Taleban Government Appoints Two New Ministers

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The group is, at no cost, in favor of taking up arms in Pakistan. Rather, when the Qari Hussein group ignited the fire of suicide attacks in Pakistan last year and Maulvi Omar raised objections, the same [Khalifa] group sent a strong message to Baitullah Mehsud, warning him that the Taliban had no agenda outside Afghanistan. It particularly warned him that terrorism in Pakistan was intolerable. As a result of this warning, Qari Hussein was removed as the chief of the suicide squad, and action was taken to restrict the activities of Commander Tariq. The Khalifa group is totally concentrating on Afghanistan. There are so far no proofs of the activities of this group inside Pakistan, despite the fact that the group was mostly targeted and Haqqani's closes relatives were killed. The group has representatives everywhere [in FATA], but it does not have any specific headquarters.
Besides this, there are four alliances in Waziristan, which include small groups. One of these alliances is the local Taliban, which is completely loyal to Pakistan. The alliance includes two major groups of Baluchistan [name of province as published], that is, Wazir group and Maulvi Nazir group. The second alliance is that of Tehreeke-Taliban Pakistan [TTP], which includes every type of people and groups -- even the likes of Fazlullah and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. In the ranks of this very alliance, there is a federation of six groups having the Punjabi and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi background.
This federation is called Fedayeen-e-Islam. The federation does not have any particular leadership, but Qari Hussein is believed to be its chief. Also, the federation includes the Qari Zafar, Asmatullah Moaviya, Commander Tariq, Rana Afzal groups.
Recently, a new group was formed in the name of Shura-e-Mujahidin, which included pro-Baitullah members of TTP and local Taliban. However, while this group exists in name, it has no existence in principles, because Baitullah Mehsud has once again started activities against Pakistan, which is against the [stated] objectives of the group.
The pattern of the presence of all these groups is as follows: The biggest group in North Waziristan is that of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, which is totally pro-Pakistan and is not ready to carry out action against Pakistan or Pakistan Army.
There are reports that at a time when preparations are being made for the operation in Waziristan and when schools are being vacated in Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan [for the potentially displaced people of Waziristan], the government circles have contacted Gul Bahadur, asking him to separate the pro-Pakistani groups from the Baitullah Mehsud group, so that the operation is made against antistate groups.
Gul Bahadur, grandson of Faqir of Eppi [Pashtun saint who had fought against the British imperial forces in FATA in the beginning of the last century], is the most powerful in this area. Even if all other groups join their forces, they are not capable to confront the Gul Bahadur group. The Baitullah Mehsud group is present in the Mehsud-dominated areas of North Waziristan only.
Other groups in the agency include the Maulvi Nazir group, which is an ally of the Gul Bahadur group and is not ready to fight against Pakistan at any cost. Maulvi Nazir had earned fame when he ousted the Uzbekistanis form Wana and surrounding areas in 2005 and 2006. He wields power and influence in the Wazir tribe of South Waziristan. Despite having been injured in a drone attack, due to which he sometimes gets infuriated, he has never joined any activity against Pakistan. The Nazir group is followed by the Abdullah Mehsud group. Abdullah Mehsud is believed to be the founder of the militant groups in the area, and he was the first leader of Mehsud militants.
