Mullah Fazlullah, in Afghanistan, vows to relaunch Swat insurgency

Wanted flyer for Swat Taliban leaders. Fazlullah is in the top right.

Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Swat Taliban, has surfaced in Afghanistan and has threatened to reignite the insurgency in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. From BBC:

“I have reached Afghanistan safely,” Maulana Fazlullah told BBC Urdu. “We are soon going to launch full-fledged punitive raids against the army in Swat.”

The voice was recognisably Maulana Fazlullah’s – he has a very distinct way of pronouncing words. I have spoken to him on several occasions and met him twice.

Maulana Fazlullah was calling from an Afghan number and sounded in good spirits when he called on Monday. He said that those claiming success for the Swat operation should try to prevent drone attacks and the US security firm Blackwater from operating in Pakistan.

He issued a warning to the North West Frontier Province’s information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain.

“The authorities should beware, especially Mian Iftikhar Hussain, whose fate will be like that of Najibullah,” he warned, referring to Dr Najibullah who was Afghan president before the Taliban hanged him in 1996 when they took Kabul.

The Pakistani military and government had Fazlullah written off as dead several times last summer. It would be interesting to know where Fazlullah is in Afghanistan. Good money would put him somewhere in Nuristan or Kunar, where US forces are shutting down bases and allowing the Taliban to openly govern in parts of these provinces.

The Taliban said the US pullback from Nuristan has given the group new life to operate. These claims were dismissed by some Western observers as Taliban propaganda. But Fazlullah’s emergence in Afghanistan shows the claims are not merely propaganda.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Rajat says:

    I call BS on Fazlullah’s claim. Pakistani TV was reporting that he was taken into custody before that report was pulled.
    I’m betting that Fazlullah is in an ISI safehouse and is issuing this statement to the Pakistan military’s behalf to embarass coalition troops and to give the Pakistanis a talking point to counter the “do more” requests

  • Spooky says:

    If thats true, then Kayani is a fool. Letting a mad man like that have a second go for an area that was at one time an independant country (thus has precedence for seceding), would be having the Pakistanis shoot themselves in the foot.

  • T Ruth says:

    Kayani may not be a fool, but he is not superman. He’s certainly got a few fools(and worse) around him. In sheer practical terms i imagine he’s a bit swamped these days.
    On a separate note aren’t the predators a bit conspicuous by the absence of hellfire. Seems somehow to tie-in to the S waz initiative altho one might have expected even greater activity. Something strange is going on and i sense it has to do with the US/pak relationship…

  • Ahmad Tariq says:

    Could you quote which Pakistan TV channel reported that silly report?
    Well I seriously think the U.S. needs to do a bit of re-thinking in its strategies.

  • My2Cents says:

    You have to wonder if the coalition forces in Afghanistan knew he was there and where. If so, then they may be using his presence as a bargaining chip to force Pakistan to take on the Afghanistan Taliban in North Waziristan, instead of just the Pakistan Taliban in South Waziristan.
    If so, that would be some real Chicago style hardball politics from the Obama Whitehouse.

  • ratee says:

    What insurgency they want to relaunch?
    They have lost whatever they had by losing a face of brutality. The so-called invincibility they have lost forever. Moreover they have no safe sanctuary from where to operate.
    They have already been shoved by the local populace which detests them so much. No chance of them coming back in Swat!!!!


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