Al-Qaeda-Inspired Group Launches as Islamic State Alternative in Pakistan

AFP/STR

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, Sept. 12, 2017:

Former al-Qaeda fighters have launched a new group in terrorist safe haven Pakistan for jihadists who have severed ties with the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) branch in the region.

Although the new group claims it has no official links to al-Qaeda or any other foreign terrorist group, it concedes that Osama bin Laden, the former al-Qaeda leader who was killed by the U.S. military, inspired its ideology, reports Voice of America (VOA).

ISIS and al-Qaeda are considered to be enemies.

Two former al-Qaeda members who had grown disgruntled with the terrorist group this year reportedly assembled the new jihadist group, dubbed Ansar al-Sharia Pakistan.

“The group was allegedly created to operate as a platform for militants who have parted ways with IS [Islamic State] in the country, it said in an online statement. It claimed to be active in several parts of the country,” notes VOA.

In an announcement disseminated through a Twitter account, Ansar al-Sharia Pakistan declared, “We give glad tidings to Muslim Ummah [community] that a large number of Mujahideen [jihadists] from Karachi, Punjab, and tribal areas are leaving ranks of IS and announce disassociation with [it].”

ISIS has “spread differences” and “secession instead of unity,” said the new terrorist group, which has vowed to continue its struggle through “jihad” against “infidel and apostates.”

VOA concedes that it was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the Twitter account linked to the newly formed jihadist organization.

However, the counterterrorism department of the Karachi police has acknowledged the new group’s existence, revealing that it maintains a presence in the Pakistani territory between Sindh and Baluchistan provinces.

Pakistani authorities believe the newly-emerged group primarily operates out of Pakistan’s largest city Karachi, which is also considered to house a significant presence of terrorists affiliated with the South Asia-based al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) branch.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Saeed, the head of the Rangers paramilitary security force in Karachi, told local reporters that among the members of the new group are individuals with masters degrees in applied physics.

As it expanded its foothold in Pakistan, the local Islamic State branch known as the Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) reportedly recruited from a pool of individuals with sophisticated skills at universities across the country, including students, doctors, lawyers, journalists, and businessmen, and also used women for its fundraising operations.

Maj. Saeed revealed that Ansar al-Sharia Pakistan also has female members.

Terrorist groups in the region, namely the Pakistani Taliban or Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), have been engaged in efforts to recruit female jihadists, taking a page from ISIS’s playbook.

The U.S. military has linked TTP with the Islamic State, noting that the majority of ISIS-K members are former Pakistani Taliban jihadists.

Afghan and Pakistani Taliban members considered themselves to belong to two distinct groups with separate goals and led by different people.

The formation of the new jihadist group is a testament to the ongoing presence of al-Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, nearly 16 years after the U.S. military was deployed to defeat the terrorist organization in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the American homeland.

Despite the trillions of American taxpayer dollars invested in defeating the Afghan Taliban and its ally al-Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the thousands of U.S. military service members killed and injured trying to carry out that mission, the two groups are believed to have grown stronger in recent years.

In its latest assessment of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001, the Pentagon notes:

The Afghanistan-Pakistan border region remains a sanctuary for various groups, including al Qaeda, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e- Tayyiba, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), ISIS-K, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Sanctuary on the Pakistan side and presence on the Afghan side remain a security challenge for both countries and pose a threat to regional security and stability.

Echoing Indian and Afghan officials, the Pentagon has long accused Pakistan of harboring terrorist groups, particularly the Afghan Taliban, al-Qaeda, and their ally the Haqqani Network, considered one of the top threats facing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Islamabad denies the allegations.

Ansar al-Sharia Pakistan, the newly formed terrorist group, has already been linked to several terrorist attacks in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, notes VOA, citing counterterrorism authorities in Islamabad.

The name “Ansar al-Sharia” has been used by jihadists groups in various countries affiliated with al-Qaeda.

In particular, the allegedly dissolved al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya that the U.S. believes was behind the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans called itself Ansar al-Sharia in Libya (ASL).

