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TTP splits in Kurram Agency
Split due to TTP suicide, mosque bombings
By Zahir Shah
KURRAM AGENCY – The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) recently suffered another setback when its Kurram Agency chapter split into two. The Kurram Agency amir, Maulana Fazl e Saeed Haqqani, bolted from the TTP and formed his own group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Islami Pakistan.
“We have no association with the TTP now as it is endorsing suicide bombings in mosques and killing of innocent people, which cannot be justified according to Islamic injunctions,” Haqqani, 39, told Central Asia Online by telephone from an undisclosed location.
“Suicide bombings in mosques, seminaries, worship places and the killing of innocents is un-Islamic, and the Islami Taliban cannot tolerate these atrocities,” Haqqani said. “We had repeatedly asked the TTP to stop such acts, ... but they never listened.”
Haqqani is from Uchat Village, near Baggan Town, Lower Kurram Agency, and is a graduate of Madrassa Haqqania Akora Khattak, headed by Maulana Samiul Haq.
The madrassa, in Nowshera District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, supplied numerous mujahideen who fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
“The only reason we are parting ways is the TTP policies,” he said. “(We) will have no association with the TTP and its activities; instead, we would be opposed to them.”
Haqqani did not say whether his group would accept the government's writ in Kurram and lay down its arms to achieve peace.
This is not the first rift within the Hakimullah Mehsud-led TTP. It suffered a self-inflicted blow recently in Orakzai Agency when it ousted another commander, Maulvi Nabbi, for his pro-government stance, as acknowledged by TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan.
The internecine feuding led to the deaths of at least 15 militants in a clash between Maulvi Nabbi’s loyalists and the Maulvi Noor Jamal (alias Toofan)-led TTP faction in Saiful Dara, Upper Orakzai, June 25.
The TTP has been struggling to regain its cohesion for some time. Air strikes in Waziristan killed founder Baitullah Mehsud and suicide bomber trainer Qari Hussain in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Ever since Hakimullah Mehsud’s ascension, the Dara Adamkhel and Mohmand Agency Taliban chapters, led respectively by Tariq Afridi and Umer Khalid, have been operating independently though they have not dissociated themselves from the TTP, said Brig. (ret.) Mehmood Shah, former security chief of the tribal areas.
Meanwhile, the Swat TTP under Mullah Fazlullah is on the run, with most of its leaders captured or killed, he said, adding that the remaining leaders have taken refuge in Afghanistan’s Nuristan and Kunar provinces and have little ability to act in Pakistan.
Factional feuding in Kurram and Orakzai helps security forces hunt down the remaining militants, but they remain capable of hit-and-run attacks and suicide bombings, Shah said.