Former TTP commanders giving bayah to IS (still from video)
A former Tehreek-e-Taliban TTP spokesperson, previously known as “Shahidullah Shahid” appeared in a new 16 minute video from Khorasan Media released January 2015 which shows a group of fighters pledging bayah (spiritual allegiance) to Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Qureshi al Hussaini, Islamic State (IS). This tradition, also known as taking bayah or bayt, goes back to the times of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when the Noble Companions pledged oath to him under a tree. Companions placed their hand in the hand of the Prophet and affirmed their faith in the oneness of Allah (tawheed).
It is not clear when or where the video was filmed (somewhere in the Pakistan, Afghanistan region) and greenery of foliage, light clothing suggests some footage could be 2 to 3 months old.
Shaykh Maqbool (once held position of TTP spokesperson “Shahidullah Shahid”) image EPA
Shahidullah parted ways with the TTP last year (allegedly sacked) and back in October 2014 TTP released the following statement to clarify the changes,
“Shahidullah Shahid is an “imaginary” name which is used by a person who becomes Spokesman of TTP Central. Shaykh Maqbool has also been spokesman of TTP Central, therefore, he was called Shahidullah Shahid.
Long ago, another brother had replaced Shaykh Maqbool and was promoted to spokesman of TTP (Means, He became Shahidullah Shahid). We did not announce that due to our policy. But Shaykh Maqbool used this name (Shahidullah Shahid) for his individual purpose. We want to make it clear that Shaykh Maqbool is not Shahidullah Shahid (He’s not our Spokesman anymore)”
Shaykh Maqbool addressing those giving bayah to IS (video still)
Mullah Fazlullah, Emir of TTP confirmed that TTP baya is to Emir al-Mominin Mullah M. Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban. Mullah Omar (who has a $10 million bounty on his head) continues to release statements via his supporters but has not been seen in public for many years. Taliban commanders claimed recently he is alive and well and described the love and respect they feel for their reclusive emir.
Black flags and galloping horses (stills from the Khorasan video)
In the new video which appeared on jihadist websites, Shaykh Maqbool is seen with a group of militants in an unidentified wooded area. where he delivers a speech. A total of 11 emir of different fronts in different areas pledge allegiance to IS, this is an increase on the 6 commanders named in October.
Hafiz Saeed Khan, former Emir of TTP in Oraksai is the new Emir of Khorasan (Afg-Pak) Khorasan video
Hafez Saeed Khan of Orakzai, former Emir of TTP in Oraksai is alleged to be the new head of the soon to be announced Wilayat Khorasan (AfPak Province) of IS. The following persons have also given bayah,
Umar Mansur Shaykh
Shaykh mufti Hasan
Pakistan soldier “Mandhur executed (Khorasan video)
The video also shows a Pakistani soldier being beheaded by sword in the video. Nadim al-Muhajir translated that, “his name is Mandhur from the Mirdan area of Pakistan and his capture was in Orkaizi (Daburi) during the battle.”
Grafitti in support of IS has appeared in recent months in Pakistan. In September 2014, International Business Times (IBN) reported the distribution of IS material from supporters in Peshawar and Eastern Afghanistan, stating,
“the 12-page booklet called “Fatah” (Victory), published in the Pashto and Dari languages of Afghanistan, was being mainly distributed in Afghan refugee camps on the outskirts of Peshawar.
The pamphlet’s logo features an AK-47 assault rifle and calls on local residents to support the militant group. Cars with IS stickers have also been spotted around Peshawar.
Sameeulah Hanifi, a prayer leader in a Peshawar neighbourhood populated mainly by Afghans, said the pamphlets were being distributed by a little-known local group called Islami Khalifat, an outspoken Islamic State supporter.”
Security Services in both Pakistan and India are on alert and concerned monitoring the emergence of IS supporters in the region. In October 2014 the Times of India also reported that, “a group of men unfurled ISIS flags amid pro-freedom and anti-India sloganeering outside the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta in downtown Srinagar after Friday prayers, according to eyewitnesses.”
The following mixed reactions were expressed on Twitter from followers of insurgency on hearing the news of the video showing “bayah to Baghdadi”.
Abu YouHer tweeted, “black flags of Khorasan are on their way, allegiances to the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi”
Nadim al-Muhajir, said, “this is so far the highlight of IS project in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. So pretty significant I think.”
An Afghan (name withheld) was quoted by his contact as saying, “Khurasan bayah contains Salafis and if they gave bayah it means the scholars have agreed Abu Bakr as caliph”
Talib Ali was not enthusiastic about the news tweeting, “former TTP spokesman broke his bayt to Amir Mullah Omar. May Allah (swt) save us from such foolish Amin” he continued saying, “really feel this bayt is betrayal, treachery left Amir Mullah Omar for ISIS. This will create fitna in Pakistan, Afghanistan.
Irony was not lost by some as one person pointed out that “Al Qaeda had given bayah to the Taliban and now ex-Taliban are giving bayah to IS.”
TTP and group TTP JA (Tehreek e-Taliban Jamaat -ul-Ahrar) that split from TTP in 2014, have both been approached to make comment on the contents of the video, their response is currently awaited.
“TTP release statement regarding Shahidullah Shahid who has pledge allegiance to IS”
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”.