Nevertheless, the newly-formed Ansar al-Sharia Pakistan insists it is not officially linked to any foreign terrorist organization, particularly al-Qaeda.

FBI, Media, Play Dumb on Chattanooga Shooter

Center form Security Policy, by Kyle Shideler, Sep. 24, 2015:

The FBI and the media continue to appear completely dumbfounded as to what caused Mohammed Youssef Abdulazeez to open fire on a Tennessee recruiting station. That’s despite evidence, (cited on this blog and elsewhere) that identified Abdulazeez’s preferred mosque, the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga (ISGC) for its Muslim Brotherhood ties and overt support for Jihad. It’s also despite the FBI’s own assertion that Abdulazeez was a supporter of the late MB and Al Qaeda ideologue Anwar Al-Awlaki.

And yet utter cluelessness reigns in the ranks of the media and, at least publicly, in the FBI:

The test-drive [of a Ford Mustang, the same model vehicle used to commit the crime] could be an indication of the level of premeditation Abdulazeez put into his attack. The Hixson resident also researched martyrdom online, bought ammunition on July 11 and donned a load-bearing vest that allowed him to carry extra ammunition. Although it’s been more than two months since the shooting brought Chattanooga to a halt, Federal Bureau of Investigation officials have not yet said what motivated Abdulazeez or whether he was connected to known terrorist groups.

One thing that is clear is that Abdulazeez was thousands of dollars in debt.

The author goes on to focus on debts owed by Abdulazeez before his death. The intended inference appears to be that Abdulazeez was motivated not by thoughts of jihad, but due to a feeling of helplessness at his financial situation.

As ludicrous as this is, its not the first time this motivation substitution has been tried. In the case of would be Time Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, the media likewise attempted to paint Shahzad as down on his luck, rather than up to no good:

But unable to pay the mortgage or a $65,000 home equity loan, the couple abandoned their home to foreclosure last summer, putting broken furniture and old clothes up for sale. A heating oil company chased them for non-payment of bills.

The portrait of failure that emerged Tuesday sheds new light on the 31-year-old former financial analyst — reportedly the son of a senior Pakistani Air Force officer — who U.S. officials say has admitted parking a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder packed with fireworks, gasoline and propane on one of New York’s busiest streets Saturday. The car bomb failed to explode.

Shahzad also admitted to the FBI that he was trained at a Pakistani Taliban training camp for terrorists, and was also identified as having ties to Al-awlaki.

The stubborn refusal to even consider ideological factors, and to ignore them even when they are evident, has turned U.S. terrorism investigations and certainly U.S. media coverage, into a farce.

Is it too much to ask for a restoration of the principle of Occam’s razor instead of what appears to be a pathological need to propose some motive, any motive, other than the clear and obvious one stated by the perpetrators themselves?

ISIS Eyes Iran in AF/PAK Expansion Effort, Targets Mullah Omar in IO Campaign

February 22, 2015 / /

Reporting over the last couple of weeks suggests that the Islamic State’s (IS) Khorasan Regional Command or “Khorasan Shura” has stepped up their efforts to further inflame internal divisions within the Taliban (TB) in the hopes it would lead to more defections. The IO campaign they’ve been waging in the AF/PAK region has called into question Mullah Omar’s fitness to be a leader in the global jihadist movement and whether he’s even alive. In early-JAN 15 TB Shura Chief Akhtar Muhammad Mansur and other Shura members are reported to have met with two IS representatives who threatened to increase their operations in two months if the TB couldn’t prove that Mullah Omar was still alive. Our sources have also informed us that Pakistani Taliban (TTP) Emir Maulawi Fazlullah remains loyal to Omar, but may defect to IS if his death is confirmed. Apparently the question of whether or not Omar is alive has been a big subject of debate, with other TTP commanders wondering if Fazlullah has even been in contact with him. As it stands right now, Omar’s current status remains a mystery. Having said that, IS directly challenging Omar’s legitimacy and suggesting that he’s dead appears to be having an effect in at least planting the seeds of further internal unrest among the ranks.

