Switching loyalties: TTP chief in Bajaur and his deputy quit

Published: April 7, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Two senior leaders of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have resigned, the militant group’s spokesperson announced on Monday, without citing any reasons for their action.

Mohammad Khorasani said that Maulana Abu Bakr, the TTP’s Bajaur chief, and his deputy Qari Zahid have stepped down from their posts. The TTP Bajaur leaders are believed to have hideouts in Afghanistan’ Kunar province.

The TTP central council in Bajaur has elected Sheikh Gul Muhammad as the new leader for Bajaur and Dr Burhan as the deputy chief, the TTP spokesperson told the media using an Afghan mobile number.

Gul Muhammad is the younger brother of the former TTP deputy chief, Maulvi Faqir Muhammad who was arrested by the Afghan authorities in February 2013. Afghanistan had refused to hand him over to Pakistan after his arrest in the eastern Nangarhar province.

Although the TTP spokesman did not give reasons for the leaders’ resignation, sources close to Da’ish’s Pakistan wing leaders claimed that Abu Bakr had joined the ultra-extremist militant group from the Middle East that has wreaked havoc in Iraq and Syria.

Abu Bakr, who was appointed the group’s Bajaur chief by former TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud, had been detained by the Afghan Taliban but was freed later, the sources told The Express Tribune. He was suspected to be recruiting volunteers for Da’ish – also known as the Islamic State – on the Afghan side of the border.

These resignations also coincide with the Da’ish claim of attacking a security convoy in Orakzai tribal region. Three soldiers were killed in the attack on April 4.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2015. 

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