Islamic State – Khorasan (ISKP) has become quite active in recent days, in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Granted, we expect them to be active in Afghanistan, where they are fighting for legitimacy against the Taliban, the Afghan National Army and the US-led military force. In Pakistan, however, where they have no foothold, no matter what the media would like to report, they are attempting to strike fear into Pakistani hearts.
That’s the top-level of this conversation, but the details that go into understanding the complexities and intricacies are much more difficult. As a point of fact, we will use the most recent statement released by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA).
On the 17th July, 2017, Asad Mansoor, Spokesperson – Tehreek-E-Taliban Pakistan (Jamaat ul Ahrar), issued a statement refuting the Pakistan Army statement that they are part of ISIS/Daesh. It is this statement that we will use to deconstruct their argument.
“Yesterday, the spokesperson of napak army (Pakistan Army) described that Jamaat ul Ahrar is a secondary group of Daesh.”
Army is commencing an operation against it.
Such a statement lies utterly on a pure propaganda and is a coward act of napak army.
After a series of setbacks in Operation Ghazi (the TTP current operation) faced by army and proved comprehensively helpless to counter this operation, army followed a shameful path of a blame game.
When army realized that they have to face an embarrassment in a so-called operation Rad ul Fasad, they decided to launch yet again a new operation with a different name.
This move is nothing but an ultimate confession of their defeat.
While announcing the beginning of the new operation, army declared it to aim at Daesh, and revealed that there are several sub-groups of Daesh in this area particularly Jamaat ul-Ahrar is one of such groups.
Whereas, our respected Ameer, Khalid Khorasani had long ago made it clear that we do not belong to Daesh whatsoever. We absolutely deny this baseless claim.
Today one more time, we explain that we are not associated with Daesh.
We are not based in Daesh’s controlled areas neither do we use their routes for our movement and so is true for Daesh in terms of our controlled areas.
There is no existence of Jamaat ul Ahrar in the areas where a new operation has been initiated.
A few days earlier, UN Security Council pronounced Jamat ul Ahrar a terrorist organization. This condemnable action taken by the UN is an explicit sign of a dual policy of Pak govt and napak army.
We have a comprehensive nature of legit demands with the napak army and they shall not be defined in the light of any sort of terrorism.
Our struggle is founded on an unmistakable manifesto. Jamaat ul Ahrar is going to launch a legal action in this regard.
It is important to make notice of these cunning actions of napak army which are nothing but a failed attempt to divert the aim of Jamaat ul Ahrar off the Pak govt and entangle it into aimless efforts.
Let it be clear to all of the institutes of Pak that should it be a complete and solid peace in the whole world or every nation of this planet Earth is engaged in a war, our goal is to see Pakistan a pure and consolidated Islamic state inshAllah and for that we would be on our toes until the dream is realized. Inshallah.
Spokesperson – Tehreek-E-Taliban Pakistan (Jamaat ul Ahrar)
Monday. July 17th, 2017
First, the Pakistan Army has been labeled “napak,” or unclean, since 2007, when the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan first emerged after the Lal Masjid Operation. This phrase was coined by radical mullahs, who believed in the terrorist groups, and decried anyone who stands against them will not be considered a Shaheed, or martyr.
Then there was the statement from Syed Munawar Hasan, the former Emir of Jamaat-i-Islami (JuI):
The comments came after Hakeemullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike on 1st November, 2013. He was very quick to declare Mehsud a martyr, drawing a retraction demand from the Pakistan Army.
Napak is something that every soldier has heard for the last 10 years as we fight the terrorists and their supporters in our country.
But this has been the problem in Pakistan for decades & the primary driver for the radicalization of Pakistan’s population.
Operation Khyber VI, launched in the Tirah & Ragjal Valleys along the Pak-Afghan border.
Operation Ghazi, according to the released manifesto, was to only target military, police and government. No attacks on civilians.
Sehwan Sharif was civilians.
Again, not understanding what is happening in the country and creating propaganda to support their point.
This is the result from Zarb-e-Azb, for those unclear on the successes of military operations in Pakistan.Operation Raad-ul-Fasaad is actually a Broad-Spectrum Security (BSS) operation running throughout the country to will aim at indiscriminately eliminating the “residual/latent threat of terrorism”, consolidating the gains made in other military operations, and further ensuring the security of Pakistan’s borders.
