Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Mehsuds and Mansour’s Deaths are Equal

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Mehsuds and Mansour’s Deaths are Equal

Seven members of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have reportedly surrendered themselves to Pakistani authorities among them are Hakimullah Mehsud’s brother Ejaz Mehsud and his uncle Khair Muhammad Mehsud. Hakimullah, who was in his thirties, had been killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan Agency in November 2013. He was buried at an unknown location a day later. He had succeeded his mentor, Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike in August 2009.
In the aftermath of Baitullah Mehsud’s death, the organization experienced turmoil among its leading militants. By the end of August 2009, however, leading members in the TTP had confirmed Hakimullah Mehsud as its second emir. Media released that Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in January 2010 by injuries sustained during a US drone attack. Unconfirmed reports from Orakzai Agency stated, after the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, Malik Noor Jamal, alias Maulana Toofan, had assumed leadership of the TTP until the group determined how to proceed.
TTP is an alliance of militant networks formed in 2007 to unify opposition against the Pakistani military. TTP’s stated objectives are the expulsion of Islamabad’s influence in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and neighboring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan, the implementation of a strict interpretation of sharia throughout Pakistan, and the expulsion of Coalition troops from Afghanistan. TTP leaders also publicly say that the group seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in Pakistan.
On 25 August 2008, Pakistan banned the group, froze its bank accounts and assets, and barred it from media appearances. The government also announced that bounties would be placed on prominent leaders of the TTP.
Visiting senior US officials following Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s death at the Rawalpindi GHQ, Pakistan’s army chief Gen Raheel Sharif expressed strong displeasure at the violation of Pakistan’s air space and demanded that Tehreek-i-Taliban head, Mullah Fazlullah, together with other TTP militants, be targeted by drones. Linked to Al Qaeda, TTP has a history of savage atrocities committed against Pakistan.
“Whether Fazlullah will be droned if he is ever spotted remains to be seen. But the general’s demand raises troubling issues. To call for killing Fazlullah while mourning the loss of Mansour is inconsistent,” a Pakistani writer Pervez Hoodbhoy wrote in his article entitled “Droning  Mullah Fazlullah”. He added, “Fazlullah is to Pakistan what Mansour was to Afghanistan. Their respective organizations – the TTP and the Taliban – are not identical but they share ethnic ties and a common mindset.”
TTP carried out the most fatal attacks in Pakistan. As a result, the attack on the Army Public School in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on 16 December 2014 – which led to the death of 141 people including 132 schoolchildren – was carried out by members of TTP group. In addition, an offshoot of the Pakistan Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, the eastern city of Lahore, which took heavy toll of civilians, including women and children, stating that it was aimed at killing members of an ethnic minority group who gathered in the park. However, most of those killed were Muslims. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar further vowed to continue such attacks and also took responsibility for the twin bombings of a church in Lahore last year. They also attacked Bacha Khan University that left at least 21 dead behind.
Similarly, the TTP militant group is also involved in terrorist acts in Afghanistan and pledged loyalty to the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Nangarhar province. TTP also forms “ISIL-K” group in Afghan-Pak porous border and stages deadly attacks against Afghan and US forces.
It is believed that there is no matter of good or bad Taliban. All warring parties should be condemned and fought against weather they are Mansour or Fazlullah’s men. Afghanistan is as much in favor of Fazlullah’s death as it agreed upon Mansour’s murder. Taliban fighters, belonging to any groups, cause violence and bloodshed upon the same ideology – perhaps with a little difference in the level of radicalism. Since atrocity runs in the blood of all Taliban fighters, they should be treated the same that is to say be dealt militarily.
Despite all the terrorist acts carried out in Afghanistan by any warring factions within years, Afghan government called on them to lay their arms and join peace process. In other words, the door for peace talk is open to any parties – such peace offerings demonstrate Afghanistan’s generous acts and great patience towards the hostile groups. However, when militants persist on their acts of terror, there will be no option left other than military action. Now, neither Mansour nor Fazlullah matters for Afghanistan. Hence, both are known as infamous terrorists’ leaders. The US forces also fight against all warring factions indiscriminately. For instance, two TTP’s former leaders Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud were also killed by the US drone strike the same as Mullah Akhtar Mansour.
Pakistan is also supposed to deal with the issue of Mansour and Mehsud’s deaths in the same way since both were radical ideologues and involved in terrorist acts. In a nutshell, both the deaths should be gloated over and Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US will have to counter insurgency and operate against all militants who carry out terrorist acts in Afghanistan or Pakistan’s soil.

Hujjattullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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