Dawn reports that the “hitherto unknown Ittehad Mujahideen Khorasan” and North Waziristan Taliban emir Hafiz Gul Bahadar have had a falling out over the activities of the former. The Ittehad Mujahideen Khorasan is not “hitherto unknown,” however; this is the Lashkar-e-Khorasan, the counterintelligence unit set up to hunt down “US spies” providing information for Predator airstrikes against al Qaeda [see LWJ report, Taliban create Lashkar-e-Khorasan to hunt Predator spies]. Keep in mind that the Lashkar-e-Khoarasan was created from elements of the Haqqani Network and Bahadar’s followers. From Dawn:
IMK [Ittehad Mujahideen Khorasan], an alliance of splinter groups, declared on Wednesday members of the Gul Bahadur-led North Waziristan Shura as its enemy and agents of the Pakistan army.
The group blamed that a few “so-called Jehadi contractors” for trying to keep them away from their objectives and warned people that it would not back out of the objectives and would take action against any person even if he belonged to the North Waziristan Shura.
A two-page statement in Urdu said: “IMK will pursue its objectives at all costs and will not spare anyone, of influence and position, in the way of its objectives.”
Differences surfaced among the militant outfits when the Shura disowned the Khorasan group on September 7 and expelled it from its rank.
“We tried time and again to reform the IMK but did not succeed. And finally we have decided to announce disassociation from the group,” the joint statement, signed by Hafiz Gul Bahadur and 10 other members of the Shura, said.
The members of the Shura who had signed the statement included Maulvi Rahim Noor, Mufti Sadiq Noor, Abdur Rehman, Maulvi Amir Sherf, Maulvi Amir Hamza, Maulvi Saddar Hayat, Muhammad Siddiq, Ahmad Shah Jan, Maulvi Saleem Khan and Sadiqullah.
Sources said that Gul Bahadur was under pressure to expel the Khorasan group after receiving complaints about its activities.
Outlining its major objectives, the IMK said it would collect information about spies, government agents and people who were on the payroll of the Pakistan army or hatched conspiracies against Mujahideen. And will use different tactics for the elimination of enemies of Islam.
A couple of quick points:
- Bahadar is reported to have expelled radical elements from North Waziristan many times in the past. The last time, he openly denied this, and issued veiled threats against journalists who reported such things. It will be interesting to see if Bahadar denies this report, as he did in July when it was reported that he expelled Hakeemullah Mehsud and company.
- If there is a disagreement, it will be interesting to know where the “pressure to expel the Khorasan group” came from. Was it tribal leaders (unlikely as Bahadar has cowed the tribes), or was it the Pakistani military and the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate?
- It will be interesting to see if Siraj Haqqani is called in to mediate this dispute, as he is known to have done in the past. When the flareup between the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Mullah Nazir took place in South Waziristan in 2007, Siraj, al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al Libi, and Turkistan Islamic Party emir Abdul Haq al Turkistan were brought in to broker the ceasefire.
- The article intimates that the split between Bahadar and the Lashkar-e-Khorasan will weaken the Taliban in North Waziristan in a way that can be exploited by the Pakistani military to move. I wouldn’t put any stock in this. Bahadar, and the Haqqanis, are Pakistani military assets. The military has resisted intense US pressure to move in North Waziristan. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that operation to begin, as many have been doing since 2008.