TTP JA split from TTP after Zarb-e-Asb began and reformed with new media resources
Pakistan Tehreek -e-Taliban, Jamaat -ul-Ahrar (TTP JA) have disputed claims reported by NBC news network yesterday regarding what equipment and weaponry they left behind in North Waziristan. Taliban vacated command centres in Mir Ali and Miranshah following the start of military operation Zarb -e-Asb intended to clear the area of militants.
Back in June, five days prior to the launch of the assault, a Taliban commander informed journalists that they were “packing up” and joked “leaving on a picnic”. Insurgents had apparently picked up advance “intel” (intelligence) from military sources which gave most enough time to relocate themselves and their families to safer regions.
At the same time, the military turned thousands of civilians into Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) overnight telling them they must leave for their own safety. The young, pregnant and elderly set out to walk for shelter in Bannu and over the border to Khost in Afghanistan. Some died on route along with their animals suffering from heat exhaustion and lack of water.
Exhausted IDPs with their livestock
In October, IE Rehman, Director of the Human Rights Commission Pakistan (HRCP) wrote in DAWN warning,
“the signs of unrest and despair among the people displaced from North Waziristan Agency, on account of the military operation there, must begin to be addressed before the situation takes an ugly turn.”
Several months down the line, IDPs feel now largely abandoned and over recent days frustrations have turned to anger resulting in burning of tents, clashes with police, injuries on both sides and detention of protesters.
NBC ventured into Waziristan to learn of the current situation there regarding militants and were given a briefing from Maj. Gen. Zafar Khattak from brigade headquarters near Mir Ali. He alleged that the Pakistan military had discovered 200 tons of improvised explosive devices [IEDs] and ordnance, claiming they had seized “IEDs, weapon caches and jihadi literature” which were “enough to arm an entire infantry brigade”.
The media team were shown an “IED bazaar” during their escorted visit where a customer could allegedly “buy anything from a suicide-bomb jacket with 50 kilos [110 pounds] of explosives to a car bomb”….Read full article on the following link,
“A rare glimpse inside Pakistan’s anti-Taliban operation in North Waziristan”
However, TTP JA social media spokesperson (whose colleague had earlier claimed their capacity to operate had not been affected) had the following to say after reading the news article,
“NBC report is almost wrong …Open sources should ask the local people was there any such market in which people can buy jackets and other materials…Before operation, 99% of goods have been shifted to safe areas….We ourselves shifted every thing except lights, water drums …..and there was a long chance for everybody to go outside before operation….This report is just to avoid the bad image of Pakistan Army around the world.”
NBC and the Pakistan military also highlighted what was claimed to be a Taliban torture cell complete with tools of the trade. It is important to note however that for every insurgent torture chamber, there is an equivalent place within the walls of many Pakistani prisons and detention centres. Khanawada (age 27) is the latest person to be detained for a year in Karachi and allegedly murdered and dumped last evening.
Khanawada alleged victim of state torture/killing in detention
More information on torture, deaths in state custody can be read here,
“Pakistan:Another day another death in detention, Khanawada allegedly shot and dumped”
On a final note, TTP JA were asked to comment on a separate news item in Khaama Press suggesting that Taliban spiritual leader, Mullar Mohammad Omar may possibly have died, the spokesperson said,
“NO according to my knowledge he is alive and well, healthy.”
“Pakistan Taliban: TTP JA claim responsibility for Wagah attack and warn of more to come”
“Taliban: TTP JA release photos of Wagah bomber and announce reinforcements to Khyber Agency”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.