His group's youths, numbering 500, formerly belonged to the Baitullah Mehsud group, but later got separated from them on the question of activities against Pakistan. This group is in alliance with the Maulvi Nazir group. It is not only averse to any activities against Pakistan but also ready to carry out action against any anti-Pakistani group. The separation of this group had broken the might of Baitullah Mehsud, and the latter did not feel secure in the hands of his deputy, Qari Hussein.
Fifty percent of the 34 militant groups are present in South Waziristan, and under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud, they counterbalance the Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir groups.
Baitullah group
This is the largest and the most prominent among the militant groups. Kalimullah and Qari Hussein are members of the same group. After doubting the Punjabi youths and ordering them to leave Waziristan in November last year, differences had cropped up between Baitullah Mehsud and Qari Hussein, as a result of which Baitullah had to seek refuge in the Gul Bahadur group while Qari Hussein later showed its strength by establishing the Fedayeen-e-Islam group.
However, talks were again held between Baitullah and Qari Hussein, and the latter began to support the Baitullah group on the condition that Baitullah would recognize the Fedayeen-e-Islam. Following this, Baitullah Mehsud once again started to patronize anti-Pakistani activities of the Fedayeen-e-Islam group.
Kalimullah Group
This is the second biggest ally of Baitullah Mehsud. The differences between Qari Hussein and Kalimullah are not hidden from anyone. The group is involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan and acts of abduction for ransom. It enjoys support in Khyber and Orakzai agencies. Nowadays, the might of the Baitullah group depends on this very group. The group has accepted the responsibility for the Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan bomb attacks. In the future, the group can prove as much bigger a danger as the Qari Hussein group.
However, the group can be taken on by using the Abdullah Mehsud group. The condition of the Baitullah group is that though Qari Hussein's Fedayeen-e-Islam is its part, there is a cold war going on between the Kalimullah and Qari Hussain groups. This simmering cold war can erupt into lava any time. However, if any operation is launched without preparations, both the groups will end their mutual rivalries and strengthen their unity. Qari Hussein and Kalimullah have a record of carrying out terrorist activities throughout the country. They pose the biggest danger.
Gul Hasan Khan Group
This is an anti-Pakistani group. It has nothing to do in Afghanistan. The group also has Punjabi youths. So far, the group has no major activity to its credit, but it is certainly proving helpful in the execution of these acts.
Sheikh Meraj Group
Sheikh Meraj belongs to Tunisia. The group has over 400 suicide attackers. It is ready for war both in Pakistan and Afghanistan at the same time. It has provided suicide attackers for many terrorist acts.
Abu Qanada Group
This is also an Arab group, acting on both sides of the border, but its activities are restricted only to South Waziristan.
Sheikh Fateh Usman Group
It is an Arab group and can fight on both sides of the border. It has not carried out any major terrorist act in Pakistan but will support Baitullah Mehsud in the event of an operation.
Al-Badr Group
This is a small group. It has links with Golboddin Hekmatyar in Afghanistan. Its name had surfaced with regard to the Marriot Hotel blast. However, it has not participated in any other terrorist activity in Pakistan, nor is it in its favor. Its activities are wholly concentrated in Afghanistan. Similarly, the Abdul Jabber group is also functioning in Afghanistan. Both these groups will not resist in the event of an operation.
Qari Shakil Group
This is a major group of Mohmand Agency. Ideologically it is not pro-Pakistan. Qari Shakil is the deputy of Abdul Wali, alias Omar Khalid. However, he also possesses his separate splinter group. Both Omar Khalid and Qari Shakil had crossed over to Afghanistan when an operation was launched against them in Mohmand Agency several months back. In their support, the Afghans had also attacked the Pakistan Army. They do not allow the anti-US Taliban to function in Mohmand Agency. They have proved very dangerous.

