ISLAMABAD: With security forces targeting hideouts of Lashkar-e-Islam in Khyber Agency, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Maulvi Fazalullah on Sunday announced his group will cooperate with the banned outfit.
Fazalullah, who security officials say operates from the Afghan side of the border, instructed his fighters to join Lashkar-e-Islam.
“Some of the TTP fighters have already been dispatched to Khyber Agency and others should wait for further instructions. They should arm themselves and start physical and spiritual preparations,” said Fazalullah who once headed the TTP in Swat valley.
Fazalullah escaped military offensive in Swat in 2009 and later appeared in a video recorded in Afghanistan. He has since reorganised fighters in Afghanistan’s border regions and routinely launched attacks on Pakistani forces.
The TTP chief also announced the appointment of Commander Mansoor Mohmand as new chief of TTP in Mohmand Agency.
Mohmand replaces Omar Khalid Khurasani, who had formed the splinter group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar in August with some other members including Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former TTP spokesperson.
“The TTP’s Rehbari Shoora (Supreme Council) has decided to appoint Commander Mansoor Mohmand as the permanent in-charge of the TTP Mohmand Agency,” Fazalullah said in a Pashto-language audio message. The message was emailed to the media.
TTP spokesperson Muhammad Khurasani did not provide any details about the new Mohmand Agency chief.
“All mujahideen in association with TTP are obliged to wage war under the command of Respected Commander Mansoor Mohmand in the region of Mohmand Agency,” the TTP spokesperson said in a statement emailed to the media.
The TTP leadership is in the process of new appointments after some leaders, including the group’s spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid and Orakzai tribal region leader Hafiz Sayed Khan, joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS.
Shahid and Sayed Khan’s decision to part ways with TTP last month was seen as a serious setback for the banned outfit at a time when the group is under attack by security forces in North Waziristan.
The TTP spokesperson, however, claimed that the new appointments will overcome the crisis and more people would join the TTP.