Islamic State claims camp in Pakistan’s tribal areas

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One photo of the purported camp in Pakistan

A social media account linked to the Islamic State recently tweeted out two photos purporting to show a training camp in Pakistan’s northwest tribal areas. The images cannot be independently confirmed by The Long War Journal, however, the Islamic State’s Wilayat Khorasan [Khorasan Province], which operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is known to operate training camps right across the border in Afghanistan.

In one tweet, the Islamic State supporter said that a “Caravan of Baitullah Mehsud in Waziristan pledged allegiance to the Islamic State Wilayat Khorasan.” It is not clear if the camp is located in North or South Waziristan, but the photos show the fighters in a heavily mountainous area, within a compound on the mountainside. The banner shown in the photos reads “Shahid Hakeemullah Mehsud camp, Islamic State.”

The references to Baitullah Mehsud, the founder of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and Hakeemullah Mehsud, the group’s previous emir, indicates that the Islamic State fighters in Waziristan likely defected from the Mehsud branch of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Both Baitullah and Hakeemullah were killed in US drone strikes.

While the Islamic State’s Khorasan Province has absorbed disaffected members of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, it has yet to establish a permanent presence in Pakistan’s tribal areas. If the images released by the Islamic State supporter are legitimate, then the Khorasan province now has a foothold in Waziristan, the epicenter of al Qaeda’s base of support in Pakistan. The Islamic State has been in competition with al Qaeda for the mantle of leadership in the global jihad, and the establishment of the Khorasan Province is a direct threat to both al Qaeda and the Taliban.

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Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal. Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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9 Comments

  • Salem says:

    It’s only fair that the IS has a foothold in Afghanistan and Pakistan given Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat Al-Nusra hasn’t disbanded in Bilad Al-Sham. Al-Qaeda can’t have it both ways.

  • mike merlo says:

    great news

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    Looks like trouble ahead for Pakistan. First the Pakistani Taliban and now the Islamic State establishing on the land.

  • Tony says:

    I doubt they will be able to do much in the tribal areas besides static attacks. I highly doubt they will be able to take territory from other insurgents or the army. Even if they attack small barriers, they don’t seem to have enough men or arms to do anything other than a raid and retreat style attack.

  • Norman says:

    Let us not forget, just who created ISIS and finances it. Perhaps this is payback for not supporting the Saudis in the campaign in Yemen.

  • Steve brickman says:

    Everyone a coward. They know what would happen if they unmasked

  • This is a good news, Islamic State would be able to confront Pakistan’s China backed terrorist army, and all Pashtuns will join hands with the Islamic State to defeat both China and Paki army.

    • Zain says:

      Haha are you kidding me right now? Do you think these monkeys can challenge either of Pakistan’s or China’s Army? Are you that skeptical? Pakistan is on the verge of eradicating terrorism from it’s soil and ISIS can never make its foothold here.

      • Musa khan jalalzai says:

        ISIS has trained more than 12,000 young people in Khyber Pakhtukhawa and Baluchistan, according to the secret circular of the government of Baluchistan. Former Interior Minister, Rehman Malik told news reporters in Islamabad two months ago that ISIS has established its networks in Gujarat, Gujranwala and Bahawalpur districts.

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