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.”
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.
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