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July 10, 2013

TTP sacks its spokesman over threats to Afghan Taliban

July 10, 2013

PESHAWAR: The Pakistani Taliban headed by Hakimullah Mahsud on Tuesday sacked their central spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan over his alleged threat to the Afghan Taliban to stop backing their opponents in the Mohmand Agency.
The outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also issued a leaflet to this effect in Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan. It said the Taliban central Shura after a meeting decided to replace Ihsanullah Ihsan with Sheikh Maqbool.The Taliban sources said Sheikh Maqbool belonged to the Orakzai Agency and had experience of working with the media. Ihsanullah Ihsan has neither confirmed nor rejected his replacement.
Taliban sources said Ihsanullah Ihsan’s recent remarks about the Afghan Taliban led to his replacement.“He is being blamed for threatening the Afghan Taliban to stop the intervention of their fighters and their support of pro-Pakistan militants, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Ansarul Islam and members of the anti-TTP tribal Lashkar in Mohmand Agency. It enraged the Afghan Taliban leadership and they approached the central TTP leaders and complained against the remarks of Ihsanullah Ihsan,” a senior member of the TTP said.
Pleading anonymity, he said the TTP central Shura convened its meeting and took an exception to Ihsan’s alleged threat to the Afghan Taliban and unanimously decided to relieve him of his duties. The sources said that Ihsanullah Ihsan had challenged his removal in the Taliban judicial court.
On June 26, Omar Mukkaram Khurasani, claiming to be a spokesman for the Mohmand Agency Taliban led by Maulvi Abdul Wali alias Omar Khalid, told the media that dozens of Afghan Taliban arrived in Mohmand Agency from the neighbouring Kunar province of Afghanistan and backed Lashkar-e-Taiba, Ansarul Islam and the local tribal Lashkar as they attacked their camps there.
He also stated that they had informed the Afghan Taliban leadership to intervene and stop their fighters from interfering in the internal affairs of the

Pakistani Taliban, but they had failed to play their role.The TTP leadership believed that it was, in fact, Ihsanullah Ihsan who had approached the media and used threatening language against the Afghan Taliban.
According to sources, Ihsan, in his written reply to the Taliban court, denied using threatening language against the Afghan Taliban. The Pakistani Taliban consider themselves a part of the Afghan Taliban and call Mullah Mohammad Omar their supreme leader.
Though Ihsan has been removed from his media responsibility, he would continue to work as the head of the TTP political wing. Taliban sources said Ihsan was close to TTP chief Hakimullah Mahsud but he had to remove him after all members of the Shura wrote against him.
Articulate and outspoken Ihsan, who reportedly belongs to Mohmand Agency, had replaced Azam Tariq as the TTP central spokesman a few years back. After becoming the Taliban spokesman, Ihsan established a full-fledged media cell and appointed people for monitoring national and international media organisations.

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