The leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban, Hakimullah Mahsud, has been isolated for much of the last year and is rapidly losing control of his organisation, according to news reports from Pakistan.
A report in the Express Tribune, for example, notes that there was a large split from the organisation recently, when Fazal Saeed Haqqani - in charge of the TTP in the Kurram tribal region - announced that he was leaving the organisation, along with around 1,000 of his fighters. Haqqani said he was opposed to the killing of civilians. The TTP has killed hundreds of civilians in a series of indiscriminate bombings throughout Pakistan in the last two years.
Just days before, Shakirullah Shakir, the main spokesman for the TTP's Fidayeeen-e-Islam suicide squad, was gunned down in in the Qutab Khail area of Miranshah in North Waziristan while riding his motorcycle to Mir Ali. No-one claimed responsibility for the targetted killing, but it is likely that the two events are connected. Shakir was a close aide to Qari Hussein Mahsud, the TTP's main organiser of suicide bombings.
Haqqani said he had decided to form a new organisation called Tehreek-e-Taliban Islami that will concentrate on fighting in Afghanistan: "“I repeatedly told the leadership council of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan that they should stop suicide attacks against mosques, markets and other civilian targets,” Haqqani told the AFP news agency by telephone.
“Islam does not allow killings of innocent civilians in suicide attacks,” he said, likening what TTP does in Pakistan to “what US troops are doing in Afghanistan” and vowing to continue the fight alone against the Americans.
There have also been reports of fighting between TTP factions in Khyber and Orakzai districts in recent weeks.
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