The three senior-most Taliban leaders in North and South Waziristan have joined forces to wage jihad against Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the US at the behest of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar. The new Taliban alliance said it openly supports Omar and bin Laden in its war against the US, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar and South Waziristan leaders Mullah Nazir and Baitullah Mehsud put aside differences last week and created the Council of United Mujahideen. Previously, Nazir and Bahadar had feuded with Baitullah due to tribal disputes as well as Baitullah’s rising power as the senior leader of the Pakistani Taliban.
The three leaders have had pamphlets distributed throughout North and South Waziristan to announce the formation of the Council of United Mujahideen. The Taliban leaders have “united according to the wishes of Mujahideen leaders like Mullah Muhammad Omar and Sheikh Osama bin Laden,” The Nation reported.
The Taliban alliance said it “supported Mullah Muhammad Omar and Osama bin Laden’s struggle” against the administrations of US President Barack Obama, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The new alliance further stated it was waging war “in an organized manner'” to “stop the infidels from carrying out acts of barbarism against innocent people” just as Omar and bin Laden were waging war against Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the US.
The creation of the Council of United Mujahideen and the Council’s open support of al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban has finally put to rest the Pakistani government’s claim that Bahadar and Nazir are “pro-government” Taliban. While Bahadar and Nazir opposed fighting the government for tactical reason they had openly supported al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.
The establishment of the alliance also helps to consolidate the expanding network of Taliban, al Qaeda, and Central Asian terror groups operating on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border. While analysts have previously claimed that the Pakistani Taliban was a localized phenomenon disconnected from the global jihad, the claim is not sustainable given Nazir’s open support for al Qaeda and the Taliban, the interconnections between the North Waziristan-based Haqqani Network and al Qaeda, and the establishment of Taliban-run suicide camps whose attendees conduct attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the West. Furthermore, the Lashkar al Zil, or the Shadow Army, al Qaeda’s joint paramilitary force that includes some Taliban forces, operates on both sides of the border.
The Pakistani government ceded North and South Waziristan to the Taliban after a series of peace agreements that began in 2004. The government attempted to restore its writ in 2007 and in early 2008 after the Taliban openly violated the agreements, but the military was defeated and agreed not to conduct operations in the region. Al Qaeda and a host of jihadi terror groups maintain training camps and safe houses in Waziristan.