A statement was issued by the Al Qaeda leadership about Shinwari being chosen the new head of the terrorist network in Pakistan, The News daily quoted its sources as saying on Monday. Unnamed local officials confirmed the development, the report said.
The statement issued by al Qaeda's dawa wing said 30-year-old Shinwari was made the head of the network in Pakistan after consultations and approval by the top Al Qaeda leadership.
The statement cited Shinwari's knowledge about Pakistan's tribal belt and his close affiliation with slain Al Qaeda commander Badr Mansoor as reasons for his appointment.
The statement cited the names of Al Qaeda leaders like Badr Mansoor and Osama bin Laden and said they sacrificed their lives for the sake of Islam. Al Qaeda commanders based in Pakistan were not involved in making the decision and they only ratified it, the daily quoted its sources as saying.
Shinwari was close to Badr Mansoor, the Al Qaeda leader who was killed in a United States drone attack in North Waziristan on February 9 last year.
Four of his brothers have been involved in terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir with groups like the Harkat-ul-Ansar. A resident of Landikotal in Khyber agency, Shinwari is fluent in English and computer literate. He belongs to the Khugakhel sub-tribe of the Shinwari tribe and has five brothers.
Shinwari has a BSc degree in chemistry and biology from Landikotal Degree College and did his Master's in international relations from the University of Peshawar, securing a first division. He worked as a teacher in several private schools in Landikotal, teaching chemistry and biology for some years.
The report described him as an "eloquent speaker on issues of jihad". He married about three years ago and has two children.
All of Shinwari's brothers are affiliated with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and other militant groups. His elder brother Hazrat Nabi Shinwari, alias Tamanchy Mullah, was a theology teacher in a government-run school in Landikotal. He led the Taliban in Khyber Agency in 2005 and used to send militants to Jammu and Kashmir and Afghanistan.
Hazrat Nabi also served as the head of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and is nowadays said to be leading his own faction of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in Waziristan. Hazrat Ali alias Abu Mas'ab, another of Shinwari's brothers, heads a Taliban faction called the Abdullah Azam Brigade.
Shinwari's other brothers are Rehmat Nabi, Matiullah and Raziullah, who have all fought in Jammu and Kashmir with the Harkat-ul-Ansar. They later joined the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
When Pakistani security forces launched an action against militants in Landikotal in 2008, members of Shinwari's family moved to Waziristan. The troops demolished their house at Khugakhel village and arrested several members of his family.