Pakistani Taliban commmander in Kurram quits the TTP

A commander in the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP) from the Kurram tribal agency has quit the terror group because he said it is too extreme for his tastes. The commander, Fazal Saeed Utezai, said the Taliban’s suicide attacks on civilians and at mosques were a bridge too far. From AFP/Dawn:

“I repeatedly told the leadership council of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan that they should stop suicide attacks against mosques, markets and other civilian targets,” Saeed told AFP by telephone.

“Islam does not allow killings of innocent civilians in suicide attacks,” he said, likening what TTP does in Pakistan to “what US troops are doing in Afghanistan” and vowing to continue the fight alone against the Americans.

“I have therefore decided to quit TTP,” Saeed said, claiming to have defected along with “hundreds of supporters.” A 10-member consultative council will meet within days to formulate the group’s programme, he told AFP.

Fazal later went on to deny he was a tool of the Pakistani military and intelligence services, and claimed he was the leader of the TTP in Kurram. A couple of quick points:

  • Note that Fazal didn’t condemn suicide bombings, but only attacks against civilians, and at markets and mosques. Presumably all other targets are fair game. And one wonders if Fazal considers Shia to be “civilians,” given that he’s responsible for the butchering of quite a few in Kurram.
  • Fazal is not the leader of the TTP in Kurram. That distinction goes to Maulvi Noor Jamal, who is also known as Maulvi Toofan. Jamal was said to be a possible successor of Hakeemullah Mehsud when the latter was rumored to have been killed last year.
  • Fazal’s camps were targeted by US Predators last week. On June 20, Predators and Reapers fired four missiles at two compounds and a vehicle in the Khardand area of Kurram. Eleven Taliban fighters, including nine Haqqani Network fighters, were killed.
  • Fazal’s defection from the TTP will likely be touted by some observers as a major blow to the terror group, but in all likelihood, little will change in the big picture. Fazal isn’t going up against the TTP, he just dropped out of the fight. He still wants to impose Sharia, or Islamic law, in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is continuing to battle US forces in Afghanistan. In all likelihood, Fazal merely joined the so-called “good Taliban,” the groups that are favored by the Pakistani state. The Haqqani Network has expanded its influence greatly in Kurram [see this report at AEI from Reza Jan and Jeffrey Dressler for more information], and Fazal may be positioning himself to ally with them (note that Haqqani Network fighters were killed in his camps during last week’s Predator strikes).

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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  • Shah says:

    Bill has analysed his defection in good way. The ground reality is that he is puppit of ISI and availing full support. He is the owner of a filling station and CNG center in town Uchat doing business with all government entities. Now he is controlling Chapari check post the entry point of Kurram. He has deputed a government paid officer locally called Moharrar to charge each Truck carrying commodities to Parachinar( Beseiged Shia Town) Rs. 30 to 40 thousand.
    As government is preparing for a military operation in the area under pressure from US, so they want to protect him by this defection story. Bill is right that commander in Kurram is Noor Jamal and majority are his follower. He will go to his old camp after this so called operation in fact Hide and Seek game.

  • Neman says:

    I humbly ask your opinion on your stance regarding Sharia and Islamic Law. Do you think it should be imposed or not?

  • villiger says:

    Shah thank you for your insights. Comments like yours not only underscore LWJ’s credibility but serve freedom itself. It also provides reassurance, with people like you around, that there is a common cause.
    Stay safe and well.

  • Soccer says:

    I second that. Best regards to everyone in this struggle.

  • sajid says:

    see to it probably molvi sahib might not have received his share in time

  • Charu says:

    Superb analysis! Everything coming out of Pakistan should be, as a rule, put through a lie detector.

  • Kent says:

    Probably taking a sabbatical rather than quitting.

  • Villiger says:

    Thank you Soccer and keep up the good work.

    Charu, i’d coin a new ‘lie converter’ instead of a detector, for we can be sure what we get is a lie.

  • Neo says:

    I don

  • rana says:

    Every careful analysis shows that Taliban are united in all forms, defection by unknown person, called himself Taliban, is a story for more Money.
    “Silence in Taliban Lines, predicting a deadly strom”
    Defection or changing affiliations are not customs among Taliban group.
    Money make criminals to show themselves as Taliban and get money. Army and ISI trying to show that they are smart and destroying Taliban, but USA responsibles are well aware of Pakistani army tricks.

  • Charu says:

    NewsHour today showed the faces of 8 young men cut down in their prime, the youngest was 21. What about your sacred duty, Adm. Mullen? The Generals you shake hands with have their blood on their hands.


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