ISIS Reportedly Begins Targeting Taliban Commanders Loyal to al-Qaida
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4593

ISIS Formally Establishes an Affiliate for the AF/PAK Region
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4578

The terrifying rise of ISIS: Map that shows how terror group’s tentacles now reach from Algeria to Afghanistan
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2960463/The-terrifying-rise-ISIS-Map-shows-terror-group-s-tentacles-reach-Algeria-Afghanistan.html

How ISIS Has Expanded Beyond Its Syrian Stronghold
http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/18/387149112/how-isis-has-expanded-beyond-its-syrian-stronghold

ISIS vs. the Taliban: The Battle for Hearts and Minds
http://www.vocativ.com/world/afghanistan-world/isis-vs-taliban/

The Coming Fight for Khorasan: IS Gearing up Against the Taliban
https://news.siteintelgroup.com/blog/index.php/entry/362-the-coming-fight-for-khorasan-is-gearing-up-against-the-taliban

US Afghan commander: Reports of ISIS recruiting
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/229783-us-afghan-commander-reports-of-isis-recruiting

ISIS trying to expand its influence in Pakistan, distributes pamphlets
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/ISIS-trying-to-expand-its-influence-in-Pakistan-distributes-pamphlets/articleshow/41618755.cms

Taliban Supreme leader Mullah Omar has possibly died
http://www.khaama.com/taliban-supreme-leader-mullah-omar-has-possibly-died-8778

Mullah Omar’s whereabouts – and very existence – shrouded in mystery
http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/pakistan-articles/caii/features/pakistan/main/2014/09/30/feature-01

mullah Fazlullah

Mullah Fazlullah
Source: SITE Intelligence Group

mullah omar

Mullah Omar: Dead or Alive?
Source: tribune.com.pk

One of the figures who played a key role in establishing the IS foothold in the region is a former TB commander Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim, who served as the Shadow Governor of Uruzgan Province from 2007 – 2009 and did a stint in Guantanamo Bay (GITMO). After his release from GITMO, he had a falling out with TB leadership that led to his marginalization within the terror organization and subsequent defection to IS. He was a key player in the IS expansion efforts currently underway in Helmand Province and led the charge in the red-on-red fight against the TB’s Helmand Shadow Governor Mullah Ahmed Shah. The US government claims to have killed Khadim in a drone strike earlier this month, but we have not yet seen confirmation either way. However, whether he’s dead or not is irrelevant as he wasn’t a member of the Khorasan Shura – which remains largely intact.

ISIS recruiter, once freed from Gitmo by U.S., killed in drone strike in Afghanistan
http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/09/world/afghanistan-violence/

Capture the Flag in Afghanistan
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/01/22/capture-the-flag-in-afghanistan/

Islamic State Appoints Leaders of “Khorasan Province,” Issues Veiled Threat to Afghan Taliban
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/01/islamic_state_appoin.php

khorasan shura

Breakdown of the Khorasan Shura
Source: The Long War Journal

In our Inside Iran’s Middle East Series piece titled, “Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Southeast Insurgency,” we stated that either al-Qaida (AQ) or IS may attempt to use the Afghanistan and Pakistan as support nodes for a new front opened up in Southeast Iran to force the regime into diverting resources from the Syrian war effort back to home. IS’ expansion efforts in Afghanistan’s Southern provinces adds weight to this assessment as those locations all fall within known routes used to smuggle opium and weapons between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Keep in mind that AQ’s Khorasan Group (KG) has a great deal of experience in fighting the IRGC inside Iran that resulted in forging relationships with Baloch groups such as Jundallah. More importantly, some of KG’s personnel that deployed to Syria are reported to have defected to IS.

