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.