Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), famously known as Pakistani Taliban, is the deadliest among all indigenous militant outfits. The inceptions leading to the formation of TTP went back to the days of NATO operations in Afghanistan after 9/11. After the American intervention in Afghanistan, a section of radicals started a movement inside Pakistan to support the Taliban. They remained just sympathiser till Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) incident happened in July 2007.
In December 2007 the existence of the TTP was officially announced under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud. 13 groups united under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud to form the TTP in an undisclosed place in South Waziristan Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The sole objective of the Shura meeting was to unite the small militant fractions under the leadership of TTP against NATO forces in Afghanistan and to wage a defensive jihad against Pakistani forces.
- Enforce Shari’ah, unite against NATO forces in Afghanistan and perform “defensive jihad” against the Pakistan Army.
- React strongly if military operations are not stopped in Swat District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and North Waziristan Agency of FATA.
- Demand the abolishment of all military checkpoints in the FATA area.
- Demand the release of Lal Masjid Imam Abdul Aziz.
- Refuse future peace deals with the Government of Pakistan.
- Hakimullah Mehsud – Amir (Chief) of TTP.
- Omar Khalid – Chief of Mohmand Agency Chapter
- Waliur Rehman Mehsud – Chief of South Waziristan Agency Chapter
- Faqir Mohammed – Chief of Bajaur Agency Chapter
- Wali Muhammad – Appointed head of TTP in Wana
- Maulana Fazlullah aka Radio Mullah – Chief of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM, based in Swat, KP)
- Baitullah Mehsud – Founder leader of TTP – deceased August 2009.
- Qari Hussain – Lieutenant to Baitullah Mehsud – deceased October 7, 2010.
- Qari Zainuddin Mehsud – Leader of South Waziristan Agency (Tank) – deceased June 23, 2009.
- Maulvi Muhammad Iftikhar- One the six senior most TTP and former Red Mosque leader – deceased October 14, 2011.
- Azam Tariq
- Ehsanullah Ehsan aka Ahsanullah Ahsan
- Muhammad Suleman – Spokesperson for TTP (Wana Region).
- Maulvi Omar – close aide of Baitullah Mehsud – arrested August 18, 2009.
- Muslim Khan – arrested September 11, 2009.
Area of operation and Strength
The group contains membership from all of FATA’s seven tribal agencies as well as several districts of the KP. Estimates place the total number of operatives between 30,000 and 35,000. Headquartered in the South Waziristan Agency of FATA, TTP has spread its networks into all of Pakistan’s four provinces, establishing various ‘Chapters’ and groups led by local ‘commanders’ with common organisational goals. The TTP has also made its presence felt in neighbouring Afghanistan in recent times.
There is an overlap of membership between TTP and other sectarian terrorist outfits that operate across the country, each pursuing its own internal and external agendas. On November 23, 2008, the then TTP spokesman, Mullah Omer, had said, “The Taliban are present in Karachi and have links with the LeJ, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and other banned religious organisations.” Apart from these sectarian groups, there are others with which the TTP has established linkages, primarily including Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), HuM and Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI). Media reports on January 5, 2011, indicated that five terrorist groups had joined the TTP and were working under its umbrella TTP. With common aims and enemies, LeJ, SSP, JeM, HuM and Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA) had ‘merged’ with TTP. TTP spokesman Azam Tariq declared, “We have not forced anyone to join TTP, and the leaders and activists of the banned religious organisations have united themselves under the umbrella of the TTP on their own choice.”
The US Department of State had put the TTP on its list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations on September 1, 2010. On January 18, 2011, Britain moved to ban the TTP, making it illegal to belong to or raise funds for the organisation in Britain. Subsequently, on July 5, 2011, Canada designated the TTP as a terrorist organisation. Vic Toews, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, noted that putting TTP on the terrorism blacklist was “an essential part of our efforts to combat terrorism and keep our communities safe.” On July 29, 2011, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) put the TTP on its international anti-terrorism sanctions list in a move highlighting the growing threat from the outfit. The outfit was banned in Pakistan on August 25, 2008.