Pakistani Taliban Splits As Divisions
Grow Within Insurgency
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[May 28, 2014]
By Javed Hussain and Saud Mehsud
PARACHINAR/DERA ISMAIL KHAN Pakistan
(Reuters) - The Pakistan Taliban split into two groups on Wednesday,
highlighting growing divisions within the movement and diminishing the
government's chances of finding a negotiated settlement with the
The split is between two rival groups from the powerful Mehsud
tribe which provides the Taliban the bulk of their money and
fighters from its base in the South Waziristan region.
The breakaway group is in favour of peace talks with the government
while the main insurgency has announced that it will continue
attacks against government and security targets.
"The (Taliban's) present leadership and fighters have become a band
of paid killers involved in un-Islamic activities like killings,
robberies, extortion and kidnappings for ransom," Azam Tariq, a
spokesman for the breakaway faction, told Reuters.
The Taliban leadership could not be reached for comment.
The Pakistani Taliban – separate to but allied with the Afghan
Taliban – is already fractured, a loose union of groups who often
fight with each other.
The latest split diminishes hopes the government can find a
negotiated peace deal with the insurgents deeply divided over
whether to talk to the government.
All Pakistani Taliban leaders have been Mehsuds except for the
current chief who took power in a bitterly contested struggle last
On one side is a commander called Khan "Sajna" Said, who supports
peace talks with the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,
Taliban commanders said.
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His rival, Shehryar Mehsud, is against the tentative talks that
began in February, and one of his commanders said attacks on the
government would go on regardless.
Both Afghan and Pakistani insurgent leaders have issued a series of
urgent appeals for unity in recent weeks after clashes between rival
commanders killed scores of Taliban fighters.
Senior Taliban commanders in Pakistan and Afghanistan said on
Wednesday that they had called a meeting of the leadership council
to discuss the latest split.
(Writing by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Editing by Maria Golovnina and
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