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A Profile of Tehrik-I-Taliban

A Profile of Tehrik-I-Taliban



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Published by: Deod3 on Aug 04, 2009
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he organizational
,military strategy and leadershipquality o the Taliban in Pakistan’stribal territories has qualitativelyimproved during the last ew years. Atthe time o the U.S.-led military campaignin Aghanistan in late 2001, allies andsympathizers o the Taliban in Pakistanwere not identied as “Taliban” themselves.That reality is now a distant memory. Today,Pakistan’s indigenous Taliban are an eectiveghting orce and are engaging the Pakistanimilitary on one side and NATO orces on theother.The transition rom being Talibansupporters and sympathizers to becominga mainstream Taliban orce in the FederallyAdministered Tribal Areas (FATA)initiated when many small militant groupsoperating independently in the area startednetworking with one another. This sequenceo developments occurred while Pakistaniorces were spending the majority o theirresources inding “oreigners” in the arealinked to al-Qa`ida (roughly in the 2002-04period). Soon, many other local extremistgroups, which were banned in Pakistan,started joining the Taliban ranks in FATA—some as ollowers while others as partners.During this process, the Pakistani Talibannever really merged into the organizationalstructure o the Aghan Taliban underMullah Omar; instead, they developed adistinct identity. From their perspective,they intelligently created a space orthemselves in Pakistan by engaging inmilitary attacks while at other times cuttingdeals with the Pakistani government toestablish their autonomy in the area.
Bydeault, they were accepted as a legitimatevoice in at least two FATA agencies—SouthWaziristan and North Waziristan.During this process, the Pakistani Talibaneectively established themselves as analternative leadership to the traditionaltribal elders. By the time the Pakistanigovernment realized the changingdynamics and tried to resurrect the tribal jirga institution, it was too late. The Taliban
1 They began cutting deals with the government in2004.
A Profe o Tehrik-i-TaibanPakistan
By Haa Abba
eAture Article
1 A Profe o Tehrik-i-Taiban Pakistan
By Haa Abba
4 The Changing Face o Saaf-JihadiMovements in the United Kingdom
By Jam Bad
6 A-Qa`ida’s Extensive Use o theInternet
By Gab Wma
8 A-Qa`ida’s “MySpace”: TerroristRecruitment on the Internet
By eva . Khma
10 Combating Terrorism Through aCounter-Framing Strategy
By rb Wy
12 Partner or Spoier: The Case o theIsamic Army in Iraq
By paa cmb sg
14 The Chaenge o Isamist Miitancy inIndia
By pa saad
16 Recent Highights in Terrorist Activity20 CTC Sentine Sta & Contacts
. Vol 1 . issue 2
About the CTC Sentine
th cmbag tm c  add daa ad ah bad  h Dam  sas a h ud sa May Aadmy,W p. th ctc s hah c’ gba wk  ha ada  d  dad ad may ha d bym ad h m  a v.
th vw xd  h  a h  h ah ad   h u.s. May Aadmy,h Dam  h Amy,  ay h agy h u.s. Gvm.
coMBAtinG terrorisM center At West point
oBJectiVe . releVAnt . riGorous
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 reers 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-Taiban 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, thereore, 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 wasidentied 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 beneited rom governmentinvolvement since Islamabad has beenattempting to create rits between thedierent 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,”
Terrorism Monitor 
The Herald 
[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,”
Terrorism Monitor 
5:9 (2007).
services to gather support or the group.Such leaks are not uncommon. Nothing has been heard about this organization since.Less than two months ater thisannouncement, another group claiming to be Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan announcedits ormation. The December 14, 2007announcement was viewed suspiciouslyin terms o authenticity, since it ollowedater 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 Goas o the TTP
o 40 senior Taliban leadersestablished the TTP as an umbrellaorganization. Militant commander BaitullahMehsud was appointed as its
, MaulanaHaiz Gul Bahadur o North Waziristanas senior
naib amir 
(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. Enorce Shari`a, unite against NATOorces in Aghanistan and perorm“deensive 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. Reuse 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 Yusuzai, “Militants Seek End to MilitaryOperations,”
The News
, December 16, 2007.7 “Second Editorial: Tribal Areas Under CentralizedControl,”
 Daily Times
, December 16, 2007.
Bhutto’s death on December 27, 2007.
On January 4, 2008, however, TTP spokesmanGhazi Ahmed called journalists to inormthem 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 ater 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 let 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 oicially banned, and thegovernment maintains that “a decision tothis eect will come only ater 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 5,000ighters—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-Naaz-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,”
The News
, January 5, 2008; “Taliban Set 7-dayDeadline,”
The Nation
[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 Outt Faces Ban,”
 Daily Times
,December 21, 2007.
. Vol 1 . issue 2
