Waliur Rehman: From madrassa teacher to Taliban commander

Published: May 30, 2013
Waliur Rehman Mehsud, 40, was a member of Malkhel tribe. PHOTO: AFP

Waliur Rehman Mehsud, 40, was a member of Malkhel tribe. PHOTO: AFP


Waliur Rehman Mehsud, 40, was a member of Malkhel tribe, a sub-clan of the Mehsuds inhibiting Sarokai Manzai area of South Waziristan. He received his early education from a madrassa in Tank district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and then went to Faisalabad district of Punjab where he studied at the Jamia Imdadia seminary.

After a teaching stint at Karama madrassa, in South Waziristan, he joined the Haqqani network – the deadliest of all Afghan Taliban factions. Later when the TTP was founded in 2008, he joined the group and became the spokesperson of its head honcho, Baitullah Mehsud. Among militant circles he’s known as Mufti Waliur Rehman. He is the eldest of six siblings, had three wives and two daughters.

The death of Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone strike in 2009 led to a tug of war between Waliur Rehman and Hakimullah Mehsud.

On August 9, 2009, media reported that Waliur Rehman shot and injured Hakimullah during a Taliban Shura meeting which was to pick Baitullah’s successor. However, the pair appeared together in a video to quash reports of a schism within the TTP. Subsequently, Hakimullah was picked as Baitullah’s successor, while Waliur Rehman was assigned the group’s command in South Waziristan Agency.

In 2009, when the security forces launched an operation, codenamed Reh-e-Nejat, most TTP militants fled South Waziristan – but Waliur Rehman preferred to remain in Wana sub-division, where the Mullah Nazir group of Taliban held sway. The Mullah Nazir group is allied with Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who plays hosts to the Haqqani network in North Waziristan.

After the November 29, 2012 suicide attack on Mullah Nazir, the 120-member Wana Aman Committee ordered TTP militants to leave Wana. Subsequently, Waliur Rehman and his fighters shifted to North Waziristan. Waliur Rehman escaped a suicide attack in the Mir Ali area.

Sources say that the rift between Hakimullah and Waliur Rehman persisted despite their appearance in a video together. He was thought to be at odds with Hakimullah on the issue of attacks against Pakistani security forces.

A senior military official said it was possible that key intelligence about the whereabouts of Waliur Rehman had been provided by people loyal to Hakimullah.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Wasim
    May 30, 2013 - 10:01AM

    Ha ha, if the drone takes hakimullah next they can stay!


  • Maher
    May 30, 2013 - 10:21AM

    Mashallah, ET is remembering Waliur Rehman Mehsud and highlighting his works as if he was a GOLD MEDALIST FROM HARVARD ..


  • ali ahmed
    May 30, 2013 - 11:06AM

    the link of TTP goes to punjab


  • Murthy
    May 30, 2013 - 11:25AM

    Islaam is claimed to be a ‘a religion for peace’. What kind of student and later on a teacher at a madrasa was this man? It is this contradiction that make people all over the world sceptical about Islam.


  • syed baqar ahsan
    May 30, 2013 - 11:35AM

    In this battle all will die this side or any other side,better stop talk through barrel


  • Fahim
    May 30, 2013 - 11:46AM

    These terrorists are not result of drone strike, they are terrorists due to madaris like Jamia Imdadia


  • Ghalib
    May 30, 2013 - 11:56AM

    what about innocent kids, women and men killed by drones?


  • skhan
    May 30, 2013 - 12:13PM

    Taliban is a Taliban no matter how moderate, still a Terrorist, responsible for thousands of innocent lives!! Kill the top ones and the rest will walk in for negotiation uninvited!


  • Parvez
    May 30, 2013 - 12:39PM

    ………..and the coward in us still ignores the root of our problem and that is the extremist madrassas.


  • Ayesha Bhaalay
    May 30, 2013 - 12:58PM

    What about kids, women killed in blasts by TTP? I’m ok with drones as long as Taliban as cleaned up from this region. (with hopes that collateral damage is minimized!)


  • Mj
    May 30, 2013 - 1:18PM


    I think every sane person realizes that there is a huge problem with a large percentage of madrassas, but probably fear the very violent reaction from the ‘students’ that may result from a cleanup attempt.


  • KJS
    May 30, 2013 - 1:24PM

    This news article should come as an eye opener to all those who like to differentiate between Afghan Taliban and TTP or good and bad Taliban. They all are chips of the same block. See how they accommodate each other and switch sides from one group to another.


