TTP and Its International Presence, Reality Unfolded


To date, only one credible example that highlights Tehreek-e-Taliban’s global ambitions exists: the bombing plot of Barcelona subway system. In January 2008, 12 Pakistanis and two Indians were arrested in Barcelona, Spain. Ten detainees were indicted – with involvement in a conspiracy to carry out suicide attacks in the subway system. Later, a TTP spokesman, Maulvi Omar, acknowledged in a video, “The one in Barcelona was conducted by 12 of our men. They were under pledge to Baitullah Mehsud, and TTP has already claimed responsibility because of Spain’s military presence in Afghanistan.”

A Tissue of Lies

Public relations are a significant aspect of any terror related activity. The terrorists aim to impact public perceptions and influence decision making on a grand scale; widespread induction of ‘Terreur’ compounds the illicit activities by extremist groups. A social image, whether good or bad, is created through these PR tools.

Tehreek-e-Taliban’s claims of sending its fighters for the Syrian conflict is a smokescreen, which has been conveniently used to cloud the ‘savage’ image of the organization amongst majority Muslims of the Sunni sect. The banned organization is adjusting its image due to the internal disputes it has mired itself in. Distrust is prevalent, and many experienced commanders are wary of the decisions and actions taken by the central leadership. The genuine resistance of Afghan militants against the usurper forces, as publicly opined by the masses, was being ill-shadowed due to the Pakistani Taliban’s miscreance.

An increasingly confused White House is doling the ‘Zero Option’ card to tame Karzai into signing a strategic agreement with the United States. If the ‘Zero Option’ gets implemented, this policy would isolate Tehreek-e-Taliban from its foreign backers; making the fighters openly susceptible to Pakistan army and Afghan Taliban onslaught on both sides of the border. To sustain post US withdrawal from Afghanistan, TTP is projecting itself as a friendly force for those wroth to Bashar al-Assad’s crimes: primarily the Sunni Muslims.

It is adopting a tone which sounds good to an international audience, including potential donors. Striking rapport with those sympathetic towards the Syrian cause could result in the establishment of vital supply lines with various Islamist networks on the international and local level. The chunks of funds previously being funneled to various Al-Qaeda affiliated groups can now be diverted towards TTP militants.

But still, this Syrian posture has not been officially adopted by the banned organization. Their chief spokesperson, Shahidullah Shahid, is mum about the informal news reports that have recently emanated in media on TTP’s Syria connection, which is quite an uncommon practice as TTP gives its statements on most of the topics. Moreover, the security agencies have also not confirmed any discernible movement of Pakistani militants to Syria up till now.

As stated earlier, foreign elements associated with Al-Qaeda are known to break bread with Tehreek-e-Taliban. It cannot be ruled out that these foreigners – mainly of Uzbek and Arab ethnicities, taking refuge in the AF-Pak border region – have been heading to Syria informally. The animosity between the rebel factions is escalating: infighting amongst the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Al-Qaeda affiliated factions appears to be on the rise, following the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) targeting of Kamal Hamami, a commander associated with the Supreme Military Council of FSA. Consistent with the developments that have taken place, it is more likely that Al-Qaeda militants are leaving for Syria to cover the ‘numerical’ shortage of the Islamist fighting force.

It needs to be underscored that TTP militants are gearing up to put a violent show of resistance against the Pakistani state. A video recently released by their media wing reflects this, in which the Pakistani ‘Murtadeen’ (Apostates – a term they use for the general Pakistani public) are threatened of dire consequences by Ghazwan Swati, the TTP Chitral Commander.

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Talha Ibrahim - is a certified conflict analyst of United States Institute of Peace.

Discussion5 Comments

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    Very informative but saddening that it is violence, more violence that seem to be identified by these fierce Islamists, who are a real force to reckon with.

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    Very funny, that this author at PKKH admits TTP is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, both of whom he struggles to paint as ‘terrorist’, while the editors on this site believe only TTP is terrorist, and Al-Qaeda heroic.Shows the confused state of mind of an ISI sponsored motley crew of nationalists with varying ulterior motives.

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      One must understand that all these Islamic radicalised fundamentalists are same except that they suffer from an ego of superiority-inferiority complex, in that that who is superior jihadi? Bigger the jihadi, better he thinks is he closer to ‘Allah’ the benevolent. This psychology keeps them both closer as well as farther away. Their essential feature in brutality is common, as I perceive it. This dichotomous behavior confuses everybody.

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    Mr. Qutbi

    I commend your efforts in discovering irregularities on this website related to Al Qaeda.
    As a professional organisation, we do take these kind of claims very seriously.

    Pkkh has never been supportive of Al Qaeda terror tactics, but perhaps you might have mis interpreted any of our articles related to AQ – frankly speaking which we don’t know as yet.

    It would be highly appreciative, if you can forward us Pkkh web links, which you found contradictory on my email id (

    You can also post those weblinks in the comment box over here for the benefit of our readers.

    Rest assured, this motley crew of nationalists with varying ulterior motives will look into this matter.


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    Why try to distinguish between terrorist groups?…they are all radical Islamists who believe in killing as a method of disseminating their twisted Islamic views…trying to determine how twisted one group is over the other is a futile excersize…wake up!!! They are all murderers who use violence on a daily basis and should be eliminated from a civilized society..stop making excuses for barbarians In the 21st century…

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