Hilal Group

The group calls itself the Ghazi Force. Its chief, Niaz Rahim, alias Hilal, has remained a student of Islamabad's Jamia Fareedia [women Islamic seminary]. The group raises the slogan of taking the revenge of the Red Mosque operation, which is the only objective of the group. The group enjoys the support of sufficient number of students of Islamabad-based seminaries. An important youth of the group in Islamabad, Khurram Shehzad, has been arrested. This group, based in Orakzai Agency, is being held responsible for the suicide attacks on FC Camp on Margalla Road and at the Special Branch Police office in Islamabad.
Commander Tariq
This is the most powerful group in Darra Adam Khel. The group possesses Afridi Pashtuns and Punjabi youths. Basically, it is related to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. It has nothing to do in Afghanistan. Presently, the group has no activity to its credit other than violent acts carried out in Hangu and Orakzai Agency. The group is, however, powerful.
Maulvi Rafiq Group
The group is based in Sadda, Khurram Agency, and its only target is the rival [Shiite] sect.
Maulvi Faqir Mohammad Group
This is the most powerful group in Bajaur Agency. Despite being the ally of Baitullah Mehsud, it is not anti-Pakistan. Two sons of Maulvi Faqir Muhammad were killed in the Bajaur operation. But despite that, it only fought a defensive war against the Pakistani forces. While it fully concentrates on Afghanistan, it is against actions inside the country [Pakistan]. Faqir Muhammad has been pressuring Maulvi Fazlullah to accept the Swat peace deal. He had also intervened to withdraw the Taliban militants from Buner. He is annoyed with Fazlullah for not accepting his call [for peace]. The group has not carried out any action inside Pakistan. Ziaur Rehman Afghani is Faqir Muhammad's ally in Bajaur Agency. It is in favor of retaliating against the Pakistani forces only in the limits of Bajaur Agency. The group will not help in the event of any operation in Waziristan. If the government uses any viable strategy, it can forge a strong alliance with the inclusion of the Maulvi Faqir Muhammad group, Gul Bahadur group, Maulvi Nazir group, and Abdullah Mehsud group. This alliance will also enjoy the support of the Khalifa group. However, the question remains whether the United States will accept such a situation.
Two foreign groups functioning in Waziristan and Mohmand Agency can be described very dangerous. They include the Takfiri Arab group and the Uzbekistani group, against which Maulvi Faqir Muhammad had carried out action. Both groups are considered dangerous. The Uzbekistanis are particularly known as hired assassins. In the event of any operation, both groups will support Baitullah Mehsud. It can be said that, in the future, the Qari Hussein and Kalimullah groups can prove very dangerous all over the country.

[Description of Source: Karachi Ummat in Urdu -- Sensationalist, pro-Usama Bin Ladin Urdu daily. Harshly critical of the US, Israel, and India. Propagates Muslim unity to counter US/Western influence. Circulation 20,000. Editor-publisher Rafiq Afghan is an Afghan war veteran.]

Pakistan Editorial Says Taliban 'Shocked' by Strength of Military Onset in Swat

SAP20090602110007 Lahore Daily Times Online in English 02 Jun 09
[Editorial: "What were up against in Waziristan"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
The Taliban of Baitullah Mehsud suffered 25 dead after their attacks on army checkposts in South Waziristan and the Jandola frontier region were repulsed on Sunday. The attacks happened in the wake of the demand made by Baitullah that the army should leave "his area". A similar demand had emanated from North Waziristan from his branch outfit there and other warlords with whom he is acting in cooperation. Sensing the coming storm, the local population is fleeing South Waziristan to swell the tide of refugees caused by Taliban atrocities in the semi-tribal areas under the NWFP government. The Army Public College Hangu was attacked on Sunday and its administrator cruelly done to death.
Baitullah Mehsud has suffered a defeat in Swat and his telephone call saying the Taliban should leave the area was intercepted by the army. The government has already announced that the army will go for Baitullah in his fastness of South Waziristan and this time everyone knows it means business, untied to any parliamentary resolution to evacuate the affected areas and allow "talks" with the killers. It is clear that skirmishes with the men of Baitullah Mehsud have already started and that the Taliban are forewarned about what they might face in the days to come. The truth is that they also knew what was coming in Swat but were shocked by the impact of the military attack.
As Swat is pacified in the days to come and the refugees start returning to their homes amid reinforced local administration, it will be time to think about the phenomenon of Baitullah Mehsud, the biggest warlord on both sides of the Durand Line, who has the backing of Al Qaeda and its international brigade of terrorists. It will be in order here to outline the organisational strength and firepower of this warlord with the help of the just-published book written by a Pashtun scholar Aqeel Yusufzai, titled Talibanisation (Urdu).
Baitullah Mehsud, born in Bannu, is from the Badwi Khel tribe, and his Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), while headquartered in Makin in South Waziristan, has branchline groups complete with their own commanders in North Waziristan, Kurram, Orakzai, Mohmand, Bajaur and Khyber. Thanks to the jihadi groups once supported by the Pakistani state and because of their affiliations with Al Qaeda, TTP has its supporting manpower in all the four provinces, particularly in South Punjab where first contacts were made between Sipah Sahaba and its Arab patrons. The Pakistani press has already taken note of. Commanders Qari Hussain, Rais Khan, Salim Sakin, Azmatullah are his front-leaders in South Waziristan while Qari Hussain specialises in training suicide-bombers.
After tasting the toughness of his subordinate Taliban group in the Malakand division, one can estimate the kind of power he will use when challenged. In North Waziristan, considered a territory of the Jalaluddin Haqqani group, he has Nur Syed Amir, Faqir Dawar and Haji Aftab Khan; the last-named also charged with looking after Baitullah's foreign guests from the Arab world, Central Asia, Chechnya in Russia and Xinjiang in China. Commanders who lead bands of Taliban marauders in other agencies are: Hakimullah (Orakzai and Kurram with 8,000 men), Rehmanullah and Hazrat Ali (Khyber, 1,200), Umar Khalid (Mohmand, 5,000), and Faqir Muhammad (Bajaur, 5,000). Baitullah himself is estimated to dispose of 30,000 warriors, supplemented with Tahir Yuldashev's 4,000 Uzbeks and other "foreigners". The TTP could have nearly 50,000 men at its disposal. If you also count the non-Baitullah Taliban, the total estimate comes to over 100,000.
According to some estimates, Baitullah could have in his kitty around Rs 4 billion to spend annually. This money comes from drugs facilitated by Al Qaeda contacts, Arab money from the Gulf, money made from kidnapping for ransom, looting of banks, smuggling and "protection money" in general. He has weapons produced in Russia, the US and India, and has been looting explosives produced at the Wah munitions factory. His strength has been built up during a period of benign neglect in Islamabad, which has been focusing on India as the country's premier threat. But Swat has proved that the Taliban can be taken on and defeated. The national consensus is there and crucial international support in these lean times is forthcoming too.

