The Pakistani Taliban has switched allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which has been vying for supremacy with the al-Qaeda in the region, and vowed to send jihadists to help the ruthless terror group. Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) headed by fugitive
Mullah Fazlullah issued a statement on Saturday ahead of Eid ul-Azha, expressing support for the ISIS or IS, which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself as Caliph of the Islamic State. TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid sent Fazlullah’s Eid message to media which said that all Muslim fighters in the Middle East should unite for the greater good. “We consider the fighters in Iraq and Syria as our brothers and are proud of their victories. We are their part and parcel in times of joy and sadness,” the statement said.
“The Muslim nation has great expectations from the fighters in Iraq and Syria. We are with you in the hour of trial and will support you in all possible ways,” it added. IS is a splinter group of the al-Qaeda which has distanced itself from the outfit, chiding it for its aggressive and brutal expansion.
Al-Qaeda, which includes dozens of Pakistan-based terror groups and sectarian outfits, is facing challenges from IS which is trying to extend its influence into South Asia. Despite the rhetoric of militants, it is highly unlikely that Taliban at this stage are in a position to help the IS or other militant groups in Middle East.
Taliban command and control system has been destroyed by army in North Waziristan and they are constantly on the run. They have also suffered internal splits and some powerful militants like Omer Khalid Khurasani have parted ways with the group by creating Jamaat-ul-Ahrar outfit.
Similarly, TTP lost support of Taliban’s Punjabi faction whose leader Asmatullah Muawiya has announced not to fight the Pakistani security forces. There are several question marks whether the TTP can send its jihadists to fight on the side of IS due to geographical
and logistical problems. As far as support through money or weapons is concerned, the Taliban is not a rich organisation to give material support to others.
In the past, TTP could help other militant group by offering a handful of suicide bombers, but it seems that the outfit is running short of them as there is dramatic decline in such attacks since North Waziristan operation where their centers to train suicide bombers have been destroyed.