  • ali
    May 30, 2013 - 1:48PM

    People must not give refuge to terrorist…………If they treat them as guests then they are bound to get killed in crossfire……….


  • Optimistic
    May 30, 2013 - 2:27PM

    Pakistan was approaching Taliban for a dialogue and things are going towards peaceful talks.

    But now; as US drone strike kills their commander they would NOT go ahead with peace talks and will blow up Pakistan.

    Why don’t our Innocent people understand this bitter truth; that it is us who have to stop this war and not the USA?


  • Omar
    May 30, 2013 - 2:38PM

    Now peaceful dialogue will not go ahead with Taliban and things will become worse. Thank you america!


  • Rustam
    May 30, 2013 - 4:18PM

    Taliban killed more than 50000 Pakistanis. How much did drones killed? And considering the fact that more than half of drone victims (if you can call them “victims”) were either Al Qaeda or Taliban.


  • RAW is WAR
    May 30, 2013 - 4:25PM

    madrassa teacher and Taliban commander One and the same.


  • My Veiws
    May 30, 2013 - 5:19PM

    Do we really know that Taliban killed these number of people, you quoted?


  • My Veiws
    May 30, 2013 - 5:24PM

    @RAW is WAR:
    Is it True? You have any solution?

    And what about the teachers of our so called modern schools? who are teaching nudity to the students?


  • Zalmai
    May 30, 2013 - 6:30PM

    George Bush said we are going to smoke them out of their caves and they are being smoked out by lethal drones. I wonder when the likes of Imran Khan, Fazlur Rahman, Sami ul Haq and Nawaz Sharif realize that these terrorists they reared and trained to terrorize India and Afghanistan are now terrorizing Pakistan and they are heathens not Muslims.


  • kaalchakra
    May 30, 2013 - 7:15PM

    What an inspirational story. An ordinary man touched by the light of Allah rises to heights and becomes extraordinary – a seeker of justice and an implementer of the Law.


  • May 30, 2013 - 9:11PM

    @My Veiws:

    To take issue with the statement of madrassa teacher and extremist being one and the same is one thing, but to make the most ridiculous and stupid comparison of the widespread problem of the propagation of justifying hate and violence in seminaries to the non-existent problem of ‘nudity’ in modern schools, except in the ‘view’ of someone who fantasizes seeing nudity everywhere in conservative Pakistan, just highlights the crisis of backward and twisted conservative mindset.

    Not surprising that you are in denial of the most obvious facts such as thousands of people killed and documented in attacks committed by the Taliban for over a decade, who have had no issue or shame in taking credit for it publicly.


  • steel
    May 30, 2013 - 11:32PM

    @My Views
    Yes. You are righr. Nudity and madrassa make people blow things off.
    Just that nudity doesn’t kill people.


  • b
    May 31, 2013 - 12:45AM

    The title itself explains where the terrorists are based in Pakistan. Are they funded by CIA/RAW/MOSSAD?


  • My Veiws
    May 31, 2013 - 3:13PM

    No Mr./Ms Steel, you are wrong again. Media dominated people always talk the way you are talking.


  • May 31, 2013 - 8:24PM

    There is no difference between Afghan Taliban and Pakistan Taliban, one is cobra and the other is viper. There is a phrase that ‘the man who lives by sword will die of the sword’. The drones are doing enormous help to Pakistan people and the army. Nobody will buy the story that they are violating our sovereignty and no need for chest beating.


  • gp65
    Jun 6, 2013 - 4:00AM

    @Omar: “Now peaceful dialogue will not go ahead with Taliban and things will become worse. Thank you america!”

    So had TTP declared ceasefire preparatory to peace? No. Why then should they themselves not expect to be targetted?

    @My Veiws: “And what about the teachers of our so called modern schools? who are teaching nudity to the students?”

    Really? teachers teaching nudity? In Pakistan, the land where a museum curator can be accused of fayyashi and beaten up by police in a city like Lahore? .Recommend

  • gp65
    Jun 6, 2013 - 4:04AM

    @My Veiws: “@Rustam:
    Do we really know that Taliban killed these number of people, you quoted?

    YEs because they took responsibility for the killings.


  • wasim
    Jun 12, 2013 - 12:35PM

    @Rustam: for your kind information dont you consider those killed in drones pakistani..??????????


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