World Bulletin / News Desk
Fractured by a recent split within its ranks, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) network of Pakistani Taliban groups has a made a fresh offer for peace in the norhthwestern South Waziristan tribal area on Monday.
The offer comes after the Mehsud tribe, based in South Waziristan, parted ways with the wider Taliban network last week.
Dawood Masood, a purported TTP spokesman, told local reporters that the Taliban network was “fully united” under the leadership of Mullah Fazlullah and ready to bring peace to South Waziristan if the government showed “seriousness.”
He said the split within the grouping's ranks is a “conspiracy” and downplayed the capacity and influence of the Mehsud group, which is being led by Khalid Mehsud, who uses the alias Khan Syed Sajna.
Sajna was close to the TTP's founding chief Baitullah Mehsud and his successor Hakeemullah Mehsud -- who were both killed in separate U.S. drone attacks -- but he was opposed to the leadership of Mullah Fazlullah. Fazlullah was the first non-Mehsud TTP chief and Sajna accused the group of targeting civilians and dividing the "Mehsud nation" under his leadership.
The division of the TTP has been considered a significant blow to its capacity, with more than 40 percent belonging to the Mehsud tribe, but Masood argued that they remain strong.
“The break-away of Sajna group is a tactic to weaken the TTP but let me make it clear that the Taliban are united under the leadership of Mullah Fazlullah, and no such conspiracy will succeed,” he said.
The split, experts believe, has jeopardized the fate of stop-start peace negotiations between the government and the TTP, aimed at ending a decade-long insurgency in the country that has killed thousands.
The process that began in January was suspended after the TTP ended its 40-day long ceasefire with the security forces in April. Around 125 “insurgents” and two dozen soldiers have been killed in air strikes and bloody clashes between the two sides in different parts of the Afghanistan-bordering tribal in the last three weeks.Last Mod: 02 Haziran 2014, 17:17