun 28, 2011 - 12:04AM

    He is a damn liar-he could have quit the organisation in the beginning, how pathetic and how dumb he is to realise NOW that Islam does not allow killing of innocent human beings!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He can fool some, but he cannot fool all the people all the time. Making a fool of himself only. My humble advise to this idiot would be to discard everything and spend the rest of his life praying for forgiveness from Allah for the gunnahe kabira of murdering innocent people.Recommend

  • Jun 28, 2011 - 6:41AM

    Hundreds of foot soldiers with outdated weapons openly declaring war on an actual army when they supposedly have just separated themselves from their backup and even stated the general area they were going to be working from, along with the existence of drones is something along the lines of a suicide attack in itself. Going out of his way to bring attention to himself and saying all of that is… well, its just stupid. He’s probably only been alive this long due to his connections and surroundings.Recommend

  • Jun 29, 2011 - 3:01AM

    Allah Bless Pakistan!Recommend

  • Jun 29, 2011 - 3:12AM

    Looks like a strategic asset of Mussad now…Recommend

  • Gul Bahadur
    Jun 29, 2011 - 1:48PM

    They are all fighting for the loot.Fazlesaeed is wanted by the govt of KP and his head money is 6 million.His relative,Mr Aurakzai is a sitting MNA from kurram.May be he is asked to change sides now after receiving 30 million rupees from the poor Turis who were recently released after paying the ransom money.No body is fighting for any cause.The main cause is money and in this loot of the nation every body is a partner.Recommend

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