Target Americans not Pak army: Mullah Omar
Following the intervention of one-eyed Omar, the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban formed a joint five-member `shura` or council with other Pakistani militant groups on Sunday to oversee an end to attacks on Pakistani forces, The News daily quoted its sources in the Taliban as saying. Mullah Omar has not surfaced since the flight of the Taliban from Kabul in 2001 and according to reports is sheltering in and around Quetta, the capital of Pakistan`s restive southwestern Balochistan province.
The new `shura` includes the Haqqani network and powerful commanders of the groups led by Maulvi Nazeer and Hafiz Gul Bahadur who have already signed a peace deal with the Pakistan army. The new entrants into the shura are the factions of Pakistani Taliban led by Hakimullah Mehsud and Maulana Waliur Rahman from South Waziristan. The moves to unite factions of Afghan and Pakistani Taliban comes in the wake of pressure by the US government on Islamabad to take military action against these groups believed to be a massed in North Waziristan.
The five-member `shura` with other Pakistani militant groups made a pledge to "stop their fight against their own armed forces and instead focus their attention against the US-led forces in Afghanistan", The News said. The council was created after weeks of hectic efforts. A high-level delegation of the Afghan Taliban, sent by the militants` supreme leader Mullah Omar, "succeeded in bringing together different Pakistani militant groups on a single platform", the report said.
The Afghan Taliban delegation also succeeded in getting the new council to make a promise that the militants "would stop fighting the Pakistani security forces and end suicide attacks, kidnappings for ransom and killing of innocent people in the country, particularly in the militancy-hit tribal areas". The Taliban sources said Mullah Omar was unhappy with the Pakistani Taliban for carrying out suicide attacks, kidnapping people for ransom and killing innocent people. He sent his senior commanders to persuade the Pakistani Taliban to stop "un-Islamic" activities or to stop referring to him as their supreme leader.
Mullah Omar was worried by the "increasing number of Pakistani Taliban diverting their attention from Afghanistan to Pakistan and making it difficult for the Afghan Taliban to continue their resistance against the powerful NATO and ISAF forces", the sources claimed. The supreme commander, according to the Taliban sources, wanted Pakistani Taliban factions to focus on Afghanistan, where the fight against the foreign forces was in a "decisive phase".
An unnamed Taliban leader quoted Mullah Omar as saying: "Convey my message to the Pakistani Taliban that you have forgotten the real purpose, which is to fight the invading forces in Afghanistan and liberate it from their occupation." The Taliban leader said Mullah Omar was "very upset" at frequent kidnapping of people on suspicion of spying for US forces and their merciless killing and urged the Pakistani Taliban to stop it immediately.
The Taliban on Sunday issued a leaflet in North Waziristan in which all militant groups were directed to stop kidnapping for ransom and killing of innocent people. The militants said the five-member `shura` or council would investigate any complaints about such incidents and suggest punishments for any group that is found guilty. The militant groups provided one member each for the five-member shura that was also tasked with resolving differences between the factions and discouraging kidnapping for ransom and killing of innocent people.
Analysts expressed surprise on learning that the pamphlet had stated that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan leader Hakimullah Mehsud and his deputy Waliur Rahman had sent different persons to represent them in the shura. Hakimullah Mehsud named Maulvi Noor Saeed, the TTP leader in Orakzai Agency, as his representative while Waliur Rahman said Maulvi Azmatullah would represent him. Some sources argued that Hakimullah Mehsud`s nominee would represent the TTP while Waliur Rahman`s representative was in the council on behalf of the Taliban of South Waziristan.
The Haqqani network chose Maulvi Saeedullah, Hafiz Gul Bahadur selected Maulvi Sadar Hayat and Maulvi Nazeer nominated Hafiz Ameer Hamza as their representatives in the council that is called the "Shura-e-Murakeba". The militant groups were directed to cooperate with shura members. The militant commanders warned that any individual or group found guilty of wrongdoing would be dealt with according to Shariah or Islamic law.