Pakistan’s dreaded Taliban splits

PESHAWAR: In a significant development of far reaching consequences, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the major outlaw group fighting the Pakistani state, split Wednesday with the Mehsud faction announcing its separation from the umbrella group.

The Mehsud tribesmen make up 70% of the local population in South Waziristan.

Spokesperson of the group Azam Tariq, who was also a part of the Taliban shura, announced during a press conference from an undisclosed location that the Mehsud group – under the leadership of Ameer Khalid Mehsud – had decided to break away from the TTP, Express News reported.

Unhappy with the central leadership of TTP, Tariq claimed that the decision to split was taken after careful consideration.

Tariq claimed that TTP have fallen in the hands of conspirators and been involved in burglaries and extortion.

“We tried our best to stay united but failed,” he said, adding that the central leadership was being controlled by hidden forces.

Vowing to stop oppressors from doing wrong, Tariq said his group will call a meeting and decide their future course of action.

Explaining what this separation means, government negotiator Rustam Shah Mohmand told Express News that Mehsud tribe had been heading the militant group since its beginning and it was not happy with Maulvi Fazlullah becoming the new chief.

“Since Mehsud tribe had suffered the most in this decade-long insurgency, it believes the leadership should stay with them,” Mohmand said, adding that the tribe also felt thousands of its members had lost their lives and been displaced from their hometowns and so the bloodshed should end.

“Mehsud tribe wants to make a deal with the government and live peacefully in order to protect the remaining members of the tribe and this created rift within the TTP,” Mohmand said.

The government negotiator added that time will tell if all Mehsuds will part ways with the TTP. He, however, said there is a chance more splinter groups will disassociate itself.

Experts view the split a good news for Pakistan, they believe the terrorism in the country may reduce as a result of this separation.

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