Azam Tariq of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan briefing the media in North Waziristan. Nasir Ahmed Mehsud—AFP
May 27, 2014
The deadly infighting among franchises of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has led to a formal split. Earlier this week, a spokesman for the Khalid Mehsud-led faction announced his group was no longer linked to the Pakistani Taliban or bound by the umbrella organization’s dictates. The Pakistani Taliban in Mullah Fazlullah’s charge has become a haven for mercenaries, extortion, and “evil” acts, he said. The Mehsud faction would no longer engage, he added, in un-Islamic acts, such as attacking national assets and carrying out bombings. “The Mehsud faction believes in preventing the perpetrators of atrocities against the poor and in helping the helpless,” he said. Earlier this month, Fazlullah had attempted to stop the internecine strife by appointing Sheikh Khalid Haqqani as acting chief of the South Waziristan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Mehsud), which has helped recruit most of the Taliban’s manpower. The move backfired: it stiffened leader Mehsud’s opposition to Fazlullah. The split comes as good news for Pakistan, whose recent relative tranquility has been bolstered by a Taliban distracted by housekeeping.