PAK Top Taliban commanders “at each other’s throats”
ISLAMABAD – Al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani militants have held a series of meetings aimed at containing what could soon be open warfare between the two most powerful Pakistani Taliban leaders, militant sources have said.
Hakimullah Mehsud, the head of the Pakistani Taliban, also known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and his deputy, Wali-ur-Rehman, were at each other’s throats, the sources said.
“You will soon hear that one of them has eliminated the other, though hectic efforts are going on by other commanders and common friends to resolve differences between the two,” one TTP commander said.
Any division within the TTP could hinder the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda’s struggle in Afghanistan against the United States and its allies, making it more difficult to recruit young fighters and disrupting safe havens in Pakistan used by the Afghan militants.
Despite multiple reports of the Rehman-Mehsud split, Rehman told Reuters on Tuesday there was no problem between the two.
“There are no differences between us,” Rehman said.
The TTP, formed in 2007, is an umbrella group of various Pakistani militant factions operating in Pakistan’s unruly northwestern tribal areas along the porous border with Afghanistan.
It has long struggled with its choice of targets. Some factions are at war with the Pakistani state while others concentrate on the fight against the United States and its allies in Afghanistan.
There has been a noticeable decrease in militant attacks in Pakistan, but there continue to be random acts of violence across the country.
Al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban commanders are asking the TTP to provide more men for the fight in Afghanistan and are looking to smooth over the dispute between Mehsud and Rehman.