News You Really Need To See: “Hard-Line Splinter Group, Galvanized by ISIS, Emerges From Pakistani Taliban”

“Hard-Line Splinter Group, Galvanized by ISIS, Emerges From Pakistani Taliban”

The New York Times, August 27, 2014, p.A11

The Pakistani Taliban has suffered its second major split in three months, with militant leaders this week confirming the emergence of a hard-line splinter group inspired by the success of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.  The new group, known as Jamaat-e-Ahrar, is composed of disaffected Taliban factions from four of the seven tribal districts along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, according to a video released by the group.  Counterterrorism experts said the group was effectively controlled by Omar Khalid Khorasani, an ambitious Taliban commander with strong ties to Al Qaeda. … The formation of Jamaat-e-Ahrar is one of the most serious internal threats to the Pakistani Taliban, officially known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, since it was formed seven years ago. … The new group also represents a challenge to the authority of the main Taliban leader, Maulana Fazlullah, who gained control of the insurgency last year after his predecessor, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in an American drone strike.  Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the new group, which is formally called Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-e-Ahrar, said the new group had become ‘the real T.T.P.’ and would refuse to take orders from Mr. Fazlullah. … Mr. Khorasani has long been seen as one of the movement’s most ideological commanders, and his separation from the main Taliban branch prompted speculation among experts over an alliance with ISIS, which has captured a vast section of territory across Syria and Iraq and has declared itself the new Islamic caliphate.”

Quickie Analysis:  At this point, fractures in the Pakistani Taliban can only serve to spread the fighting, and the collateral damage, further.

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