New Taleban group vows more attacks in Pakistan

Members of the new Pakistani militant outfit pose after their meeting.

Members of the new Pakistani militant outfit pose after their meeting.

ISLAMABAD: A new bloc of the Pakistani Taleban has vowed to carry on the movement’s campaign of bombings and shootings, in the militants’ first video message since a major army assault on their strongholds.

Senior commanders announced the creation of a new hard-line grouping within the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan (TTP) but insisted they were not splitting from the movement.

The Pakistani military has been waging a major assault on TTP bases in North Waziristan tribal area since mid-June and says it has crippled the militants’ command and control structure.

The video, posted online, showed around two dozen Taleban cadres in an undisclosed location, announcing the creation of the new Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group, to be headed by Maulana Qasim Khorasani.

A written statement at the end of the footage vowed to continue an armed struggle for the enforcement of a separate law.

“There were divisions and factions inside the movement and several commanders had broken their ways. This situation compelled us to from a new group,” Qari Shakil Ahmad Haqqani, a senior Taleban commander, said.

The TTP, a loose coalition of different militant outfits, was riven by infighting in the months leading up to the military operation.

In May a faction of the Mehsud tribe cut ties with the TTP. The Mehsuds were widely seen as the most important group in the TTP and their loss was regarded as a major blow. The militants insisted the latest move was not a split.

“Let me make it very clear that we have not broken our ways from TTP,” Omar Khalid, who will head the new group’s intelligence wing, said.

“We want to provide such a platform through which we can continue our struggle in Pakistan.”

UK arrests man over Imran Farooq murder

London police said on Wednesday they had arrested a man in connection with the murder of senior Pakistani politician Imran Farooq who was stabbed to death in the British capital in 2010.

Farooq, 50, a founding member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), was on his way home from work in north London when he was attacked. Police believe he had been under surveillance in the days and weeks before his murder.

His death brought Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi to a standstill after the MQM, the most influential party in Pakistan’s commercial capital, declared 10 days of mourning.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command said they had arrested a 30-year-old man at a house in east London on suspicion of being involved in Farooq’s murder. He has been taken to a central London police station for questioning.

The arrest is the second made by London police in the hunt for Farooq’s killer. In June last year a 52-year-old man was arrested at Heathrow Airport on suspicion of conspiracy to murder after landing on a flight from Canada.

He remains on police bail while detectives continue their investigation and is due to return to a London police station in late October.


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