[Description of Source: Lahore Daily Times Online in English -- Website of the independent, moderate daily, run by veteran journalist Najam Sethi and published by the Friday Times group. Strong critic of radical and jihadi elements. Provides extensive coverage of activities of jihadi/militant groups. Caters to the educated middle class, with an estimated hardcopy circulation of 20,000; URL: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk]

Pakistan Editorial Says Taliban Strongholds in Waziristan Must be Destroyed

SAP20090701102007 Lahore Daily Times Online in English 01 Jul 09
[Corrected version: correcting Source line, Source Descriptor; Editorial: "Untying the North Waziristan knot"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
The Pakistani army's incursion into North Waziristan last Sunday attracted the local Taliban assault, as a result of which the convoy suffered 27 dead, about 35 kilometres west of Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan. Helicopter gunships thereafter went into action and there were local casualties. A Taliban representative of the area has stated that his shura had decided to continue guerrilla activities "till the drone attacks are stopped" and the government withdraws troops from North Waziristan.
The local Taliban shura has announced that it is scrapping the "ceasefire agreement" reached with Pakistan in February this year, under which North Waziristan militants were exempted from punishment by the Pakistan Army. The Taliban, by announcing that they are going to "resume guerrilla war", seem to be implying that they were abiding by the agreement and it was the Pakistan Army which was in breach of it.
The truth is that, under the agreement, militants were to stop target-killings and attacks on security forces, and that no one was be allowed to set up a parallel administration in the area, and all issues and disputes had to be resolved in accordance with the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and in consultation with the political agent. Additionally, the local elders, with whom the agreement was reached, had pledged that there would be no cross-border movement of militants and that "foreigners" would be expelled from the area. But no pledge was honoured by the Taliban.
North Waziristan borders Afghanistan and it is from North Waziristan that the NATO troops are attacked and forays undertaken deeper into Afghanistan by the warlords linked to the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) of Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan. This is the area over which Pakistan and the US have quarrelled in the past. Cross-border infiltrations by the Taliban have been blamed on Pakistani border guards' laxity; Pakistan has complained over the CIA drone attacks.
North Waziristan is the place where some important "foreigners" linked to Al Qaeda have been target-killed. In 2005, a top Al Qaeda operative in Pakistan, Egyptian Hamza Rabia, was killed in a missile strike in Mir Ali. Another Egyptian-born explosive expert, Abdul Rehman Al Muhajir, indicted for the 1998 US embassy bombings, was also killed here. The latest information is that the leader of the banned terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Muhammad, Maulana Masood Azhar, is in hiding here after things became too hot for him and Pakistan in Bahawalpur.
It is commonly believed that North Waziristan is under the control of the Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, blamed in connection with the suicide bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul in July 2008. Another warlord working independently, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, is strong here, with thousands of warriors while Baitullah Mehsud operates his militia here in close cooperation with Haqqani. Any frictions among the warlords are regularly removed by the Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Umar.
Pakistan too has been blamed for nudging Haqqani to attack the Indian embassy in Kabul. Unfortunately, in an interview given to a London-based Arab journal Asharq Al-Awsat in April this year, an ex-ISI chief confessed that he had "sent his two sons for jihad" against the Soviet forces "along with the Afghan jihadi leader Jalaluddin Haqqani". He further stated: "I am a retired official but the Al Qaeda Afghan elements -- Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Karzai (sic!), and others -- are against Pakistan, but they are my friends". He carefully left out Haqqani because he too had been blamed for involvement.
The strategy of "separating" the two agencies named Waziristan must end. This separation has been made on the basis of who targets which agency. The Americans are bothered by the Taliban located in North Waziristan and target-kill them through drones; the Pakistan army is bothered by the outreach of the warlord Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan and is suspicious of Americans not targeting him (till recently). In fact the "belief" in Pakistan that the US actually funds Baitullah is predicated on this perception.
The truth is that the Taliban are seamless. They are now being squeezed between NATO action from Afghanistan and the military action gaining ground from the side of Pakistan. The national consensus in Pakistan is behind the army and the world is backing it as well. This war has to be won. And North Waziristan was a difficult knot waiting to be untied.