Operation Khyber VI, launched a couple days back, is a capture and clearing operation, designed to eliminate any remnants of terrorists inside Pakistan, whether they are fighters, financiers or ad hoc spokesmen for the TTP. Khyber VI is part of Raad-ul-Fasaad.
Significant difference in operation objectives that most people won’t bother to understand.
In Phase 1 of the operation, the Pakistan Army cleared and secured Spinkai Saprai & Star Killey passes, which were being used by ISKP & TTP to cross into Pakistan. Additionally, Brekh Muhammad Kandao, the highest mountain top in the area, was cleared and secured by the Pakistan Army from ISIS & TTP. Brekh Muhammad Kandao gives a significant positional advantage, and the reason for the statement being issued.
With Brekh Muhammad Kandao secured and the Taliban coming from the Afghanistan side, ISKP is sandwiched in their safe haven of Nangarhar, Afghanistan. While the claim is still disputed as to who has control of Tora Bora, but this area poses a clear and present danger to Pakistan.
Ok, let’s pretend that they aren’t lying, but if we pretend that, then other things don’t make sense.
Such as Khalid Khorasani, urging Islamic State and Jabha Nursa to reconcile with each other and fight “kuffer and their helper murtadeen.”
Nor does this article discussing the splits in the Pakistan Taliban make sense.
And, of course, this New York Times article discussing Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is also incorrect?
The repeated claim that they are not associated with Daesh is outlandish. In February 2015, both Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Lashkar-e-Islam announced their alliance with ISIS/Daesh.
But let’s get back to JuA not being affiliated with Daesh. In Feb 2015, this author penned an article for The Nation explaining the groups and backgrounds of ISIS-Khorasan.
Our DG, Khalid Muhammad, was the first to expose this alliance in Pakistan. It was 4 months later the mainstream media ran the story.
“What I find interesting is that Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, in September 2014, immediately after splintering from the TTP announced an alliance with al-Qaeda and Ayman al-Zawahiri, who called them the new “al Qaeda in the subcontinent.” The new alliance seems to show that the new al-Qaeda equation didn’t perform as expected.”
The area where the Pakistan Army has started Operation Khyber VI is the area that has been used for crossing into Pakistan and housing of sleeper cells. While we understand that JuA wouldn’t like to admit that they have been pushed out of their actual home base, since most of their fighters’ roots are in Mohmand Agency, the sheer fact is they were in this area, still maintain depots and safe houses for their fighters crossing from Afghanistan.
This is typical of TTP & JuA.
Whenever they have found themselves crippled in front of the Pakistan Army, they begin to issue statements. If you recall, they also issued a revised manifesto a few months back and promised no attacks on civilian targets. Then Sehwan Sharif happened.
For ISKP to even pretend to claim they are not affiliated with ISIS Iraq & Syria is hilarious. Their explosives trainers are from Iraq. Their media training is from Iraq. And while they claim no affiliation, they happily share the name.
Additionally, ISKP knows establishing a base in Pakistan is impossible. The attempt to malign Operation Raad ul Fasaad & Khyber IV is a clear demonstration that the Pakistan Army has repeatedly delivered significant damage to ISKP, JuA & other affiliated groups.
Claiming they are not in ISKP controlled areas is also false. TTP has been hosted by NDS since 2007, when they were splintered, their groups found safe haven in Paktika, Nangarhar, Khost & Kunduz. All along the Pak-Afghan border.
Tirah has always been their crossing point, which was closed after Zarb-e-Azb. We can prove that with the significant decrease in terror attacks in Pakistan. Now, with the fencing and border management system being implemented, Khyber IV is to complete the clearance of the areas and hand them over to the tribesman for management.
Lastly, since ISKP is a combination of failed & disgruntled/failed fighters from the Taliban, TTP, & al Qaeda, their membership base is getting thinner due to successful operations by Pakistan Army on our side of the border and the Taliban on the Afghanistan side.
Realistically, ISKP knows their time in Afghanistan is short. With the Taliban gaining ground in ISIS held areas & some military coordination with the ANA against ISKP, they know all roads are closing quickly. This statement is a last attempt to gain sympathy & support – “our goal is for Pakistan to be an Islamic state.”