Tuesday, 29 March 2016: Commander Gul Janat Mahsud alias Zabul Mahsud, a senior militant commander of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (Hakimullah Mahsud Group) declared that he has join the Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Akhtar Mansur to continue its fight against Afghan government and foreign troops in Afghanistan. Mahsud leads a group of militants believed to have around 250 fighters.
In a telephonic conversation with Mr. Sailab Mahsud, FRC’s field research for the Waziristan region and a notable tribal journalist, Zabal Mahsud, while speaking from an undisclosed location in South Waziristan Agency, stated that he and his group has separated from Hakimullah group. “I along with my 250 fighters have parted ways from Hakimullah group and have joined the Afghan Taliban … all of my fighters support my decision and I along with my group is now part of the Afghan Taliban,” he stated.
This is the third time since past one month that there is a continuous streak of desertion from the Hakimullah Mahsud group led by Commander Shehryar Mahsud. Earlier, on 29 February 2016, Commander Waheedullah Mahsud alias Jigri, the operational commander of Hakimullah group for Pakistan and Afghanistan, surrendered to the Pakistan Army along with 24 fighters in Wana, headquarters of the South Waziristan Agency.
Similarly, a couple of weeks earlier, more than 150 militants of the Hakimullah Group surrendered to the Pakistan Army in South Waziristan. The latest secession of Gul Janat alias Zabal Mahsud along with his fighters is a huge setback for Hakimullah Group. Such dissertations may endanger the existence of Hakimullah Group in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is important to mention that Shehryar Mahsud was appointed by TTP’s head, Mullah Fazlullah, as the head of TTP-South Waziristan chapter in November 2013.