Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Terrorism Mess in Pakistan (Part-2) - Knowing the Players of the Game

By: Shah Zalmay Khan
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I wrote part-1 of this article 'Origin of the Terrorism Mess in Pakistan' yesterday in which I briefly described the history of the war in FATA and the follies that landed us into the terrorism mess. This part follows from part-1 and takes the debate a step further.
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Part-1 of this blog is HERE.
Part-3 can be read HERE.
Part-4 (last part) can be read HERE.
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Part-2: Knowing the players of the Game
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It is common knowledge now that there are dozens of militant groups fighting in FATA/KPK and elsewhere in Pakistan (Afghanistan too). However, few people have a clear idea about the diverse nature of these groups operating under the militancy umbrella or even otherwise. These groups fight the NATO forces, Afghan forces, Pakistani forces, against each other or against particular sects or communities. The groups fighting in the Af-Pak region can be broadly classified into four categories:
1) Groups having origin outside Af-Pak region.
2) Groups with origin in Afghanistan.
3) Groups with origin in FATA / KPK.
4) Groups with origin elsewhere in Pakistan.
It must be noted that the groups mentioned below often co-exist (in the same area) and may have tacit understandings even if their cause or purpose for taking up arms is entirely different from each other.
Next we talk about this whole diaspora of militant groups in brief.
1) Groups having origin outside Af-Pak region:
This category of militant groups includes Alqaeda (mostly Arabs), IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) and Chinese Uygurs of ETIM (East Turkistan Islamic Movement). Presence of Chechen fighters has also been reported in different areas but there is hardly any evidence to prove such reports.
This category of militants are fighting in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan (and beyond).
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2) Groups with origin in Afghanistan:
This category of militant groups can be further sub-divided into three classes (although local commanders may have diverse local priorities as well):
a.   Groups targeting NATO+Afghan forces and not Pakistanis
The main groups in this class are Mullah Omar's Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan (also called the Islamic Emirate) and Jalal-ud-Din Haqqani's group Haqqani Karwan (Haqqani Network).
The TTA is based mainly in Southern and South-Eastern Afghanistan (Qandahar, Zabul, Helmand) with a presence in pockets in Central and Northern Afghanistan (Qunduz etc). The group is believed to have a presence in North Balochistan (Pashtun belt) too.
The Haqqani Network is based mainly in Eastern Afghanistan (Paktia, Khost and Paktika), however, their influence is felt as far as Kabul and even beyond. The group is believed to have a presence in North Waziristan too.
b.   Groups targeting NATO forces and not Afghan or Pakistanis
The main group in this class is Engineer Gulbadin Hekmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami that has a strong presence in North-East Afghanistan (Kunar/Nuristan/Ningarhar).
c.   Groups targeting NATO+Afghan forces+Pakistanis
A prime example of this class is Qari Zia ur Rehman's group that operates in Kunar/Nuristan as well as Bajaur/Mohmand.
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3) Groups with origin in FATA / KPK:
This category of militant groups can be further sub-divided into seven classes (although local commanders may have diverse local priorities as well):
a.   Groups targeting NATO+Afghan forces and not Pakistanis
The groups in this class include Dr Ismail group (Bajaur), Latif group (Bajaur), Shah Khalid group (Mohmand) and other remnants of Let and JeM operating in Kunar/Nuristan and Ningarhar.
b.   Groups with main focus on targeting NATO+Afghan forces and generally do not target Pakistanis but ready to do so if disturbed
The main groups in this class are Mullah Nazir group (Wana), Gul Bahadur group (Miranshah) and Fazal Saeed group (Kurram). Pakistan has struck successful peace agreements with these groups after initially fighting them for years. However, the truce remains uneasy and vulnerable in some places.
c.   Groups with main focus on targeting Pakistani forces (rarely fight NATO+Afghans)
The main groups in this class are TTP-Waziristan [divided into Wali-ur-Rehman group (Sajna) and Hakimullah group (Shehryar Mehsud)], TTP-Orakzai/Kurram (comprising groups of Hafiz Saeed, Mullah Toofan, Sirajuddin alias Dadullah), TTP-Darra (Tariq Afridi group) and special purpose groups like Junood-e-Hafsa and Ansar-al-Aseer (Adnan Rasheed).
These groups are at loggerheads with Pakistan army since almost 10 years and several operations have been launched to eliminate them. The operations did help regain territory from the TTP but did little to harm their basic structure or ideological foothold.
Thus they are able to plan and mount successful deadly attacks against the state anywhere and everywhere.
Note: After the death of TTP Chief Hakimullah Mehsud in November 2011, TTP's strongest faction TTP-Waziristan (Mehsud) led by Khalid Sajna almost separated from the main TTP Body. The faction has repeatedly clashed with Shehryar Mehsud's faction causing scores of deaths on both sides. 
d.   Groups with exclusive focus on targeting Pakistani forces (operating from Afghanistan under explicit Afghan and implicit NATO control/approval)
The main groups in this class include Fazlullah's TTP-Swat, Hafizullah Kochwan's TTP-Dir, Faqir Muhammad's TTP-Bajaur and Omar Khalid Khorasani's TTP-Mohmand etc.
