Pakistan militants threaten
revenge By Ihsanullah Tipu
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
or Pakistan Taliban, which unites the myriad
jihadi factions in the country's tribal region,
has threatened to launch attacks across the
country following the murder of a prominent
religious scholar in May. "Our fighters are ready
and desperately waiting for their turn to avenge
the brutal martyrdom of our sheikh," leading TTP
commander, Khalid Haqqani, vowed in a recently
Mualana Shiekh Naseeb, who
taught at Darul Uloom Haqqania, one of Pakistan's
largest religious seminaries, was abducted last
month. His brutally tortured body was recovered
days later on the outskirts of Peshawar. The
Pakistani Taliban immediately blamed domestic
intelligence agencies for his killing.
Last month, Pakistani Taliban mbush near
headquarters of North Waziristan, killed almost
two dozen Pakistani soldiers. Orchestrated by the
TTP and a Taliban faction led by North Waziristan
warlord Hafiz Gul Bahdur, the attack was believed
to have been launched in revenge for Khan's
murder. "The mujahideen used to seek advice and
religious decrees from Khan. He was a source of
guidance and was always very helpful," a North
Waziristan-based Taliban source told Asia Times
Ustad Ahmad Farooq, al-Qaeda's
chief of dawah (preaching of Islam) and
media for Pakistan, has also eulogized Khan in a
statement, saying his death was a great loss to
militant outfits in the region and vowing revenge.
The heightened threats comes amid
detiorating security in areas of the Mehsud tribe
in South Waziristan, with a rapid increase in
violent incidents in recent weeks. Last week, the
TTP distributed pamphlets threatening officials
from the government, non-governmental
organizations and from the Mehsud tribe with dire
consequences if they did not leave immediately.
"We are warning all people who have been living in
Mehsud-inhabited parts of South Waziristan in
different capacity to leave as a war is going on
over there," The pamphlet reads.
central spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told ATol that
the group has rejected new Pakistani Prime
Minister Raja Perviz Ashraf's demand that they
drop their weapons and stop challenging the writ
of the government. "Our weapons are our ornaments,
and we will fight till we kick incompetent people
out from Pakistan," Ehsan said.
Pakistani Taliban have suffered large losses in
the wake of successive military offensives across
the lawless tribal region. However, analysts
believe they still have the capacity to
orchestrate major attacks. While the militants
have retreated from major cities, in other areas
like Orakzai Agency and South Waziristan, they are
resisting security forces and consequently both
sides are still suffering casualties.
is quite obvious that the military has pushed back
the militants from the major towns of FATA [the
Federally Administered Tribal Areas] and Malakand.
Their command and control mechanism has been
ruthlessly disrupted but there are training camps,
leadership, splinter cells and suicide squads
still sitting unscathed across Pakistan", said
Nazar-u-Islam, a correspondent for Newsweek
TTP spokesman Ehsan has said
that the TTP will continue attacking the Pakistani
government and its security forces until the TTP's
version of Sharia law is implemented in the
country. "We want to free Pakistan from its
current slavery. For this purpose we have
sacrificed hundred of our mujahideen and will
continue to do so," He told ATol.
Referring to a June 21 skirmish between
security forces and militants in Laddha, South
Waziristan Agency, the TTP spokesman told media
outlets that his group had beheaded seven
Pakistani security personnel who were kidnapped
that day. "The TTP will soon release a video
footage of the slain soldiers" he said.
The Pakistan Army declared victory against
the TTP in South Waziristan Agency in early 2010
despite ground sources vigorously denying
government claims the area had been cleared of
TTP-affiliated militants. In recent months, the
intensity of attacks, including suicide attacks,
on security forces and government installations
has drastically declined.
relations between Pakistan and the United States
since last November, when US helicopters killed 24
Pakistani soldiers at a border post, are believed
to be behind the reduction in TTP attacks. The
militants have welcomed Islamabad's closure of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization supply route to
Afghanistan and the ordering of US forces out of
Shamsi air base in Baluchistan, the latter a
long-held demand of the TTP.
period, the Taliban has refrained from
indiscriminate attacks on security forces and
government installations. This recent spate of
violence by the TTP suggest the militants are now
focused on retaliatory attacks, not the random
assaults seen before the Salala border incident.
However, on Sunday an ambush by Taliban on
Pakistani security checkposts in the Barawal area
of Upper Dir district on Pakistan-Afghanistan
border region left at least six security personnel
killed and five others missing, according to
official sources. In retaliation by security
forces, 11 militants were killed.
According to security officials, an
intensive search operation is underway to find the
responsibility for the attack in a phone interview
with ATol, saying, "in the attack security forces
suffered heavy causalities. Our fighters also
seized a huge number of weapons and ammunition.
The mujahideen returned safely to their bases
without any loss. The government's figure of
militants killed is baseless propaganda."
A local security official told media that
dozens of militants attacked the checkposts in
Pak-Afghan region at around 6pm. The militants
came from across the border in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani government has expressed
serious grievances to Afghanistan over the attack,
Pakistani media reported. Interior Affairs
Minister Abdul Rehman Malik has contacted his
Afghan counterpart to submit a complaint over the
incident, saying Afghan authorities should prevent
militants crossing the border.
Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud is
Islamabad-based freelance investigative
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