TNSM, another banned terroristoutit, is led by Maulana Fazlullah andhad re-emerged in 2006. The group madeheadlines or taking control o largeareas in the Swat Valley o the NWFP.The army, ater a large operation in late2007, recaptured the district, but TNSMmilitants (numbering in the hundreds) arestill operating in parts o the district. TheTTP’s demand or halting governmentmilitary action in Swat appealed to TNSMmembers and will predictably lead tomore collaboration between the twogroups in terms o manpower, logisticsand intelligence. TNSM leader Fazlullahis known or the mobile FM radio stationsthat he managed until recently, on whichhe would broadcast his radical ideology.A TTP radio broadcast in the uture would be one potential sign o more cooperation between the two terrorist groups.The TTP’s denial about its involvement inBhutto’s murder has little ace value, butit is too early to reach any conclusion sincethe Pervez Musharra government may betrying to shit the blame and divert attentionrom its own ailure to provide adequatesecurity or Bhutto. The TTP’s involvementin the killings o nine tribesmen associatedwith pro-government leader Maulvi Naziron January 7 in South Waziristan, however,is near certain.
The Pakistani governmenthas also circulated a list to law enorcementagencies o about a dozen important Shi`apolitical leaders who, according to itsintelligence services, are on BaitullahMehsud’s hit list.
Brie Profes o TTP’s Senior leaders
Baitullah Mehsud—The 34-year-old warrior belongs to South Waziristan Agency andhails rom the Mehsud tribe. He did notattend schooling or religious madrasa.He shuns media and has reused to bephotographed, indicating that he stands bythe anatic Talibanized version o Islam. Hisworldview is evident rom his statement that“only jihad can bring peace to the world.”
 He came to prominence in February 2005when he signed a deal with the Pakistanigovernment that it termed as his surrender,although he interpreted it as a peace deal
14 Claude Salhani, “A Grim Year 2007 or Pakistan,”
 Middle East Times
, December 28, 2007.15 “Nine Aides o Maulvi Nazir Killed,”
 Daily Times
, January 8, 2008.16 Personal interview, Pakistani government ocial, January 5, 2008.17 Syed Shoaib Hasan, “Prole: Baitullah Mehsud,”BBC, December 28, 2007.
in the interests o the tribal regions as wellas Pakistan.
As part o the deal, he hadpledged not to provide any assistance to al-Qa`ida and other militants and not to launchoperations against government orces. Thedeal was short lived, and since 2006 hehas virtually established an independentzone in parts o South Waziristan Agency,which is widely believed to be a sanctuaryor al-Qa`ida and the Taliban. In privatediscussions, Pakistani oicials also blamethe United States or direct militaryoperations in FATA, leading to the collapseo some deals. Mehsud commands a orceo around 5,000 militants and has movedaggressively against Pakistan’s army inrecent months, especially when he capturedaround 250 army soldiers in August 2007.
 The soldiers were returned only when thegovernment released 25 militants associatedwith Mehsud.
 Maulana Haz Gul Bahadur—Belongingto North Waziristan Agency, he has beena member o the local Taliban
since2005. He was also a member o the three-man signatory team, representing NorthWaziristan tribes, that signed the well-known peace deal between the Pakistanigovernment and North Waziristan inSeptember 2006.
The deal collapsed in July 2007. Currently, some negotiations are being held again between the governmentand the agency, and Bahadur is involvedin these discussions. Bahadur in actrecently chaired the meeting o militantsthat extended an ongoing cease-ire until January 20, 2008.
It is noteworthythat on one hand he is part o the TTPleadership—which is openly challenging
18 Shamim Shahid, “Baitullah, Supporters, Lay DownArms,”
The Nation
, February 8, 2005.19 Amir Mir, “The Most Wanted Pakistani Talib,”
 Pakistan Post 
, December 10, 2007.20 Sami Yousazai and Ron Moreau, “Al Qaeda’s New-est Triggerman,”
, January 14, 2007.21 Rahimullah Yusuzai, “Peace Accord with Militants,”
The News
, September 14, 2006.22 “Five Killed in S Waziristan Clashes,”
The News
, January 9, 2008.
the government—while on the other hand isnegotiating with the government on behal o his home agency. It is possible that thegovernment is trying to create a wedge between the top leaders o the TTP—a smartmove i this is indeed the motivation.Maulana Faqir Muhammad—The relativelywell-proled 39-year-old Faqir Muhammad belongs to Mohmand tribe and is known asa acilitator or al-Qa`ida.
He is a residento Bajaur Agency, but was educated in theSalast tradition in various madrasas o theNWFP. This brought him closer to the Arabsoperating in the area, which also benetedhim nancially. This perhaps allows him toaord the personal security team that he isknown to have. He came into prominencein 2005 when government orces raidedhis house in search o some “high-value”al-Qa`ida operatives. He was a target o aU.S. missile attack in 2006, but he escapedunhurt. He also remained close to TNSM’sounder Maulana Su Muhammad, who iscurrently in jail.
O the 56 suicide bombings in Pakistanin 2007, 36 were against military relatedtargets, including two against the ISI;two against the army headquarters inRawalpindi; one aimed at the air orce inSargodha; and one directed at the acility o the Special Services Group (SSG) in Tarbela.For many o these attacks, the government blamed Baitullah Mehsud and his associates.This reveals the TTP’s potential now thatit has additional resources and geographicreach. This new organization in act isexpected to increase the capacity o militantorces in the area and exacerbate the politicalinstability that has gripped Pakistan inrecent months. This internal engagementalso perhaps largely accounts or the 40percent decline in insurgent attacks onNATO orces in the Pakistan-Aghanistan border areas.
The TTP, however, is bound toreocus on Aghanistan i and when its positionstrengthens in FATA and the NWFP.There are signs that the government is nowtargeting the TTP leadership, but it lacks thehuman intelligence required on the ground.Musharra’s waning support within thearmed orces also complicates the country’s“war on terrorism” strategy. There are many
23 Sohail Abdul Nasir, “Al-Zawahiri’s Pakistani Ally:Prole o Maulana Faqir Mohammed,”
Terrorism Moni-tor 
4:3 (2006).24 Jason Straziuso, “US: Aghan Border Attacks Drop40 pct.,”
, December 16, 2007.
. Vol 1 . issue 2
“The TTP, however,is bound to reocus onAghanistan i and whenits position strengthens inFATA and the NWFP.”

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