We assess some of those personnel are part of the training support package that was sent to Afghanistan in the DEC 14/JAN 15 time frame or possibly earlier. The training cadre sent to the country are likely still in the assess-mode taking note of each loyal faction’s strength’s and weaknesses to draw up the training plan that will probably take effect by the end of this month. During this year’s fighting season Afghanistan’s Hazara Shia population may begin to experience the same level of targeting that they received prior to 9-11 as a means of getting Iran’s attention and building notoriety. Red on red violence will also pick up. By AUG the IS affiliates will be fully trained with recruits gaining much-needed experience. We could very well well see former KG members who defected to IS leading the engagement efforts reaching out to Jundallah (and other Baloch groups in Iran) by the end of the year. Jundallah – like everybody else in that part of the world – will likely flip to IS’ side after being offered money, weapons and manpower to accelerate their regenerative process. The leadership of the various Baloch groups may not approve of IS’ ideology or even the legitimacy of Baghdadi’s “Caliphate” – to them it would be a marriage of convenience. However, this will be a project that will take at least another year to fully manifest itself. If you think this will be easier for US troops stationed in Afghanistan, think again, because both IS and TB factions loyal to AQ will be competing for the title of who can launch the more high-profile attacks. Needless to say, this year’s fighting season looks to be one of the worst. Keep an eye on this one…

Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Southeast Insurgency
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2689

ISIS (Daesh) start operations in Helmand, residents claim
http://www.khaama.com/isis-daesh-start-operations-in-helmand-residents-claim

ISIS expansion map

The graphic above depicts IS’ expansion from the Maghreb to Afghanistan and Pakistan
Source: UK Daily Mail

Links to Other Related Articles:

Afghanistan Update – Yes, Things Are Getting Worse Contrary To US Government Claims

Afghanistan: A Case Against a Residual US Military Presence

The History and Capabilities of the Khorasan Group

The Khorasan Group: Threat to US Homeland?

US Government: Syria-Based al-Qaida Cell Bigger Threat Than ISIS

Pakistan Massacre Organizer Vows More Killings

A screengrab from a Taliban video shows Khalifa Omar Mansoor, named by the Pakistani Taliban as the organizer of the attack on a Peshawar school attended by children of military personnel, promising more such attacks.

A screengrab from a Taliban video shows Khalifa Omar Mansoor, named by the Pakistani Taliban as the organizer of the attack on a Peshawar school attended by children of military personnel, promising more such attacks.

By SYED SHOAIB HASAN:

KARACHI, Pakistan—The self-proclaimed organizer of the assault that killed 132 schoolchildren this week in the Pakistani city of Peshawar vowed in a video Thursday that his fighters would attack more schools and other civilian targets.

Khalifa Omar Mansoor, named by the Pakistani Taliban as the man who organized the attack, appeared in a short video that was uploaded to a site used by the militants for distributing propaganda videos.

Mr. Mansoor said the group would continue to strike civilians in revenge for Pakistani military operations under way in the country’s North Waziristan tribal area to destroy al Qaeda and Taliban havens. He said that ordinary Pakistanis have disregarded the plight of residents there.

Pakistan’s security forces say they are focused on taking out the Taliban, but some civilian casualties are inevitable. They deny there have been large-scale civilian casualties

“This is something we cannot accept anymore, and if you continue to target our women and children, then your children will not be safe anymore,” he said Mr. Mansoor. “We announce that we will not discriminate in our attacks any longer, and will be as unconcerned as you are.”

The Pakistani military began its North Waziristan offensive in June. It is the last of the tribal areas being cleared by the Pakistani army, and the operation has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians.According to Pakistani security experts, Mr. Mansoor is the head of the Pakistani Taliban chapter that originates from the tribal region of Darra Adam Khel, in northwestern Pakistan. The group grabbed international headlines in 2009 when it beheaded a kidnapped Polish engineer.

The attack in Peshawar, which claimed 148 lives, was on the city’s Army Public School. The school served the children of army personnel as well as the children of civilians. Pakistan has 146 Army Public Schools around the country, and many other schools administered by other arms of the military.

Mr. Mansoor threatened to target similar institutions around the country.

“I want to tell the Pakistan government, and the directors, teachers and students of the army’s affiliated institutions, that you are the ones strengthening this un-Islamic democratic system,” he said. “It is these institutions that graduate future generals, brigadiers and majors, who then kill Taliban and innocent tribal people.”

