View Full Version : Bin Laden’s death demoralises TTP

05-06-2011, 06:04 PM (

By Ashfaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR – The death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden May 2 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, has dealt a severe blow to the already beleaguered Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), demoralising it to an extent that could mean its disintegration in the near future.

A TTP collapse could ultimately bring back peace, which so far has eluded the tribal population, analysts and tribal area residents say.

“Osama bin Laden’s death has definitely demoralised the TTP because Osama’s death has served as a warning for them that they can be killed or arrested as well,” defence analyst Prof. Hasan Askari Rizvi told Central Asia Online by telephone.

Bin Laden’s death hurts the will to fight The TTP will likely fall apart because its al-Qaeda comrades will lose heart after bin Laden’s death, Rizvi said. Hundreds of al-Qaeda members operate in North and South Waziristan under TTP leadership.

“The TTP has given shelter to the al-Qaeda fugitives who arrived from Afghanistan to escape the operation there. They are on the run,” Rizvi said. “Several al-Qaeda members have been killed in Waziristan by air strikes, which means they are very much present in tribal area.”

“His death has already upset the TTP, which initially denied his killing but later acknowledged (it),” he said. Brig. Mehmood Shah, former security chief of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), agreed. “The TTP received funding from al-Qaeda for its sabotage activities in Pakistan,” he said. “Due to bin Laden’s death, all TTP factions in Pakistan will vanish sooner or ... later.”

Money will dry up

Right now, the TTP can retaliate, but in the long run, it cannot persevere, Shah said. He characterised the TTP as willing to do anything for money – but its funding is likely to dry up now that bin Laden is dead.

The Afghan Taliban and TTP, working as al-Qaeda foot soldiers, have killed 30,000 people in the past few years, Shah, an authority on al-Qaeda and the Taliban, said.

“The TTP and Afghan Taliban are mercenaries of al-Qaeda,” he said. “Bin Laden’s death is a welcome sign for the tribal people who were often affected by Pakistani militants.”

“In the past there were several peace agreements between the TTP and the Pakistani army, but all those didn’t last long (because) al-Qaeda didn’t approve of any peace deal,” he said. The TTP always had to obey al-Qaeda’s wishes, since it depended on al-Qaeda for funding, he explained.

Refugees express hope

Internal refugees are hoping their lives will change.

“About 15,000 families from Mohmand, Bajaur and Khyber agencies have been living in Jallozai camp in Nowshera during the past two years,” Abdullah Mohmand, a camp dweller, said.

Abdullah, a mason, arrived in August during when the army conducted an anti-militant offensive in his native village in Pandyali Tehsil in Mohmand Agency. He lives with his 10-member family in a tiny tent.

“I have a very good house in my village,” he said. “Life is like hell. Osama’s death is a ray of hope that the TTP could further split.”

Standing beside him was shopkeeper Jamal Shah, 35, of militancy-hit Khyber Agency, who said that displaced persons welcomed the news of bin Laden's death as a possible sign of the TTP’s demise.

“Al-Qaeda was an old organisation formed by Arab militants in the early '80s,” he said. “The TTP was formed in 2005 by the Pakistani Taliban, but Osama acted as the cementing force.”

Not just the TTP but all militant outfits will feel Osama’s death, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told Central Asia Online.

“Most of (Osama’s) comrades from Palestine, Egypt, Chechnya, etc. were unreliable and always fought among each other,” he said. Now with bin Laden gone, declining morale and unresolved quarrels will drag the TTP and al-Qaeda down, he predicted.

Students jubilant
The Waziristan Students Organisation (WSO) at the University of Peshawar is jubilant over bin Laden’s death.

“The al-Qaeda men who are hiding in Waziristan are a symbol of terror for the entire world. I don’t think al-Qaeda and Taliban can survive now when their leader is no longer alive,” said Murad Ali Wazir, information secretary for the WSO, which was formed three years ago to safeguard the interests of the tribal students hit by the militancy.

“We also plan to organise a grand musical show to mark our pleasure over Osama’s killing,” he told Central Asia Online.

“We want the government to start an aggressive campaign against the Taliban now and eliminate them before they get reorganised,” he said. “The TTP … has warned of retaliation against Pakistan, but I think it is a spent force now and (we) just need a slight push to eliminate it once and for all.”