The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) claimed 120 of its fighters assaulted a Pakistani military base in the Shawal area of North Waziristan to retaliate for the April 29 US drone strike in Datta Khel that reportedly killed an al Qaeda leader.
Shawal is one of several areas in North Waziristan that the Pakistani military claimed to clear free of jihadists during an operation in 2014. However, the fact that the TTP can organize 120 fighters and assault a base there indicates the area is all but cleared.
The TTP released a statement yesterday on its Telegram account by Mohammad Khurasani, the group’s “Central Spokesman,” that claimed at least 10 Pakistani soldiers were killed during the fighting. The full statement is reproduced below.
The attack has not been reported in the Pakistani media and it cannot be confirmed independently, however the Pakistani military controls press access to the region.
According to the TTP, its “Falcon” unit attacked a camp and several outposts in the Shawal area, a known haven for multiple jihadist groups operating in the region, including al Qaeda.
The TTP said the assault “was in retaliation for the drone attack which targeted Akhtar Muhammad Khaleel’s (May Allah safeguard him) companions.” Pakistani intelligence officials said the strike targeted a compound owned by “Akhtar Mohammad” and he was believed to be killed in the strike. The TTP statement indicates he is alive.
Pakistani officials also claimed an Iraqi al Qaeda leader known as Abdul Raheem was killed in the drone strike, however his death has not been confirmed by al Qaeda or the TTP, which has noted the death of al Qaeda leaders in the past.
TTP statement on assault on Pakistani base in Shawal:
We claim the responsibility of assaulting Pakistani Army camp in retaliation for the drone attack in North Waziristan.
Falcon character Mujahideen of TTP attacked Pakistani Army camp and many posts in Shawal area of North Waziristan on 1st May at 7 pm.
Light and heavy weapons were used freely in this attack, and it continued for one hour. One hundred and twenty Mujahideen participated in this attack and they continued firing at camp for one hour, in which more than 10 apostates were sent to hell and several were wounded and those who survived this attack fled away leaving their posts. Our 6 companions were also injured in this attack.
The camp took fire due to this attack and continued burning for hour.
It should be in mind that this attack was in retaliation for the drone attack which targeted Akhtar Muhammad Khaleel’s (May Allah safeguard him) companions.
Our attacks will continue until the elimination of deluding system of democracy and up to the implementation of Islamic System in Pakistan. Insha’ALLAH (If ALLAH wills)