Pakistani Taliban ‘has a global agenda,’ commander says

More details are emerging on the presence of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan fighters in Syria. Dawn reports that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s “operational commander in Syria” requested Pakistani fighters to join the fight in Syria. Additionally, the commander said that the Pakistani Taliban “has a global agenda.”

From Dawn:

A close associate of Taliban Amir (Chief) Hakeemullah Mehsud, confirming establishment of the Syrian base, said the TTT fighters had been sent upon the request of al Qaeda’s operational commander in Syria, Abu Omar Baghdadi.

He said Baghdadi had requested the Pakistani Taliban “to be part of a global jihad against the tyrant Syrian regime and we have agreed to send the fighters.”

The aide, who did not wish to be named, said: “Yes, the TTP has a global agenda of fighting jihad against the infidels and this movement of sending fighters is part of that spirit.”

“The Arabs had been here to support us against the Russians and the Americans and now we are going there to support them.”

The Pakistani Taliban have also asked its local chapters in Mohmand, Bajaur, Khyber, Orakzai and Waziristan Agencies to recruit fresh fighters who are willing to go to Syrian mission. Many of the youngsters have reportedly started registering their names to go on the foreign mission.

I am going to repeat what I wrote about this subject on July 14:

None of this should come as any surprise to readers of The Long War Journal. We have been warning for years that groups such as the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan are increasingly taking a more international role, and are not confined to merely fighting in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan. This should have been painfully obvious when the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan sent Faisal Shahzad to the US to detonate a bomb in Times Square, and then boasted about it.

Counterterrorism analysts often downplay, minimize, or outright ignore the role that groups like the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban play in supporting and participating in the global jihad. These groups, most analysts will say, are merely focused on their local insurgencies and have little interest in following al Qaeda’s lead outside of their own borders. But when hundreds of fighters from groups like the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi show up on the battlefield of Syria, these groups’ support for the global jihad can no longer be easily brushed aside.

Finally, as you watch what is happening in Syria, and you see that al Qaeda requests and receives help from the Pakistani Taliban, you have to ask yourself how well the Obama administration’s claims that al Qaeda has suffered a death blow since the killing of Osama bin Laden are holding up.

Also see LWJ report, Pakistani Taliban establish ‘base’ inside Syria.

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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  • mike merlo says:

    While I certainly agree or concur with most of whats presented in TLWJ I’ll personally reserve judgement on Pakistani Nationals, particularly Pathans, being present in Syria. The only recorded/documented instance of Pakistani ‘Tribals’ operating in large numbers from Pakistan ‘proper’ & the AfPak theater in general in ‘Modern Times’ is when West Pakistan used their Pakistani ‘Tribals’ as ‘shock troops’ in East Pakistan. The only other recorded/documented instance of a Pathan ‘operating’ far from their ‘Traditional Homeland’ was an American Pathan convicted of Terrorism in the US.
    If ‘this’ turns out to be true it’ll turn everything “on its head” I’ve come to learn & know about Pathans. This is one highly unusual development. Zawahiri decides who or whom goes where & when so he must be figuring with US Forces out of the picture in Iraq now is as good as time as ever to try & ‘run the table’ in Messopotamia.

  • Asad Rehman says:

    From what we hear only those members f the TTP have gone who are from Chechnya, Uzbek and other foreign fighters. The Pathan agenda is different…they intend to redraw the Durand Line and are fully supported by the current Afghan Government with India in the mix. The foreign fighters are part of the ‘Caliphate’ agenda, from North Africa to the Philippines. That is not the TTP ideology. The TTP is itself split into splinter groups with the sole intention of destroying the system in Pakistan’s KPK Province. The Afghans are using them as they are dreaming of taking this area back after 175 years..either that or Karzai intends to do as much damage as he can before he leaves.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Mike, the names of TTP commanders in Syria have been disclosed. My guess is someone decided that disclosing the depth of TTP involvement in Syria might be a bad idea… Note that Pakistani intel officials – read ISI – are getting pretty bent out of shape over this.
    Asad Rehman – have you ever heard of Faisal Shahzad? Was that merely the Pathan agenda of redrawing the Durand Line?

  • vyom says:

    @mike merlo
    Those tribes were also used against India in 1948 Indo/Pak war.

  • Moose says:

    What’s the relationship b/w ISIL and the Nusra Front? This new acronym, ISIL, emerged after the spat b/w ISI’s Baghdadi and Nusra’s Julani and it is gaining strength. “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” is what Baghdadi wanted to call the group so I’m assuming ISIL answers to him. I read somewhere that up to 80% of the foreign fighters left Nusra and joined ISIL after the dispute, but besides that I’ve seen little analysis devoted to this.
    Why would Zawahiri approve TTP militants joining ISIL after Baghdadi’s public rebuke of him? Or is this decision occurring independent of him?

  • tariq parvez says:

    The factual position is that militants have gone from Pakistan to Syria. Reportedly, they are from all over Pakistan. There have been reports of people being recruited in Baluchistan, KPK Province and also Punjab Province. According to local press, some dead bodies have been received of militants killed in Syria, in the district Gujrat of Punjab Province.
    But am not sure whether this indicates TTP or Lashkar Jhangvi going global. Earlier, their agenda was not global but predominantly local. With desperate battles going on between the TTP and the Pak Army in Tirah Valley of FATA, their hands are full and sending badly needed manpower to Syria doesnt make much sense to me. Quoting the example of Faisal Shahzad to establish that they have a global agenda is not an accurate description. They did not seek out Faisal and train him, but he on his own came from the States, sought them out and expressed his willingness. Yes, TTP is not for pushing out such volunteers who can hurt, the far enemy, USA. Besides, how many attempts have been dealt with by the West generally and USA particularly and how many of these were by TTP?
    According to some reports, it is not sure that all those who are going to fight in Syria are TTP. There may be other militant orgs also. Again, we have had reports of some mideastern countries paying for the recruitment of these militants going to Syria. More than TTP going global,the reason for accepting and then denying it is that they have touched a new low in terms of legitimacy in the eyes of their society due to killing of innocent muslims and also the high profile attempt on Malala, which has badly dented their image.This may be an attempt to convey to the Pakistani public that they are part of an international jihad,helping muslims in Syria and therefore deserve the support of the people. This is not to say, that their members are not fighting in Syria. They certainly are, but the numbers are likely to be insignificant and not everybody going to Syria is from TTP, there are other militant orgs also in Pakistan. It appears to be an exercise by TTP undertaken less due to a change in ideology or goin g global and more due to increase their falling legitimacy at home and may be large amount of funds being pumped in by mideastern countries. We need to wait and see, before forming an opinion on this issue

  • mike merlo says:

    @B Roggio
    While I have volumes to ‘say’ on this subject suffice to say the Main Stream Media & the Fumblelina’s in the Intelligence Community once again demonstrate their border line cluelessness & a near complete lack of comprehension as what it is ‘we are’ opposing in this GWOT.
    “My guess is someone decided that disclosing the depth of TTP involvement in Syria might be a bad idea…,” in principal IMO your guess is ‘spot on.’ It’s the ‘Devils Details’ that are remiss.
    “Note that Pakistani intel officials – read ISI – are getting pretty bent out of shape over this.”
    Yeah, I thought that was a bit out of character for them myself. Those Paki’s though are a rather sensitive lot. That certainly goes a long way in explaining their behavior.


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