Is the fratricidal war here?
It was in 2009 that this blog suggested that a fratricidal war among Pakistani militant groups is possible: the likelihood of this happening would increase as long as Pakistani army persisted with its policy of appeasing the United States while simultaneously nurturing Islamist militancy. The Pakistan army has long relied on groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba to act on its behalf—so it is conceivable that they will be employed against Pashtun insurgents, like those belonging to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. (Militant proxies are already being used against insurgents in Balochistan and to terrorise religious minorities in Gilgit-Baltistan).
There were some rumblings of conflict between militant groups the following year. However, this month, the fighting is out in the open.
Mukarram Khurasani, spokesman for the TTP’s Mohmand chapter chief Omar Khaliq, told Dawn.com that hundreds of militants had attacked the Pakistani Taliban positions in Shongrai and the bordering village of Jarobi Darra.
Khurasani also accused Lashkar-i-Taiba commander Haji Abdul Rahim of leading the attackers.
The Taliban’s Mohmand chapter chief also claimed that the attack had been repulsed and said that one attacker was killed while three were injured.
Meanwhile, Lashkar-i-Taiba spokesperson Mahmud Ghaznavi rejected the allegations that the group was involved in the clashes. [Dawn]
The report also claims that the Afghan Taliban had also lined up with the Lashkar-e-Taiba, but pulled back after TTP sought Mullah Omar’s intervention. As I wrote in this week’s Business Standard column, this is a tricky situation where the TTP is at war with the Pakistan army but swears allegiance to Mullah Omar, who for his part, is beholden to the Pakistan army. Yes, it’s complicated.
The TTP is spoiling both General Kayani’s and Mullah Omar’s party. Not to forget, there are factions within the Pakistani military establishment that are backing the TTP.