Rift Within Pakistan Taliban Grows
Conflict Intensifies Between Late Leader’s Wing, Group Interested in Peace Talks With Government
By YAROSLAV TROFIMOV
Nov. 17, 2013
KARACHI, Pakistan—A deadly rift within Pakistan’s Taliban network has deepened since a U.S. drone strike killed the group’s chief this month, militants and officials said, with the late leader’s hard-line wing challenged by commanders interested in pursuing peace negotiations with the government.
In recent weeks, members of these two factions of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have been killing each other, both in TTP’s main stronghold of North Waziristan on the Afghan border, and in the southern metropolis of Karachi, where vast urban neighborhoods are under effective Taliban control.The Shawal valley in Waziristan, in particular, has become a flashpoint…
…“The charismatic leadership of Hakimullah Mehsud had kept the organization together, and Mullah Fazlullah doesn’t have that,” said Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, an international terrorism specialist at the University of Peshawar. “This is the first time that a certain difference of opinion has been expressed. When the leadership of a terrorist organization is contested by some of its members, that’s the moment when there will be some cracks within the organization.”
These cracks are likely to further radicalize the group as its rival factions “fight with each other, and all of them try to score points by having more subversive activities,” he said.
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