Read more at WSJ

Also see:

Pakistani Taliban assault military high school in Peshawar

Pakistani army personnel patrol the streets following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. – AFP

Pakistani army personnel patrol the streets following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. – AFP

LWJ, By

A suicide assault team from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (or Pakistani Taliban) stormed a military high school in Peshawar today. It is one of the deadliest jihadist attacks in the country’s history. According to initial reporting, the attackers have killed more than 130 people, including dozens of children.

At least six Taliban fighters armed with assault weapons and suicide vests entered the Army Public School in Peshawar, the capital of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, this morning. The fighters fanned out through the school and killed everyone in their path, according to press reports.

Shahrukh Khan, a child who survived the attack by feigning death after being shot in both legs, told Agence France Presse (AFP) that the Taliban fighters were instructed to kill the students. The terrorists deliberately executed students who were already wounded.

“There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them,” one Taliban fighter told another, according to Khan.

“The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again,” Khan stated. The fighters shouted “Allahu Akbar,” or Allah is greatest, as they executed the children.

Pakistani officials have stated that 131 people have been killed, including more than 100 students, but warned that the death toll may rise.

At least 15 explosions were heard during the fighting, Dawn reported. Pakistani security forces surrounded the building and assaulted as the Taliban continued to execute students and staff. The military claimed it killed six Taliban fighters, but more may have been involved in the attack. Troops are still searching the building for Taliban fighters and survivors.

Muhammad Khurasani, the official spokesman for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, claimed the gruesome assault and admitted that his fighters intentionally targeted civilians.

“We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,” Khurasani said, according to Reuters. “We want them to feel the pain.” Khurasani is referring to the current Pakistani military operation in the tribal agencies of North Waziristan and Khyber, which are adjacent to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Pakistani military is targeting the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and jihadist organizations such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, but is leaving groups such as the Haqqani Network and the Hafiz Gul Bahadar Group alone.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has targeted military high school students in the past. In 2009, the jihadist group kidnapped hundreds of students as they fled their military school in Ramzak, North Waziristan. The Taliban ultimately released the students as part of a prisoner exchange.

The Taliban has also launched numerous attacks on soft targets such as churches, mosques, shrines, markets, hotels, and even hospitals. Thousands of civilians have been killed in those attacks since the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan was formed in late 2006.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has also targeted the US. In an email first sent to The Long War Journal, the group claimed responsibility for the May 2010 attempted bombing in New York City’s Times Square. [See LWJ report, Pakistani Taliban claim credit for failed NYC Times Square car bombing.]

The US has targeted the organization’s top commanders as part of its drone campaign. Baitullah Mehsud, the group’s founder and first leader, was killed by an American missile in August 2009. In late 2013, Baitullah’s successor, Hakeemullah Mehsud, was also killed in an American airstrike. Hakeemullah had gloated over the failed Times Square attack in the group’s propaganda prior to his demise.

Hakeemullah was replaced by Mullah Fazlullah, but his appointment as emir of the Pakistani Taliban proved to be unpopular within the terrorist group’s ranks. Earlier this year, key constituencies that were part of Baitullah’s original coalition began peeling away to go on their own. Much of the group founded by Baitullah no longer answers to Fazlullah. One of the larger blocs to break away from Fazlullah’s leadership has rebranded itself as the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. Other commanders have reportedly pledged their allegiance to Islamic State emir Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

[For more on the dissolution of the original Pakistani Taliban alliance, see LWJ report: Discord dissolves Pakistani Taliban coalition.]

Pakistan: State Sponsor of Terrorism?

by Christine Williams:

“The civilian government there [Pakistan] doesn’t control military policy, strategic policy… the army and the intelligence service do.” — Chris Alexander, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Pakistan’s High Commission to Canada rebuked Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander for calling Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism. “Pakistan is not a state sponsor of terrorism, as naively alleged by Mr. Alexander, but is itself a victim of terrorism, determined to fight this menace and extend every possible co-operation to our neighbors and allies in this regard,” said Press Counselor Nazia Khalid.

