ISLAMABAD: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid and five other senior TTP leaders have declared allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Shahidullah Shahid announced the decision in a video posted online and sent to media persons in Pakistan and posted online. Taliban leaders from Orakzai, Kuram, Khyber agencies, Peshawar and Hangu district are among those who have parted ways with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and joined the IS.
Leaders who have joined the Islamic State include chief of TTP Orakzai tribal region Hafiz Sayed Khan, TTP Khyber Agency leader Gul Zaman, chief of TTP Peshawar Mufti Hasan, TTP head of Hangu Khalid Mansoor and chief of TTP Kurram agency.
“I declare allegiance to the Caliph of Muslims, Amirul Momineen Abu Bakar al Baghdadi al Qarshi al Hussaini. I will listen and follow his every instruction whatever the situation may have been. This allegiance is neither from the TTP or its leader Maulvi Fazlullah. This is only from me and five leaders,” Shahid said.
Shahid added that TTP Chief Mullah Fazlullah has supported the Islamic State but has not declared allegiance.
“I appeal to the Ameerul Momineen to accept my allegiance,” the former TTP leader stated, adding that on at least three occasions he has declared allegiance to the IS.
An Urdu translation of Shahid’s video message has also been emailed to the journalists. He said his real name is Abu Omar alias Al-Khorasani.
The TTP leader’s decision is a serious setback for the Taliban as it is now limited only to the Malakand Taliban.
The powerful Mehsud faction and the Taliban Mohmand agency have already parted ways with the TTP with the Mohmand Taliban forming TTP Jamaat-ul-Ahrar.
TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah has been involved in efforts to reconcile Taliban in recent weeks but his efforts have not produced results, at least two Taliban leaders told The Express Tribune.
Fazlullah also met Mehsud faction leader Khan Sayed alias Sajna recently to encourage him to rejoin the TTP, they said.
"As Sajna had publicly parted ways with the TTP it could take some more time to rejoin the group," a Taliban leader said, satisfied with Fazlullah’s efforts.