Published On: Sat, Mar 1st, 2014

TTP Profile Series: Omar Khalid Khorasani and Mohmand Chapter

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Pakistan Taliban, Mohmand Agency, TTP, Omar Khalid Khorasani

In this image taken from a video recording, Omar Khalid Khorasani (C), a top Pakistan Taliban commander, gives an interview in Pakistan’s Mohmand tribal region on June 2, 2011.
CREDIT: REUTERS/HANDOUT

 

Name: Abdul Wali Khan

Alias/Nome de guerre: Omar Khalid Khurasani and Omar Khalifa

Age: 36 years

Tribe: Safi

Position: Chief of Mohmand Chapter of TTP

Current Location: Kunar – Afghanistan

Educational Background/Alma Mater: No formal education from any school or seminary. Worked as a journalist previously.

Backgrounder:

  • Most powerful commander of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
  • He was made ameer of TTP Mohmand Chapter by Baitullah Mehsud.
  • He rose to sight in 2007, after laying siege to the shrine of an anti-colonialist fighter from Mohmand district, village Ghaziabad, and renamed it as Lal Masjid.
  • Later in 2008, backed by other TTP factions with heavy funding and human resources, he managed to kill one of the pro-Afghan Taliban commanders Shah Khalid alias Shah Sahib and became an unchallenged figure within Mohmand area.
  • A considerable bounty was placed on his head by the Government of Pakistan in 2009.
  • In 2010, the armed forces launched an operation against the Mohmand Chapter of TTP, codenamed Operation Brekhna (Thunder). Omar, along with his confederate Molvi Abdul Qahir, managed to slip into Afghanistan. Now Omar is in Kunar, enjoying the hospitality of the Afghan government, and Molvi Abdul Qahir is in Jalalabad since then.
  • Qari Shakeel, the second in command of Omar Khalid, is looking after the operations of the Mohmand Chapter of TTP and he is in Mohmand at present.
  • Along with Molvi Abdul Qahir, who is in Jalalabad, there are a few others who are hiding in Kunar and they are led by Omar Khalid Khorasani.
  • Prominent names among these are Molvi Abu Bakar from Bajuar Agency, who belongs to Salarzai tribe.
  • From Dir, two prominent commanders of TTP, Inamullah group and Commander Rafique are also hiding in Kunar and they are directed and managed by Omar Khalid.

Media:

  • Omar Khalid is renowned for having ties with the al-Qaeda within the Tehreek-e-Taliban circles. Proudly boasting of providing the sanctuary Dr Ayman, the leader of the al-Qaeda in a June 6, 2011 interview to the Reuters correspondent, he described Ayman al-Zawahiri as the supreme commander of the TTP, although the latter wasn’t named as the Osama’s successor as yet.
  • His extreme stance towards the State of Pakistan was evident during an interview in November 13, 2013. When reminded by the interviewer that Hakimullah was killed by a US drone and not by the Pakistan Army, Khurasani had stated: “America is our enemy but we don’t blame it. Our real enemy is Pakistan. We will punish Pakistan because they tricked us. The Americans have been our consistent enemy and have never changed their policy towards us.”

 

Activities:

  • Abdul Wali is mainly involved in kidnapping and ransom activities. The Mohamed Chapter is famous for its activities in this area.
  • Areas of Sultan ka Kho in Rawalpindi and Turnool in Islamabad are the main hubs where people from Mohmand agency reside and assist Omar Khalid’s group in kidnapping and ransom activities.
  • Rawalpindi and Islamabad are his area of focus for kidnapping cases.
  • He and his group are also involved in extortion cases from the tribal personals, which used to go into Afghanistan for fighting alongside Afghan Taliban against the US and NATO forces.
  • Intelligence reports suggest that he is also closely linked with the Afghan government; living in a safe haven of Kunar alongside Fazlullah is also a depiction of this matter.
  • During the 2013, Tirah operation of Pakistan Army in the Khyber Agency, Omar Khalid, issued engagement directives to the faction of Mangal Bagh from Kunar. He also instructed the militants of his own group to ally with the Lashkar-e-Islam and repulse the security forces onslaught.
  • It is interesting to note that the main figures of TTP such as Ehsanullah Ehsan and Shahidullah Shahid belong to the Mohmand Chapter of TTP.
  • Besides having an official TTP spokesperson, Mohmand Chapter also has its own spokesperson sharing the same name of Omar Mukarram Khurasani.

Major Attacks:

  • He is involved in creating shadow groups like Jundullah(not to be confused with the Baloch Iranian group) and Junud-e-Hafsa.
  • He claimed responsibility for the November 19, 2012, failed attempt to assassinate the former ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami, Qazi Hussain Ahmed. His notoriety could be gauged from the fact that he indoctrinated a lady especially to carry out this task. This was the first suicide attack executed by a female bomber in Pakistan.
  • He is also involved in bombing the Catholic Church in Peshawar last year, which was earlier claimed by Jundullah, the shadow group of Mohmand Chapter. Later, the Mohmand Chapter issued a letter and justified the attack, and all this, happened in the midst of the negotiation phase that was going on between the Pakistani government and the Chief of TTP Hakeemullah Mehsud, who was later taken out in a drone attack by the US. The reason given in the letter can be seen here. In this statement, the Mohmand Chapter clearly showed their intention by defying the orders of their chief and also threatened other TTP commanders.
  • Recently, again in the midst of the talk process, the Mohmand Chapter released a video in which they showed the beheading of 23 FC personnel kidnapped in June 2010 from the Shoonkri post, Mohmand agency. The reasons of the beheading during yet another negotiation phase are the same as were given after the church attacks. This triggered the reprisal from the Pakistan’s government and the armed forces.

The similarity between the statements in both the phases of the peace negotiations, that is, in pre and post Mehsud period, is Ironic and it is coming from nowhere but from the Mohmand group, led by Omar Khalid Khorasani. It is also evident that in the pre-Mehsud era, the Mehsuds were calling the shots; now, perhaps it is the Mohmand group, and the presence of Fazlullah cannot be felt in any decision making process or the issuing of any statement. The party spoilers Mohmand Chapter of TTP seems to be more in authority than the Swat Chapter of TTP. This is also evident from the fact that the groups and commanders from Swat and Dir are also under the command of Omar Khalid within Kunar, and they are sending their directives in Pakistan from their safe haven in Afghanistan.

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About the Author

- is a Security & Strategies Analyst, alumni of NSW from NDU, Islamabad. He tweets at @M_EssJay He can be reached at sj@pkkh.tv.

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Have Your Say
  1. Pakistan forces should consider sending an aircraft into Afghanistan to take this guy out. If Pakistan is worried about the optics or USA, then do a double-sawari on him aka Ismatullah sytle. PKKH please publish such comments — you need to show that Pakistanis are frustrated of these savages wanting us to return to the stone age. They want all of Pakistan to become like the Tribal areas.

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