had killed approximately 200 o the tribalelders under charges o being Pakistani andAmerican spies.These developments explain the genesis o a new ormation: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan(TTP). The TTP reers to the Taliban“movement” in Pakistan that coalescedin December 2007 under the leadershipo Baitullah Mehsud—a wanted militantleader rom South Waziristan. This analysisdiscusses the origin, nature, capabilities andpotential o this organization.
Formation o Tehrik-i-Taiban Pakistan
The name “Tehrik-i-Taliban” had beenused prior to the latest December 14announcement. An organization with asimilar name emerged in FATA’s OrakzaiAgency in 1998.
Some reports also mentiona similar organization by the name o Tehrik-i-Tulaba (Movement o Students)also operating in Orakzai Agency that evenestablished an active Shari`a court.
Thename and idea, thereore, is not original.More recently, on October 23, a crediblenewspaper in Pakistan disclosed that vemilitant groups joined hands to set up anorganization named Tehrik-i-Taliban inMohmand Agency with a goal “to fush outgangs carrying out criminal activities in thename o Taliban.” Its spokesman, who wasidentied under the Arab name Abu NaumanAskari, even mentioned the ormation o a16-member
(consultative committee)to coordinate the activities o the groups.
The statement, however, sounded like aninitiative that beneited rom governmentinvolvement since Islamabad has beenattempting to create rits between thedierent Taliban and militant actions. Therise o Maulvi Nazir in 2007, or instance,was such an operation as he had receivedgovernment support in challenging Uzbekmilitants operating in South Waziristan.
Furthermore, the news was not carried byany other major newspaper in the country,indicating that no general press releasewas issued by the supposed new ormation.In this context, it is possible that it was aplanted story by Pakistan’s intelligence
2 Hassan Abbas, “The Black-Turbaned Brigade: TheRise o TNSM in Pakistan,”
[Karachi], February 1999.4 “Militants Form New Group,”
, October 23,2007.5 For details, see Hassan Abbas, “South Waziristan’sMaulvi Nazir: The New Face o the Taliban,”
services to gather support or the group.Such leaks are not uncommon. Nothing has been heard about this organization since.Less than two months ater thisannouncement, another group claiming to be Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan announcedits ormation. The December 14, 2007announcement was viewed suspiciouslyin terms o authenticity, since it ollowedater the October 23 announcement. It soon became clear, however, that the December14 announcement was unique and alarming.It showed that the authentic Taliban werequick to establish their ownership over thetitle “Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.”
Structure, Activities and Goas o the TTP
o 40 senior Taliban leadersestablished the TTP as an umbrellaorganization. Militant commander BaitullahMehsud was appointed as its
, MaulanaHaiz Gul Bahadur o North Waziristanas senior
(deputy) and MaulanaFaqir Muhammad o Bajaur Agency as thethird in command.
not only hasrepresentation rom all o FATA’s seventribal agencies, but also rom the settledNorth-West Frontier Province (NWFP)districts o Swat, Bannu, Tank, LakkiMarwat, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohistan, Bunerand Malakand. This reach demonstrates theTTP’s ambitions. Since its establishment,the TTP through its various
haveannounced the ollowing objectives andprinciples:1. Enorce Shari`a, unite against NATOorces in Aghanistan and perorm“deensive jihad against the Pakistanarmy.”
2. React strongly i military operations arenot stopped in Swat District and NorthWaziristan Agency.3. Demand the abolishment o all militarycheckpoints in the FATA area.4. Demand the release o Lal Masjid (RedMosque) Imam Abdul Aziz.5. Reuse uture peace deals with thegovernment o Pakistan.Initially, the TTP gave a 10 day deadline orthe government to stop military action inFATA and Swat District, but then extendedthe deadline in lieu o the country’smourning o ormer Prime Minister Benazir
6 Mushtaq Yusuzai, “Militants Seek End to MilitaryOperations,”
, December 16, 2007.7 “Second Editorial: Tribal Areas Under CentralizedControl,”
, December 16, 2007.
Bhutto’s death on December 27, 2007.
On January 4, 2008, however, TTP spokesmanGhazi Ahmed called journalists to inormthem that a one week extension o theultimatum would begin on January 5 andthreatened to attack the city o Peshawari their demands were not met.
The TTPwas also quick to deny their involvementin killing Bhutto ater the government o Pakistan claimed that her assassinationwas conducted by associates o BaitullahMehsud and even produced a transcript o Mehsud’s telephone conversation provinghis involvement.
Mehsud’s spokesman responded bymaintaining that the transcript was “adrama,” and that Bhutto’s death was a“tragedy” that had let Mehsud “shocked.”
A purported spokesman or Mehsud, MaulviOmar, later told Reuters: “Tribal peoplehave their own customs. We don’t strikewomen.”
This shows that the organizationhas a media cell, a public relations policyand is quite serious about its plans. ThePakistani government has been slow torespond to these developments as the TTPhas not yet been oicially banned, and thegovernment maintains that “a decision tothis eect will come only ater a thoroughexamination o all the aspects concerned.”
Although the TTP is young as anorganization, there is no dearth o operational capabilities at its disposal.Baitullah Mehsud already is an establishedleader—with the command o some 5,000ighters—and has been involved inmilitant activities or the last ew years inFATA and the adjacent areas. Many othermilitant groups seem anxious to join in.On December 23, 2007, or instance,ive soldiers and six civilians were killedin the Mingora area o the Swat Valleywhen a suicide bomber targeted anarmy convoy. Tehreek-e-Naaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) quickly claimedresponsibility or the attack on behal o the
8 Alamgir Bhettani, “Taliban Give Two Days or SwatPullout,”
, January 3, 2008.9 “Tehrik-i-Taliban Threatens Attacks in SettledAreas,”
, January 5, 2008; “Taliban Set 7-dayDeadline,”
[Lahore], January 5, 2008.10 “Transcript o Alleged al-Qaida Intercept,” ABCNews, December 28, 2007.11 “Mehsud Denies Killing Bhutto: Al-Qaida,” NDTV,December 29, 2007.12 Laura King, “Taliban Blamed or Attack on Bhutto,”
Los Angeles Times
, December 29, 2007.13 Azaz Syed, “Taliban Outt Faces Ban,”
,December 21, 2007.
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