Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson in an audio message has recently announced that the group’s commander Qari Saifullah Mehsud has been killed by Haqqani Network (an offshoot of the Afghan Taliban) outside the Guloon camp in Khost province of Afghanistan.
TTP is the terrorist organization that claimed responsibility for the Peshawar school massacre in 2014 and was also behind the assassination attempt of Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai.
Qari Saifullah Mehsud was among the terrorists wanted by the Pakistani authorities for his involvement in various terrorist attacks in the country.
“TTP has already split into several groups and Mehsud was trying to unite them.” said, Saboor Khattak, a Peshawar-based senior journalist”.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or Pakistan Taliban was founded in 2007 by Baitullah Mehsud. The organization is currently divided into four factions — Swat group, Mehsud group, Bajaur Agency group, and Darra Adamkhel group. Some estimates suggest that TTP has between 30,000 and 35,000 members.
The damage inflicted by Pakistan Taliban:
A recent audio message of Mehsud claimed that his group conducted 75 terror attacks this year, even though this claim has not got verified and confirmed by officials. Pakistan Taliban has carried out multiple suicide bombings, which killed hundreds of members of the Pakistan defence forces, law enforcement personnel and civilians.
For instance, they claimed responsibility for the Peshawar school massacre wherein seven heavily armed terrorists stormed an army-run primary and secondary school in Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014, killing 150 people, of whom at least 134 were students.
They publicly claimed credit for the 30 March 2009 attack on a police academy in Lahore, Pakistan, in which the attackers fired automatic machine guns into an unarmed crowd of police recruits, killing eight people and wounding 100 others.
Responding to Pakistan’s military operations against Al-Qaida-affiliated groups (in particular the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) and the Islamic Jihad Group in South Waziristan in September 2009, Pakistan Taliban claimed a number of high profile suicide attacks which aimed to “punish” the government and bring about a change of policy.
It also claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on the World Food Programme headquarters in Islamabad in October 2009.
What is the motivation of the Pakistan Taliban?
Its objective is to overthrow the elected government of Pakistan in order to establish an emirate based on its own interpretation of Islamic law. Since its establishment, Taliban Pakistan has announced its various objectives & principles:
1. Enforce Shari’a, unite against NATO forces in Afghanistan and perform “defensive jihad against the Pakistan
2. React strongly if military operations are not stopped in Swat District and North Waziristan Agency.
3. Demand the abolishment of all military checkpoints in the FATA area.
4. Demand the release of Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) Imam Abdul Aziz.
5. Refuse future peace deals with the government of Pakistan.
Pakistan Taliban’s links with Al-Qaeda
According the United Nations, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was put under sanctions in 2011 as being associated with Al-Qaida for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to”, “recruiting for” or “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” Al-Qaida.