‘Good’ Taliban leader threatens Pakistani state over drone strikes

The most senior Taliban leader in North Waziristan, who is favored by the Pakistani state, threatened to sever a peace agreement if the government and military do not halt the Predator and Reaper airstrikes that target a range of terror groups in the tribal areas.

Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar warned that his “patience” with the government is reaching its limit because US drone airstrikes are killing locals and the Pakistani military has destroyed some buildings in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

“We have been showing patience because of problems being faced by common people but now the government has also resorted to repression on our common people at the behest of foreigners,” Bahadar said in a pamphlet distributed in the North Waziristan town of Miramshah. Portions of the pamphlet were translated and published by Reuters.

“We are disbanding the jirga (council) set up for talks with the government. If the government resorts to any repressive act in the future then it will also be very difficult for us to show patience,” he threatened.

Bahadar and the Taliban maintain a “peace agreement” with the Pakistani military that allows him to run a state within a state in the remote tribal agency. Bahadar and his commanders have set up a parallel administration, complete with courts, recruiting centers, prisons, training camps, and the ability to leverage taxes.

The peace agreement allows North Waziristan to serve as a base for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and non-aligned Taliban groups, as well as the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Group, and a host of Pakistani terror groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Punjabi Taliban.

A spokesman for Bahadar recently claimed that there were no “militants” in North Waziristan, and that Bahadar’s Taliban faction has lived up to its terms of a peace agreement with the Pakistani military. But, as documented here at The Long War Journal numerous times, Bahadar provides support and shelter for top al Qaeda leaders as well as terrorists from numerous Pakistani and Central Asian terror groups, including the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.

Datta Khel, an area of North Waziristan under Bahadar’s control, is a known hub of Taliban, Haqqani Network, and al Qaeda activity. While Bahadar administers the region, the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, and allied Central Asian jihadi groups are also based in the area. The Lashkar al Zil, al Qaeda’s Shadow Army, is known to have a command center in Datta Khel.

Datta Khel serves as a command and control center for al Qaeda’s top leaders, and some of them have been targeted and killed there. A US Predator airstrike in Datta Khel on Dec. 17, 2009, targeted Sheikh Saeed al Saudi, Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law and a member of al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis, or executive council. Al Saudi is thought to have survived the strike, but Abdullah Said al Libi, the commander of the Shadow Army, and Zuhaib al Zahibi, a general in the Shadow Army, were both killed in the attack.

But the most significant attack in Datta Khel took place on May 21, 2010, and resulted in the death of Mustafa Abu Yazid, a longtime al Qaeda leader and close confidant of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri.

Yazid served as the leader of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the wider Khorasan, a region that encompasses portions of Pakistan, Iran, and several Central Asian states. More importantly, Yazid was al Qaeda’s top financier, which put him in charge of the terror group’s purse strings. He served on al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis, or top decision-making council. Yazid also was closely allied with the Taliban and advocated the program of embedding small al Qaeda teams with Taliban forces in Afghanistan, a practice well-established in the country now.

Despite the known presence of al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist organizations in North Waziristan, and requests by the US that action be taken against these groups, the Pakistani military has indicated that it has no plans to take on Bahadar or the Haqqani Network, the other major Taliban group based there. Bahadar and the Haqqanis are considered “good Taliban” by the Pakistani military establishment as they do not carry out attacks inside Pakistan. Yet Bahadar, the Haqqanis, and other Taliban groups openly attack both civilian and military targets in Afghanistan.

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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  • namvet says:

    When a spokesman for Bahadar recently claimed that there were no “militants” in North Waziristan he was partially true: there are fewer “militants” now because of the drone sticks.

  • Charles says:

    Why is it that Bahadar openly threatens the ISI while the Haqqanis remain silent. The Haqqanis are peeing their best blood into the ground too.

  • mike merlo says:

    Hopefully Bahadar repeated requests & other public statements will allow us to zero in on his location. He’s probably ensconced in one of Pakistan’s major urban area’s like so many others of his ilk.

  • Eddie D. says:

    Sounds like excuses, excuses. Our forces will target you murderers wherever you run to and try and hide.

  • Devin Leonard says:

    It sounds more like Hafiz Gul Bahadar is running scared. He is afraid the next drone strike will be up his butt. This guy just needs to be killed by Spec Ops or a Drone pure and simple…then the Pakis can watch another one of thier “good buddies” get waxed

  • yz says:

    great! sever the truth, so the Army can go in and wipe you out.

