By Zia Ur Rehman
January 17, 2018
The Mehsud chapter of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) recently released a book that corroborates law enforcement and security agencies’ claims of dismantling the banned organisation’s network in Karachi by killing most of its militants.
Titled ‘Inqilab-e-Mehsud’, the 588-page book was authored by Mufti Noor Wali, alias Abu Mansoor Asim, a TTP central leader who also served as the terror outfit’s chief for Karachi from June 2013 to May 2015.
The book was published two months ago in Barmal district of Afghanistan’s Paktika province where most of the TTP leadership had fled to in order to escape operations against them in North Waziristan, Karachi and other parts of the country.
Wali details the history of Mehsud militants from 2001 to 2017, their role in the fight in Afghanistan, forming of militant groups in South and North Waziristan, their subversive attacks and profiles of their leaders killed in military operations and drone attacks.
Crackdown in Karachi
The sections about Karachi describe how the Mehsud chapter started its subversive activities in the metropolis after the crackdown on Taliban groups intensified in 2007, and also mentions their foiled attack in Keamari where oil terminals are located. Following that, the group sent Mohsin and Rehmatullah to carry out suicide attacks on former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming rally in Karsaz that left more than 180 people dead and many others wounded.
After the military’s Operation Rah-e-Nijat was launched in 2009, a crackdown on Taliban militants also started in the city. In retaliation, the group began targeting law enforcement and security officials as well as political activists who were part of the coalition government, for which they joined forces with other jihadi groups operating in the metropolis.
The group claims to have attacked the Rangers’ Nazimabad headquarters and checkpoints, martyring law enforcement officials, including the senior anti-terrorism cop Chaudhry Aslam, and attacking leaders and rallies of the Awami National Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. They also admit to committing robberies, extortion and other crimes to generate funds.
Wali acknowledges that after the crackdown on violent groups was launched in the city in September 2013, law enforcement and security agencies had killed most of the key Taliban leaders in an “extrajudicial” manner.
The book also lists the names of 104 people killed by law enforcement and security agencies. However, according to Mehsud tribesmen familiar with the TTP network in the city, most of the people on the list were active members of the outfit in the city’s Pashtun-dominated areas, such as Sohrab Goth, Manghopir, Ittehad Town, Quarry Colony and Shah Latif Town.
The most important commanders among them include Abid, alias Muchharh, Mufti Muhammad Javed, Naimatullah Mehsud, Abid, alias Chhota, Nausherkhan Malkhel, Baja, alias Tor Major, Ghulam Rasool Wazirgay and Gul Zaman.
Wali claims that after the Mehsud faction’s re-inclusion in the TTP in February 2017, the outfit’s capability to carry out terror attacks has strengthened. As an example, he cites the February 16 suicide attack inside the revered Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine in Sehwan.
A senior official in the city admits that the TTP and its affiliate and splinter outfits carried out terror attacks, including suicide bombings, across the country last year.
Terming the TTP still a potential threat, the 2017 security report by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies says the TTP and its splinter groups, mainly the Jamaatul Ahrar, perpetrated 213 attacks – 58 per cent of the total attacks – in the past year.
But, according to the official, the terror outfit could not carry out a single attack in Karachi last year. “It’s because law enforcement and security agencies have successfully dismantled their network by killing most of its leaders and increasing their intelligence network in former Taliban strongholds.”
Infighting over territory
The book also discusses the power struggle between two factions of the TTP’s Mehsud chapter in Karachi over territory and extortion. The infighting between Hakeemullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman’s respective factions began when fighters loyal to Rehman killed Sher Khan, an operational commander appointed by Mehsud, in Manghopir in August 2013.
Dozens of militants from both sides were killed in the following four months, driving out the Mehsud group from the city. The fighting spilt over into tribal areas and adjacent districts of Tank and Dera Ismail Khan.
Moreover, the book examines the differences over the appointment of Haji Daud, a former policeman in Quaidabad, as the TTP Karachi chief who was also tasked with overseeing Mehsud businessmen associated with the construction machinery and trucking industry.