Alexander, who served as Canada’s ambassador in Afghanistan and authored the book, “The Long Way Back: Afghanistan’s Quest for Peace,” stated on a CBC television news program that “[t]he civilian government there [Pakistan] doesn’t control military policy, strategic policy… but the army and the intelligence service do…. and they have denied the obvious, postponed this reckoning for years with so many terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.”

 

Chris Alexander, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (2nd from right), pictured in 2005 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, during his time as Ambassador. (Image source: Screenshot from Chris Alexander YouTube video)

Alexander stated that the international community urgently needs to address the situation in Pakistan, as it is connected to other trouble spots including Syria, Iraq and Russia.

Alexander’s reference to Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism is far from naïve. It was further highlighted by his press secretary, Alexis Pavlich, who stated: “It is not just that these terrorist groups continue to operate from Pakistani territory: they also enjoy official, albeit covert, sanction and support from some within Pakistan’s state apparatus.”

A report by the Council on Foreign Relations, “Pakistan’s New Generation of Terrorists“, suggests there is nothing naïve about Alexander’s warnings about Pakistan. Its commitment to counterterrorism came into question in May 2011, when U.S. commandos killed al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden at a compound not far from Islamabad, and it was discovered that members of al-Qaeda’s leadership, as well as the Afghan Taliban, were living and operating out of Pakistan’s tribal areas and had combined forces with several militant insurgent groups, including the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network, believed to be supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.

According to a Reuters report , in late 2011, the Obama administration created a special unit based in Kabul to coordinate efforts against the Haqqani militant group. The organization had been named in “some of the most audacious attacks of the Afghan war,” including storming hotels popular with foreigners; bombing the Indian embassy in Kabul, and a 2011 attack on the U.S. embassy.

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when Pakistan joined Washington presumably as an ally in combatting terrorism, analysts have accused Pakistan’s security and intelligence services of playing a “double game” and aiding militant groups fighting NATO in Afghanistan. In 2002, supporters of the Afghan Taliban sought refuge in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Five years later, over a dozen disparate militant groups united under the umbrella of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban. It was led by Baitullah Mehsud of South Waziristan, whom Pakistani authorities accused of orchestrating the December 2007 assassination of Pakistan’s former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. Authorities produced an intercepted audio communication in which Mehsudreportedly confirmed that his men were responsible for the attack.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Pakistan Calls Out U.S. for Hit on World’s Most Wanted Terrorist

Taliban leader killed

The cost of Pakistan’s morally bankrupt policy has been the death of thousands and thousands of Americans, Afghanis and Pakistanis.

BY RYAN MAURO:

A U.S. drone has killed Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, the terrorist behind the failed Times Square bombing in 2010 and countless attacks in Pakistan. The U.S. is doing the job that the Pakistani should be doing—and the response of America’s “ally” is furor, not appreciation.

Pakistan’s policy towards the Taliban is filled with contradictions and false hope. It treats the Afghan Taliban as a proxy, while it battles the Pakistani Taliban branch that wants to overthrow the government. The cost of this inconsistent and morally bankrupt policy has been thousands and thousands of American, Afghan and Pakistani lives.

The U.S. killed Mehsud just three days before Pakistani government representatives were due to meet with him for peace talks. One of Mehsud’s demands for peace was the imposition of Sharia law, so these negotiations were bound to go nowhere. Still, the Pakistani government invested its hopes in the imagined reasonableness of the Pakistani Taliban and Mehsud—and is furious at the U.S., at least publicly.

Tellingly, Pakistan’s interior minister didn’t point to Mehsud’s record – namely, his involvement in capturing about 300 Pakistani soldiers in 2007; killing U.S. soldiers; killing Afghan and Pakistani civilians; his ties to Al-Qaeda or his role in the attempted car bomb detonation in New York City in 2010.

Instead, Pakistan’s interior Minister said the U.S. killed him in order to “sabotage” peace talks. The foreign minister joined in, saying the strike “is not just the killing of one person, it’s the death of all peace efforts.” The people hearing these words are led to think that it is the U.S., not the Taliban, who is prolonging the war.

 

 

Read more at Clarion Project