ISLAMABAD - While Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi-led Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) appears to be superceding al-Qaeda as the world’s most dangerous Jihadi outfit, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has announced support for the newly emerged organisation, according to a blogger of ISIS.
Abu al Bawi who runs the campaign for the ISIS via social media, said that the Pakistani Taliban have a long history of relations with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi militants in Iraq and they still support the cause of ISIS. “Our stance on ISIS and the groups fighting the group is abundantly clear. We support those Mujahideen who fight for the sake of the survival of the caliphate. We do not support groups fighting with the support of the intelligence services, even if they are from our country”, Abu al Bawi quoted a Taliban commander as saying.
According to the post, TTP’s slain commander Qari Hussain was in contact with Iraqi militants who sent suicide bombers to Al Baghdadi to carry out suicide missions there. “The leader of the martyrs, Qari Hussain Mehsood Ibn al-Shaheed, sent two members of Tehrik-e-Taliban, Zahidullah and Abdul Aziz, to Iraq to carry out martyrdom operations”.
Qari Hussain (killed in 2010 in a US drone strike) was the founding leader of Fidayeen-e-Islam, the Taliban suicide bombing squad who trained and indoctrinated ‘walking bombs’ that not only carried out suicide attacks in Pakistan but also abroad. According to Qari Hussain, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant, responsible for several attacks in Iraq, impressed him to start suicide bombings in Pakistan. Hussain had also claimed responsibility for training Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani American who was behind the planting of the Time Square car bomb in 2010. “We remember the Muslims involved in the car bombing in Times Square in New York in revenge for our two martyred sheikhs Abu Omar al Baghdadi and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir on May 1, 2010”, said the post while claiming connections with Qari Hussain.
According to Abu al Bawi, there is no difference in belief between the Pakistani Taliban and the members of ISIS and they all are united. “The Mujahideen from Pakistan to Iraq are united, and there are no differences between them, and the names like Tehrik-e-Taliban or ISIS are nothing but a strategy of war and there is no a difference in belief. We are one.”
Abu al Bawi claims that senior Al-Qaeda members from Afghanistan have also extended their support to Al-Baghdadi. “All the lads here (Afghanistan) are with Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Send my Salam and love and my respect to him and tell him that we are his army in the land of Khurasan. We await your orders and directives”, Sheikh Abul Huda As-Sudani was quoted as saying.
ISIS was formed by Al-Baghdadi in April 2013; it grew out of Al-Qaeda but the latter reportedly disowned the group, as it did not follow the directive of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri who “urged the ISIS to focus on Iraq and leave Syria to al-Nusra Front (another militant outfit)”.
On June 29, 2014, ISIS declared a new caliphate to claim dominion over Muslims across the globe on the basis of the territory it holds in both the countries. The group also announced its shadowy leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as Caliph to fill the office, which was vacant since 1924 when modern Turkey abolished the Ottoman Empire.
The declaration of Al-Baghdadi as caliph has offended many Islamist groups worldwide. Al-Qaeda has already disowned it while Hizb ut Tahrir (HT), an international pan-Islamic political organization says that the announcement is ‘mere rhetoric without any weight’ as the organization has neither authority in Syria and Iraq nor has it achieved ‘security and protection’ internally and externally, which is mandatory for the establishment of the Islamic Khilafat.
The Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan consider Mullah Omar as Amir ul Momineen but so far no official statements have emerged regarding the Islamic caliphate of ISIS.
—Tahir Ali is a freelance journalist