Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) released a statement today regarding deaths of two of their members said to be in the custody of Pakistani authorities. An important announcement came from TTP on the alleged killing of Haji Mahmood Khan (shura member) and Haji Muslim Khan (former spokesman) during the period Taliban ruled Swat from 2007 to 2009
The Taliban Intelligence Agency (TIA) had informed them that both prisoners were “poisoned” on 25th August 2015. They have also repeatedly raised concerns over their members being killed in “fake encounters” with police. Alleged torture and unlawful killing of detainees continue to plague detention centres with little accountability though efforts have been made from activists and families to challenge through the courts. This “state terrorism” is a major security risk to all as it incites revenge attacks.
The Taliban stated that the two commanders (who each had a £73,000 bounty of their head) were said to have been arrested in the city of Peshawar where they travelled for peace talks in 2009 along with other members.
According to a Guardian report (Sept 11th 2009) army spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas said on its website that “the arrests took place in the suburbs of Mingora, the main town in Swat.” The paper stated,
“the announcement came shortly after the News reported that Khan had been engaged in secret peace talks with the government in Islamabad. The interior minister, Rehman Malik, denied the claims.”
Is there a future for peace talks?
TTP said no more talks with Pakistani authorities, thousands would be killed to avenge martyrdom of prisoners.
This does not bode well with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan government efforts for peace talks. Yesterday US announced that Abdul Aziz Haqqani “a senior member of the Haqqani Network and brother to Haqqani Network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani” who is deputy of the Taliban had been added to its list of Specially Designated Global terrorists see article,
“US adds Haqqani network Commander to list of Global Terrorists”
US has also made it clear the the government will withhold dollars from Pakistan if more Haqqanis are not taken out. Voice of America (VOA) reported,
“if the Obama administration does not certify to the U.S. Congress that Pakistan’s military operations have significantly damaged the Haqqani network, it will hold up the next payment of coalition support funds. This is the money reimbursed to Pakistan for actions that help the U.S. military in Afghanistan.”
These announcements are poor timing given efforts for peace negotiations and will cause further anger among militant groups. In addition Islamic Emirate are heavily engaged in military operation Zarb -e- Asb regaining ground in Helmand province and show no signs of stopping.
Abdulqahar Balkhi a spokesperson affiliated with Afghan Taliban tweeted,
Latest | 40 hirelings killed in operation with 20 corpses left on behind, 50 including police chief injured, rest fled towards Gerishk
War Spoils::16 APCs, 13 vehicles, 10 trucks, 350 various type arms, huge amount ammo. Only 5 Mujahidin martyred in op, may Allah accept them
Islamic Emirate are also busy engaged in efforts to maintain unity in the ranks following death of Mullah Omar and appointment of Mullah Mansour (see Links section).
There was also a “green-on-blue” attack at a base in Helmand today. BBC reported that according to alliance officials, “two people in Afghan military uniforms opened fire on a vehicle killing two Nato soldiers at a military base in the south” see following link,
“Two Nato soldiers killed in Afghan insider attack”
No one has claimed responsibility for this attack.
Recent announcements of concerns over alleged corruption and mismanagement of so called “aid” to Afghanistan will only add fuel to the fire and dampen enthusiasm for dialogue as will reminders of unlawful killing of civilians currently being investigated again. On top of this the Islamic State now have a presence in AfPak… Bombings have escalated in recent weeks with some major attacks denied by the Taliban. If not the work of IS, then a further disruptive element is now at hand.
“Islamic Emirate: The Political Foresight of Taliban, the new Leadership and the Opposition”
“Pakistan Media: US Blocked Military Aid Payment”
“U.S. Army Reopens Criminal Inquiry Into Afghan Civilians’ Deaths”
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”.