5 years, 3 months ago
Beginning with Resurgence of Taliban and al Qaeda where we discussed the Next-Gen Taliban, and going through Interview with Taliban Spokesman Maulvi Omar, for six months The Captain’s Journal has outlined the synthesis of al Qaeda and the new Taliban. From adoption of suicide tactics to taking a global perspective for jihad in lieu of the nationalistic one, the differences between al Qaeda and the Tehrik-i-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP) have all but disappeared, with Baitullah Mehsud the most powerful man in the North West Frontier Province as the head of the TTP.
Musharraf wouldn’t publicly admit it, but with his departure at least there is a whiff of honesty in the air concerning the actual state of affairs.
Pakistan’s top security official says the country’s Taliban is a “mouthpiece” of al-Qaida.
“We have certain evidence that there is a close connection, links and that there are similarities between al-Qaida and TTP,” Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik told reporters in Islamabad, Dawn reported Tuesday.
TTP is the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, which was banned by the government last month after being blamed for a series of suicide attacks, which killed hundreds of people, the report said.
Malik, responding to a question whether Ayman al-Zawahiri, deputy to al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, talks to the TTP, said, “If al-Qaida is to move in a tribal area, they have to look to the TTP” to find refuge, the report said.
“The TTP is a host to al-Qaida and is their mouthpiece,” he added.
Noting that there is evidence of foreign fighters operating in Pakistan, Malik said, “We have also found traces of militants from the Uzbek and … Chinese Islamic movements in the tribal regions.”
Again, this marks a change in position by the Pakistani government.
Pakistani authorities previously sought to draw a sharp distinction between homegrown militants and al-Qaida, which is led by Arabs. But the interior ministry official declared that al-Qaida had morphed into Pakistan’s Taliban movement, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban, which is a copy of the Afghanistan’s Taliban guerillas.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the Tehreek-e-Taliban and al-Qaida are the same thing,” Malik said. “They have not only connections, I would say Tehreek-e-Taliban is an extension of al-Qaida. The mouthpiece is now Tehreek-e-Taliban.”
Readers of The Captain’s Journal have heard this for a half a year or more, and while a stand down of operations by the Pakistan Army over Ramadan is not encouraging, at least Pakistan realizes that their very existence is at stake in this war.