Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

The shifting alliances of Pakistan and Afghanistan’s militants


The Jihadica website has just posted an item about an apparent rift between al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban in the so-called Quetta shura led by Mullah Omar.

“Mullah Omar’s Afghan Taliban and al-Qa’ida’s senior leaders have been issuing some very mixed messages of late, and the online jihadi community is in an uproar, with some calling these developments ‘the beginning of the end of relations’ between the two movements,” it says.

“Beginning with a statement from Mullah Omar in September, the Afghan Taliban’s Quetta-based leadership has been emphasizing the ‘nationalist’ character of their movement, and has sent several communications to Afghanistan’s neighbors expressing an intent to establish positive international relations.  In what are increasingly being viewed by the forums as direct rejoinders to these sentiments, recent messages from al-Qa’ida have pointedly rejected the ‘national’ model of revolutionary Islamism and reiterated calls for jihad against Afghanistan’s neighbors, especially Pakistan and China.”

Reports of rifts between different militant groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan have surfaced before, particularly between Mullah Omar’s Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban, the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), over the latter’s insistence on targetting Pakistan. Mullah Omar, according to media reports earlier this year, wanted the TTP – which is believed to be close to al Qaeda – to focus instead on fighting western troops in Afghanistan.