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Taliban commander Mehsud threatens fresh attacks in Pak

By Tahir Ali
August 04, 2012 17:00 IST
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In his Ramzan message, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan commander Hakimullah Mehsud has appealed to the mujahideen's to put aside their differences. Tahir Ali reports from Islamabad.    

The commander-in-chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Hakimullah Mehsud has warned that the Taliban has extended guerilla war to the settled areas of the country and are close to striking fresh targets.  

Mehsud's message appeared on Al-Jihad media asking fellow militants to be united and not to indulge in activities that could create rifts amongst the mujahideen.

He has also asked the Muslims Ummah to pray in the holy month of Ramadan for the mujahideen who are fighting against the infidel forces all around the world.

"The mujahideen have started guerilla wars in the settled areas of the country like Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar. Pakistani and United States offices, buildings and other installations are on target while in the tribal areas the Taliban are targeting Pakistani government officials," said Hakimullah Mehsud in his Ramzan message.

Mehsud said that Swati Taliban have carried out successful attack in Dir, Swat and Chitral bordering areas with Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military had carried out successful military operations against Maulana Fazlullah-led militants in Swat and Dir in 2009, while in 2008, the Taliban were pushed back from Bajuar Agency to the nearby Afghan districts of Kunar and Nuristan. However, Maulana Fazlullah, who was the deputy leader of the TTP in the Swat valley, has reunited his men inside Afghanistan and has launched attacks on Pakistani security forces over the bordering areas of Dir, Chitral and Bajaur.

The government of Pakistan has repeatedly condemned Afghanistan and the NATO forces for ignoring the training centers of the Swati Taliban inside Kunar and Nuristan.

"Due to the continuous attacks in Swat, Dir, Chitral we are regaining control of different areas. In 2008, Baitullah Mehsud (then the TTP head) waged a holy war on the government of Pakistan and the tribal and semi tribal areas. The war was also extended to the settled areas of Dir, Swat, Buner. But due to change of strategy we pulled back our fighters from some areas", said Mehsud.

Mehsud has termed the defeat of the Taliban in Swat, Buner, Dir and Bajaur as a part of their war strategy but these were the areas where the Pakistani army achieved victory over the Taliban in its true sense.

The TTP head also talked about the disunity of the Taliban. He said that news about the rifts and grouping of Taliban leaderships appear in the local and international media a on regular basis, and in order to overcome these issues the Taliban has hired the services of Ulemas who deliver sermons to the Taliban fighters about unity.

"There are Ulemas who teach mujahideen Islam and the Shariah-e-Muhammadi. When there are issues amongst the mujahideen, the Ulema handle these in accordance to Shariah-e-Muhammadi," said Mehsud.

"I request the mujahideen to please shun their differences, to follow Shariah-e-Muhammadi and be united against the infidel forces (both Pakistani and NATO forces) that are near to defeat. It would only be the disunity amongst the ranks of the mujahideen that would save the enemies from shameful defeat. I request the Muslim Ummah to pray for the mujahideen success during the holy month," said Hakimullah Mehsud.

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Tahir Ali in Islamabad