  • Tom Kelleher says:

    Oooch! Guess we hit a nerve there! That is; we must have blown the unwashed black turbans off the heads of a few angry bearded people that mattered to them, huh? You don’t suppose the petulant whining of Mr. Senior Nasty Black Turban towards his landlord might ENCOURAGE the people at the joysticks of the hobby-kit planes, do you??! (“ooh look! I think we made him mad, he just spit out his falafel! Hit ’em again!”)
    Come on out in the sunshine, Mr. Senior Nasty Black Turban, a little closer…THERE! (swoosh!) Another unwashed black turban litters the ground…how sad!

  • Charles says:

    So now both Hakeemullah Mehsud and Hafiz Gul Bahadar are barking at the ISI.
    This makes interesting reading. This brings up some interesting questions.
    Why does the Haqqani network say nothing? They have been as bloodied as the other groups. Does this mean that the ISI has extended to Haqqanis a better deal than either Hakeemullah Mehsud and Hafiz Gul Bahadar.
    Do the complaints of Hakeemullah Mehsud and Hafiz Gul Bahadar mean that their losses are unacceptable?
    The truth is that if–as seems likely– Pakistan has anywhere near the trillion dollars of natural resources that Afghanistan has–then the ISI is going to have to come up with a whole new business model.
    Probably the smartest move for the ISI would be to study the way the Saudis organized Saudi Aramco in the early days of their oil production. Then model their relationship with foreign mineral producers after the way the Saudis managed their relationship with foreign oil producers.
    To work in the world of big business the ISI can’t have the small time bandits like Hakeemullah Mehsud and Hafiz Gul Bahadar around.
    So perhaps Hakeemullah Mehsud and Hafiz Gul Bahadar have seen the future and it does not include them.
    If so, then what deal has been struck by the Haqqanis that would lead them to think the future includes them.

  • NUS says:

    “Good Taliban” . . . Huh?
    Remember the Indian/Afghan idiom: “. . . a snake in the sleeve.”

  • Orange says:

    More drone strikes please!! Make it rain…

  • mike merlo says:

    Sounds like the Pakistani military & ISI have got some sort of bizarre combo of Apocalypse Now(Col Kurtz) & Dances With Wolves(Lt Dunbar) playing out among the tribals. The next few years should be highly entertaining. Everything Pakistan has tried to do in extending their presence has backfired in them. Pakistan’s only accomplishment is the acquisition of a part of Kashmir of which 3/4’s, if not more, has more in common with the Darkside of the Moon.

  • NUS says:

    @ popseal
    You are right, both are bad! I think, by saying “Good Taliban” ISI refers to the Taliban groups that reside and get training in Pakistan but attack only Afghan and ISAF targets. In contrast, ISI refers as “Bad Taliban” to the ones, who also reside and get training inside Pakistan but target Pakistan’s government. LWJ skips this explanation, assuming this is known to anyone who reads LWJ on a daily basis.

  • Marlin says:

    What exactly does a ‘curfew’ on North Waziristan border areas mean? What exactly could it be expected to accomplish?

    Security forces on Sunday clamped curfew on various parts of North Waziristan border region for an indefinite period, DawnNews reported.

    Dawn: Curfew clamped on North Waziristan

  • Johnsay says:

    I think to some extent statements about the effects of drone attacks have been largely suppressed. This would be an obvious measure to limit intelligence regarding their effectiveness. It’s good to hear occasional public statements from the the Taliban and their various Jihadist allies to indicate their squirming displeasure with the raids. The joystick boys and their hobby kit airplanes (I loved that reference) can keep right on going.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    NUS, I thought I explained it in the last paragraph….

  • patricko says:

    He wouldn’t be complaining unless the strikes were hurting.

  • NUS says:

    Bill, my bad! I had scanned it through too quickly; So had popseal.

  • Mr T says:

    Heres a pamplet to pass around Miramshah and Datta Khel.
    We are a small town in a small part of the world taking on the largest armed force in the world who has the support of the majority of all countries. This is not a war we can win. We will be defeated no matter how much religious fervor we express.
    We can no longer let the sons and daughters of our people die senseless violent deaths. We must give up the cause and return to peace before our entire town and others like it are wiped off the map. There are many innocent Muslims living here that would lose their lives when they destroy the entire town. While this may be acceptable collateral damage to our enemy, Islam forbids us from taking innocent Muslim lives.
    To save lives, we ask all foreigners to immediately return to their own countries and to stop violent jihad. This is the right thing to do as we are wasting lives trying a futile violent jihad. We have only become murderers and gunslingers with death and destruction all around us. War is not a productive use of our people and resources. Our people should have better lives than that.
    We ask each person to continue their own internal jihad struggle but must put down our arms for more peaceful means to attain our goals and make peace with our God and others.


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