These groups were displaced from Swat/Bajaur/Mohmand by supposedly 'successful' army operations, however, they have become much more dangerous now that they operate freely from across the border in Kunar and Nuristan.
These groups have launched several cross-border attacks on border posts of army/FC/police and martyred hundreds of soldiers including Major General Sanaullah Niazi Shaheed.
Note: These groups have a very dangerous nexus with Qari Zia-ur-Rehman's group in Kunar/Nuristan and are the ones that will probably never agree to a peaceful solution as they have many criminal elements in their ranks. They will have to be taken out by force perhaps.
Note: In August 2014, TTP-Mohmand (Omar Khalid) separated and some lesser know militant commanders from Bajaur, Charsadda, Swat, Orakzai etc split from the main TTP body (led by Fazlullah) and formed TTP-JA (TTP Jamaat-ul-Ahraar).
e.   Groups fighting TTP on Pakistani govt's side
The groups in this class include Hanafi Mullah's group (Orakzai/Hangu), Qazi Mehboob-ul-Haq's Ansar-ul-Islam (Khyber/Tirah), Haji Turkistan Bhittani's Aman Committee (Tank/Jandola), Qari Zainuddin group (Dera Ismail Khan), Momin Afridi's group (Darra Adam Khel) and a lesser know small group of Maulvi Gul Dad Khan (Bajaur Agency).
f.    Vigilante groups with little agenda except local power and muscle
The groups in this class include Haji Namdar group (Khyber), Mangal Bagh's Lashkar-e-Islam (Khyber/Tirah) etc. Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) has had a history of feuds with TTP in the past but in recent days, the two have joined hands against the army and other groups in Tirah. A breakaway faction of the LI called Tauheed-ul-Islam (TI) led by Ameer Bilal Afridi also operates in the Zakha Khel Bazaar area. All these groups claim to be wroking against crimes but have been found involved in crimes themselves.
g.   Tribal/Qaumi Lashkars operating against TTP (with/without state support)
The groups in this class include Salarzai and Mamund Lashkars (Bajaur), Mohmand Aman Committee, Zakha Khel and Kamar Khel Lashkars (Khyber/Tirah), Azakhel and Matani Lashkars (Peshawar).
These groups have been fighting the TTP since years and have suffered huge losses in the process.
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4) Groups with origin elsewhere in Pakistan:
This category of militant groups can be further sub-divided into four classes (although local commanders may have diverse local priorities as well):
a.   TTP-allies with origin outside FATA/KPK
The groups in this class include TTP-Punjab (Punjabi Taliban), Ghazi Force etc.
b.   TTP off-shoots in Karachi
Militants belonging to TTP-Waziristan (Wali-ur-Rehman and Hakeemullah), TTP-Swat, TTP-Mohmand and other groups have allied with sectarian groups for crimes, target killings and terrorist activities.  
c.   Sunni sectarian groups targeting Shias
The groups in this class include Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Punjab and elsewhere), Jundullah (Balochistan-Iran) and Jaish-ul-Adl (Balochistan-Iran). The latter groups are ethnic Balochs who fight against the Shia-dominated Iran and also target Shias (especially Hazaras) in Balochistan. These groups reportedly have working relationship with the BLA militants too.
d.   Shia sectarian groups targeting Sunnis
The groups in this class include Sepah-e-Muhammad, Mehdi Force, Hezbollah and Haideri Taliban. These groups operate in Shia-dominated areas of Kurram/Orakzai against the TTP. They also have a presence in Gilgit Baltistan, Karachi, Punjab, Quetta and are reportedly involved in targeting Sunnis in these areas.
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This is layout of the militancy hydra that we are trying to tackle through an operation in one agency of FATA i.e. North Waziristan.
Why agenda-based desi liberal groups, some retired generals and pro-US secular politicians are trying to sell us the 'North Waziristan Operation' medicine as the only solution to the chronic lingering disease of militancy? Is it wise, workable, feasible or even possible? Are the proponents of North Waziristan operation ignorant of the scale and nature of militancy or deliberately want to plunge Pakistan deeper into the swamp of terrorism?
This is a question for all of us to ponder.
(Continued in Part-3 here)
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The writer is a tribesman from Bajaur Agency (FATA) and tweets at @PTI_FATA .
(No official association with PTI)
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Disclaimer: This blog is not an official PTI webpage and is run by a group of volunteers having no official position in PTI. All posts are personal opinions of the bloggers and should, in no way, be taken as official PTI word.
With Regards,
"Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf FATA Volunteers" Team.


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