Allegiance to IS: TTP disowns its spokesperson

Last week Shahidullah Shahid along five other top commanders had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State

Our Correspondent October 21, 2014

PESHAWAR: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Tuesday disowned its spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid along with five other top commanders a week after they pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), or Da’ish, which has rapidly gained strength in large swathes of Syria and Iraq.

Although the TTP did not give any specific reason for disowning its one time active spokesperson, it is widely believed that he was removed after announcing his allegiance to IS and claiming responsibility for the recent attacks on security forces check post in the border area of Bajur Agency.

In a video message issued to the media last week, Shahid had claimed that TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah was also supporting IS, though he hasn’t yet decided to join the group. So far neither Fazlullah nor any other top leader of the TTP have issued any official reaction to Shahid’s statement.

Since the assassination of its former chief Hakimullah Mehsud in US Drone attack in November last year, the group has splintered.

Earlier another faction of the TTP, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which is headed by Abdul Wali Mohmand, aka Khalid Khorasani, had offered to mediate between al Qaeda and IS as both the groups have been striving for what he called establishment of an Islamic caliphate throughout the world.

In mid September 2014, a TTP faction headed by Sheheryar Mehsud disassociated itself from group chief Mullah Fazlullah.

In a statement, a spokesperson of the faction denounced terrorist attacks against the government. The separation indicates strong disagreement between TTP leaders and Mullah Fazlullah, who was made TTP chief after the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike in 2013.

Earlier, TTP Sajna and TTP Punjab had ended association with the umbrella group, while TTP Mohmand had established itself as TTP Ahrar.

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US CENTCOM | 6 years ago | Reply

If we let go of conspiracy theories and start making our judgments on facts, then it’s quite easy to see that the terrorists’ criminal objectives are forcing them into a power struggle. Our failure to see the picture clearly, and to now use their dispute to our advantage, could be seen as failing to capitalize on an opportunity. The fact of the matter is whether these terrorists side with ISIL or Mullah Omar - the threat of terrorism still remains high. It doesn’t change the fact these terrorists remain focused on spreading fear, chaos and mayhem through their terrorist activities. At the end of the day, it is important for us to remain unified in regards to our shared peace objectives and negate the common threat of terrorism through shared cooperation.

Ali Khan Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOM

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