The top spokesman for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan vowed that his group would resume attacks on NATO’s convoys to Afghanistan now that Pakistan has reopened the supply lines. Additionally, the Taliban spokesman called the government’s closure of the supply lines an orchestrated “drama” and challenged the so-called Defense of Pakistan alliance to take action.
“TTP [Tehrik-e-Taliban or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan] had previously tried its best to put hurdles in the supply route to NATO, but from now on, we will carry attacks on NATO supplies with a new spirit and more effective strategy to destroy them,” spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told The Long War Journal .
“TTP will never allow transportation of supplies to anyone who will use it in killing of Muslims anywhere, & we are with our Afghani brothers,” Ihsan continued, referring to the Afghan Taliban. Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, has sworn allegiance to Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, and provides support for operations across the border against NATO and Afghan troops.
Yesterday Pakistan reopened NATO’s supply routes into Afghanistan, more than seven months after they were shut down following the deaths of 24 Pakistanis in a clash with US soldiers at the border between Afghanistan’s Kunar province and Pakistan’s Mohmand tribal agency. Twenty-four Pakistani troops were killed after they opened fire on US and Afghan troops operating in Kunar [see LWJ report, Pakistani fire, mutual errors led to Mohmand troop deaths: ISAF inquiry].
Ihsan also called out Pakistani political parties and public figures that vowed to halt the NATO supply convoys, including the Defense of Pakistan Council (or Difa-e-Pakistan Council), which includes several mainstream political groups and radical Islamists and terrorists. The Defense of Pakistan Council is chaired by Maulana Sami ul Haq, the “Father of the Taliban.” Other leaders include Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa; Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, the founder of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and current leader of the Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat; and Fazlur Rehman Khalil, the founder the Harakat-ul-Mujahideen. All of these groups and their leaders are linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban.
“Re-opening of NATO supply routes by Pakistan is a test of parties that were shouting slogans of ‘DEFENCE OF PAKISTAN’ and were staging a political drama, how will they face the nation?,” Ihsan taunted.
Ihsan said the closure of NATO’s supply lines to Afghanistan was part of a “drama staged by Pakistan government,” and called the Pakistani leaders “complete slaves of US.”
“Re-opening of NATO supply routes endorses our stance, as we previosly expressed that this was a drama staged by Pakistan government, & today we again claim that Pakistani rulers are complete slaves of US and are no Muslims as they have embraced secularism as thier religion, so we call up to the Nation to not be any more decieved by these puppets and support TTP,” Ihsan said.
In the past, the Taliban have attacked NATO’s supply columns along the roads leading to the border crossings in Torkham in Khyber and Chaman in Baluchistan. Fuel tankers and supply trucks have even been targeted at depots in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.