New threat: Swat Taliban regrouping in Mohmand Agency

Qari Abdul Jabbar, a militant from Timergara, may be the new face of militancy in Swat.

Zia Khan December 09, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Taliban ousted from Swat by a military offensive last year are regrouping in Mohmand tribal region to launch guerilla warfare in the valley next summer, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Qari Abdul Jabbar, a militant from Timergara area of Lower Dir, may be the new face of militancy in Swat and adjoining districts to replace their runaway commander Maulvi Fazlullah, intelligence officials and Taliban associates from Mohmand said.

Abdul Jabbar, distinct from his namesake Maulvi Abdul Jabbar of a breakaway faction of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), is said to be in late 20s or early 30s.

Hitherto little known Qari is leading in Mohmand, one of the seven troubled tribal areas, a small group of around 300 to 400 militants chased out of Swat by the military in an operation between April and July of 2009.

But intelligence officials and locals in Swat and Dir districts said the group was growing both in number of its associates and influence.

“It is not worrying at the moment…doesn’t pose any serious challenge. But it can be another headache for Pakistani anti-terror agencies if it keeps on getting bigger,” one official commented. He did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

In Timergara, locals said they had heard about Qari Jabbar visiting the area with his lieutenants some time ago.

Pakistani security forces have been fighting the Taliban led by commander Omar Khalid (Abdul Wali) in Mohmand, but some pockets of resistance continue to be a source of worry.

On Monday, a twin suicide bombing attack in Ghalanai area of the agency, which killed 43 people, targeted a tribal lashkar and pro-government tribal elders. A Taliban spokesperson had claimed responsibility for the attack.

It is not clear whether Qari will raise a separate militant group from within the Swat Taliban or actually replace Maulvi Fazlullah, (Mullah Radio), who once led the insurgency in the valley but fled after the operation.

Fazlullah was once spotted in Afghan eastern provinces of Nuristan and Kunar, but according to some reports he is back in Pakistan and might be either in North Waziristan or Orakzai Agency.

Intelligence officials said resurgent Taliban will not be able to regain control of the upper parts of Swat from the military, but are likely to restrict their fight to hit-and-run tactic, an ideal guerilla warfare approach.

Officials said there had already been some skirmishes between the security forces and Taliban in some parts of the valley recently.

In most cases, militants came from outside Swat. “We are getting ready for the same thing happening in the future,” one official said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2010.

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Maria | 10 years ago | Reply I don't for a moment believe that these criminals in the Taleban will ever be so audacious since their back has been broken. It's not just that they are confined to the nebulous border region with Afghanistan. It is also because the public does not fear them like before. More importantly, they are despised in every corner of Pakistan except by a very small minority who refuse to see them for the danger they are. I give the Pakistan military full credit for flushing them out of Swat, Dir and other areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Taleban are not working in Pakistan's interests but for the enemies of Pakistan by trying to destabilize the region. I believe that the Pakistani military understands this but they needed a stronger mandate from the Pakistani public to do what needed to be done. I don't for a moment believe the phoney pictures made by anti state enemies purporting to show the military hurting civilians. Ask any civilian and they shower the military with praise for being liberators. Rather than blame the Pakistani military for unfortunate collateral damage, anti state detractors would do better to stop their support of terrorism in Pakistan. Even Wikileaks has shown that our neighbouring states have been interfering in these regions to instigate trouble. The Pakistan military should continue to give criminals the retribution they deserve. I am glad that the Pakistani public sees the games of our enemies and supports the military in flushing out the criminals. Otherwise the civilians in these areas would not be cheering on the Pakistani military like my own relations in Swat and Malakand. They are proud of the Pakistani military and their commitment to the nation.
Fazal ur Rehman Afridi | 10 years ago | Reply I think we cannot remove this rubbish from our soil until Pakistan Army stop supporting these Taliban. The Military-Mullah alliance has damaged the country so much that it is on the brink of collapse. In almost all operations since 2004, the Military gave a safe passage to Taliban to avoid direct conflict with them, as Taliban are still considered a strategic asset rather than an enemy. Rather innocent civilians are killed in these operations through reckless use of long-range artillery, helicopter gunships and even bomber jets, which is against International Human rights and Humanitarian laws, for which the top brass of Pakistan Army can be held accountable before the International Criminal Court. The videos released by Newyork Times, showing Pakistani Military men killing innocent civilians with their hands tied back, reminds me the genocide of Bosnians by Chetnik Serb forces in Srebrenica in the war of independence of Bosnia & Herzegovina 1992-95. Is Pakistan Army different from Chetnik Serbs who killed innocent Muslims? Are we heading towards balkanisation of Pakistan?
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