Change of command: Maulvi Halim replaces Gul Bahadur as Waziristan Taliban chief

Published: August 15, 2014
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TTP and Afghan Taliban back the decision taken by the group’s shura. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

TTP and Afghan Taliban back the decision taken by the group’s shura. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

PESHAWAR: 

Maulvi Halim Khan has replaced powerful militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar as the chief of Shura Mujahideen North Waziristan, where the military has been conducting a massive operation, The Express Tribune has learnt from reliable sources.

According to the sources, the decision, taken in a meeting of the group’s Shura, has been supported by both the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Afghan Taliban, though none of them has issued a formal statement to declare support for Maulvi Halim Khan.

Hafiz Gul Bahadar had signed a peace agreement with the government on September 2006. However, he pulled out of the deal on May 26, 2014, asking tribesmen in North Waziristan Agency to vacate homes and shift to safer places. He had also requested the tribesmen not to seek shelter in the government’s camps for displaced persons and instead relocate to Afghanistan.

When Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched in North Waziristan on June 15, Hafiz Gul Bahadar and his aides went underground. While his group has not been banned by the government, it has maintained a close alliance with the TTP.

Moreover, the group has close links with the Haqqani Network, a deadly faction of the Afghan Taliban blamed for several high-profile attacks on US-led foreign forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Maulvi Halim Khan belongs to Khushhali Torikhel, a village on the outskirts of Mirali Town of North Waziristan. And his ascension has been billed as a positive development as he enjoyed cordial relations with government functionaries before the military offensive was launched.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Aug 15, 2014 - 9:35AM

    One is aghast at their propensity to violence and backtracking. Whether they backed out or not is not the question here, keeping an eagle’s eye on them is what the Pak Army is doing. However the reason for the change has not been mentioned. Salams

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  • salman
    Aug 15, 2014 - 9:48AM

    Talibans panicking ? Looks like their commanders are at odds with each other.

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  • sk
    Aug 15, 2014 - 10:26AM

    Halim Khan knows Ajit Doval. Those who don’t know what that means, do your research.

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  • Timorlane
    Aug 15, 2014 - 10:47AM

    Kill em all. They are incurable.

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  • DarkJustice
    Aug 15, 2014 - 11:27AM

    Ohhh Dear talibans,,, Donot fight in this manner,, Just Get together and have long march,, By long march you can subvert constitution,,, And can take charge of Capital…!!

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  • Moiz Omar
    Aug 15, 2014 - 12:15PM

    Kill them all.

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  • Prognosticator
    Aug 15, 2014 - 12:40PM

    @sk: Of course he does. Right now it is reported that he is building bridges with the Afghan Taliban too. Two can play the same game. I think he has learned something from the world’s best intelligence agency.

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  • Parvez
    Aug 15, 2014 - 1:03PM

    If they are changing around their head….it means that the our army is being effective.

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  • Rex Minor
    Aug 15, 2014 - 2:35PM

    @Parvez:
    An eye for an eye and not more is the culture and the religion of the Pakhtuns; Pakistan military brass precaution to take refuge in cantonments, back to colonial days is the right decision.

    Rex Minor

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  • Aug 15, 2014 - 7:51PM

    The fact remains that terrorism has been rejected by the masses in strongest of terms and the overwhelming support of the military operation against the terrorists is an open proof of that. Changing leadership is of no consequence unless change in attitude is adopted. Time is ripe for them to renounce the ideology of violence and join the mainstream to bring about the desired peace in the region. People of the region have suffered enough; they do not need a new Taliban leader but a new resolve for peace and prosperity. We stand united with the people of the region in their quest for peace.

    Abdul Quddus
    DET – U.S. Central Command

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