A splinter group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said on Saturday that the American decision to add its leader to its list of global terrorists has “validated our jihad against infidels.”
The US State Department designated Khan Said, head of TTP’s Mehsud faction, as a specially designated global terrorist on October 21 for his involvement in a series of attacks in Pakistan.
“The State Department decision is recognition of our jihad against Jews and Christians. We also thank Allah Almighty that infidels are offering bounty for our leaders,” the spokesperson for TTP Mehsud faction, Azam Tariq, said in an audio message to the media.
The Mehsud faction, led by Sajna, split from the TTP in May 2014 after bloody factional fighting that Taliban sources say claimed 200 lives within a few months.
The State Department says Sajna became deputy leader of the TTP following the death of Waliur Rehman in May 2013. “He has had experience fighting in Afghanistan, is believed to be involved in the attack on a naval base in Karachi, Pakistan, and is also credited with masterminding a 2012 jailbreak in which the Taliban freed 400 inmates in Bannu, Pakistan,” says a statement posted online.
Azam Tariq claimed the Mehsud faction had no differences with TTP chief Mullah Fazalullah but “they have their own organisation and we have our own.”
He also said that the Mehsud faction owes allegiance to Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of Afghan Taliban, and would not switch loyalties to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). “We are the followers of Ameer-ul-Momineen Mullah Muhammad Omar and we do not have any links with others,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2014.