[Description of Source: Lahore Daily Times Online in English -- Website of the independent, moderate daily, run by veteran journalist Najam Sethi and published by the Friday Times group. Strong critic of radical and jihadi elements. Provides extensive coverage of activities of jihadi/militant groups. Caters to the educated middle class, with an estimated hardcopy circulation of 20,000; URL: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk]

Pakistani army admits ties with Afghan rebel commanders - TV
IAP20090714950028 Kabul Ariana TV in Dari 1530 GMT 11 Jul 09

Pakistani army admits ties with Afghan rebel commanders - TV

Text of report by privately-owned Afghan Ariana TV on 11 July
[Presenter] The Pakistani army has finally acknowledged that it has been in contact with the Taleban, Golboddin Hekmatyar and several other commanders. Gen Athar Abbas, the Pakistani army spokesman, has said that the Taleban may even enter into negotiations with the United States. The spokesman's remarks come amid the fact that the Afghan government has claimed on occasions that the militants enter Afghanistan from the other side of the Durand Line, but Islamabad has repeatedly denied this.
My colleague Abdol Fattah Ahmadzai reports:
[Correspondent] Pakistani army spokesman Gen Athar Abbas has told a US TV network that they are still in touch with Mullah Omar, Mullah Nazir, Jalaloddin Haqqani and the leader of the Hezb-e Eslami, Golboddin Hekmatyar. Mr Abbas has stated that the Taleban may get ready to hold talks with America.
The spokesman confirmed that the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] had close ties with both [Afghan and Former Soviet] governments during the Afghan-Soviet war, but Islamabad has now changed its policy. He has said that Pakistan's current close relations with Golboddin Hekmatyar and the Taleban do not necessarily mean that the government provides financial aid to them or trains them against the Afghan government.
Nurolhaq Olumi, a political analyst and parliamentarian, has said that the Afghan government has for a long time had the view that the insurgents enter the country from the other side of the Durand Line.
[MP for Kandahar Nurolhaq Olumi] The people of Afghanistan have always been certain that the terrorist centres and leaders were inside Pakistan and led by the Pakistani intelligence service. The recent remarks by the Pakistani government only state this fact and the fact that they have been directly involved in the situation. Now the same violence is taking place in Pakistan and they are behind it, because they order [the rebel] leaders they have nourished and tell them to go and hold talks with [the international community] and find the so-called solution. These leaders have never had the potential [to act independently and strongly] and as far as we know, they are being led by the Pakistani intelligence service and do whatever the service commands.
[Correspondent] Elaborating on the Pakistani official's remarks, Abdol Zaher Faqiri, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, says:
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