Mullah Omar orders Taliban to stop attacking Pakistan forces

Other News Materials 24 February 2009 21:06 (UTC +04:00)

The leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan has directed Pakistani militants to immediately halt attacks on Pakistani forces and divert their resources to defeat the US-led international forces in Afghanistan, a media report said on Tuesday.

Mullah Mohammad Omar, the head of ousted Taliban regime, in a letter addressed to the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leadership and other militant leaders, said that fighting fellow Muslims was not jihad.

"Attacks on Pakistan's security forces and killings of fellow Muslims in the tribal areas and elsewhere in Pakistan is bringing a bad name to mujahidin and harming the war against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan," he was quoted as saying in the letter by Pakistan's English language daily The News.

The letter from the reclusive top Taliban leader coincided with this week's "indefinite" ceasefire announced by Taliban fighting Pakistani forces in restive Swat valley in Pakistan and the tribal district of Bajaur that borders Afghanistan.

The letter was mainly addressed to the three rival Pakistani Taliban leaders who decided to join forces last week to fight what they termed as "common enemies", referring to international forces in Afghanistan.

Baitullah Mehsud of TTP, and his rival Taliban commanders Maulvi Nazir of South Wazirsitan and Hafiz Gul Bahadar from North Waziristan, formed a new alliance called Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahideen (Council of Unity of Mujahidin) to focus on fighting in Afghanistan.

The new alliance has been ordered by Mullah Omar to devise a new strategy to counter the western forces in Afghanistan because of the anticipated surge in troop numbers, The News reported.

Mullah Omar said in his letter: "Our aim is to liberate Afghanistan from the occupation forces and death and destruction in Pakistan has never been our goal."

US President Barack Obama recently announced the deployment of an additional 17,000 soldiers to Afghanistan this year.

This will increase the numbers of American troops in the war-torn country to more than 50,000 soldiers, the largest troop presence since the ouster of Taliban regime in 2001.

Mehsud is suspected of ordering dozens of attacks inside Pakistan over the last two years, including the one that killed former prime minister and wife of current President Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhutto.

By contrast, the other two Taliban leaders, Bahadar and Nazir, are believed to be pro-Pakistan leaders who focus their resources solely on launching cross border attacks on NATO in Afghanistan.

But both Bahadar and Nazir are seemingly upset by the regular attacks by US unmanned drones, which reportedly operate with the assistance of Pakistan, in their regions.