As the military leadership tightens the screws around militant groups, two militant groups on Thursday joined hands with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Lashkar-e-Islam, a militant organisation led by warlord Mangal Bagh, and TTP splinter group Jamaatul Ahrar led by Omar Khalid Khorasani, “united and re-formed the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan,” The Long War Journal reported.
The announcement of the re-unification of the factions and their merger with Lashkar-e-Islam was announced by Jamaatul Ahrar spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan.
The decision regarding the reunification of the outlawed militant group came after the three leaders, Khorasani, Fazlullah, and Mangal Bagh, met for “a joint consultative meeting,” according to Ehsan.
The location of their meeting was not disclosed.
The reunification of Taliban points to the fact that the leadership disputes between the groups, which arose after Fazlullah took control of the group in the wake of Hakeemullah Mehsud’s death in a drone strike in November 2013, have been partially healed.
It is still not clear whether the Mehsud factions, led by Sajna and Sheheryar Mehsud, are also in consultation with the leadership to join the TTP.
The announcement comes as the Islamic State is making inroads in Pakistan and Afghanistan. For the first time on February 25, the Foreign Office said the militant group poses a threat to the country.
“The government is on alert to the IS threat in the region,” Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in Islamabad at Parliament on Monday.