PESHAWAR: The Hakimullah Mehsud-led Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Monday confirmed that militant organisations had agreed to avoid killing innocent people and kidnapping for ransom in Pakistan, but at the same time vowed to continue carrying out suicide attacks and fighting against Pakistan’s security forces.
“Yes, we signed an accord with three other major Taliban groups of Maulvi Nazeer, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and an Afghan Taliban faction to avoid killing of innocent people and kidnapping for ransom, but we did not agree with them to stop suicide attacks and our fight against Pakistani security forces,” TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told this correspondent from somewhere in the tribal areas on the phone.
The TTP, he said, had not announced any ceasefire and had no plans to do so in the near future. He warned that their fighters would continue their operations in Pakistan. He said the TTP would extend cooperation to the five-member Taliban Shura, having members from the militant groups such as Maulvi Nazeer, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and the Haqqani network.
Ihsanullah Ihsan argued that the joint Taliban Shura or council had, in fact, been formed for tackling two major issues to put an end to the frequent incidents of kidnapping for ransom and killing of innocent people, especially those picked up by unknown people in the tribal areas and executed on charges of spying for the US forces.
About reports attributed to the Afghan Taliban supreme leader, Mulla Mohammad Omar, urging Pakistani Taliban to stop their fight in Pakistan and instead support them in liberating Afghanistan from the “occupation forces”, he declined to offer comment and only said that they would operate both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Look, for us Pakistan is as important as Afghanistan, and, therefore, we cannot stop our activities here,” he insisted.
The TTP spokesman also denied differences between the TTP leadership, saying Hakimullah Mahsud was still leader of the Pakistani Taliban and Maulana Waliur Rahman was his deputy.