Militant groups regrouping in Afghanistan


TALIBAN-1-640x408By Roohan Ahmed

KARACHI: Militant organizations, who fled the Zarb-e-Azb military offensive in Pakistan, are regrouping in Afghanistan, Samaa has learnt.
Sources said leaders of at least five militant organizations met in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province last year in November.

“Representatives of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al- Almi (an offshoot of LeJ with ties to both al-Qaeda and Daesh), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Mullah Fazlullah group, Sheheryar Mehsud group and Khalid Mehsud group participated in the meeting,” said a source.

Mehsud group, a breakaway faction of TTP, that had parted ways with Fazlullah group over leadership differences has rejoined the parent organization and its chief Khalid Mehsud alias Khan Said Sajna has been named the deputy Emir of TTP.

TTP-JA in a video released last week had also urged unity among the ranks of militant organizations and announced possible targets as part of Operation Ghazi – named after slain Lal Masjid Khateeb Ghazi Abdul Rasheed.

A security official requesting anonymity revealed that the Law Enforcement Agencies are well aware of terror designs and Islamabad in past have also shared intelligence with Kabul, telling them that militants present in some Afghan provinces are involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan.

Terrorists have carried out eight attacks in the past week targeting all provincial capitals of Pakistan. The last, and the deadliest, attack was on Pakistan’s most famous sufi shrine of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in which over 80 people have embraced martyrdom.

The attack was claimed by Daesh through its Amaq news agency. However, the security agencies are looking for possible connection between Daesh and other terror group.

Jama’at-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of TTP led by Omar Khalid Khurasani and Khurasan chapter of Daesh both claimed last year’s attack on lawyers in the capital of Balochistan province.

In October last year, terrorists attacked the Police training academy in Quetta in which 60 police cadets were killed. LeJ Al-Almi spokesman had claimed responsibility for this attack and said his organization with the help of Daesh Khurasan carried out the attack and will cooperate with any organization against Pakistan’s security agencies.

In January, over 40 people had died in a suicide bombing claimed by LeJ Al-Almi and Sheheryar Mehsud group in a vegetable market in Parachinaar area of Pakistan’s Tribal Kurram Agency.

Pakistan through military and civilian diplomatic channels has a number of times told Afghanistan that militants using Afghan soil are targeting civilians and army soldiers in Pakistan.

Major General Asif Ghafoor, the spokesman of Pakistan’s military, tweeted after the Sehwan suicide blast that ‘recent terror attacks are being carried out on directions and from sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

Sources within the militants’ circle confirmed the presence of anti-Pakistan groups in Nuristan, Kunar and Zabul provinces of Afghanistan.

LeJ Al-Almi chief, Yousuf Mansoor, survived an assassination attempt in Afghanistan’s Zabul province late last year.

Responding to terror attack in Sehwan, a spokesman for Afghan Ministry of Interior, Sediq Sediqqi, said Daesh’s Khurasan chapter poses enormous threat and caused endless sufferings to people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“IS Khurasan has killed many innocents, we should crash and eliminate them together,” said Sediqqi.

“Fighters of Lashkar-e Jhangvi and other groups linked to terrorists, particularly to IS and international terrorists, are present here,” Governor of Zabul province Bismillah Afghanmal told Radio Free Afghanistan in January.