Articles by Amir Mir

What made US tag Fazlullah a global terrorist?

ISLAMABAD: Although, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Ameer Mullah Fazlullah has been designated a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’ by the US State Department in the aftermath of the Peshawar school massacre, the Americans have a legitimate reason to proceed against him since he had orchestrated the killing of three US soldiers in the Shahi Kot area of Lower Dir on February 3, 2010.

Six months down the road since the launching of the Operation Zarb-e-Azab in North Waziristan, the days of Fazlullah seems to have been numbered, mainly because he is not only being hunted by Pakistan but also by the United States as both the countries have agreed to cooperate on finding and killing the head of Pakistani Taliban, who is operating from a hideout in the Kunar province of eastern Afghanistan on the Pak-Afghan border.

Highly-informed sources in the security establishment insist that Kabul has also agreed to share intelligence on Fazlullah with Pakistan as well as the United States. Even before tagging him a global terrorist, the Americans were making frantic efforts to eliminate him with the help of CIA-run drones, before he can find another hiding place. The Pakistani authorities had actually sought help from Washington and Kabul after capturing wireless and cell phone messages, which established beyond an iota of doubt that Fazlullah had himself directed the Peshawar school carnage that killed 133 innocent children.

The State Department press release about Fazlullah’s tagging mentions that under his leadership, the TTP claimed responsibility for the December 16, 2014 attack on a school in Peshawar which killed at least 148 individuals, mostly students.

“Prior to becoming the leader of TTP, Fazlullah claimed he was behind the killing of the Pakistan Army’s Major General Sanaullah Niazi in September 2013, besides ordering the shooting of schoolgirl and activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012. Fazlullah was responsible for the beheading of 17 Pakistani soldiers after an attack in June 2012 and also ordered the targeted killings of elders who led peace committees against the Taliban.”

But Fazlullah has not only killed several Pakistani soldiers, he is also wanted for killing three American soldiers who were trainers. They were targeted while accompanying the Pakistani security forces to the Maidan area in Lower Dir, which was recaptured from the Taliban after the 2009 military operation in Swat.

February 3, 2010 was supposed to be a day of celebration in the village of Shahi Kot in the Lower Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The modest school had been rebuilt with the American funding after the henchmen of Mullah Fazlullah, who are opposed to female education, blew it up. Several Pakistani and American dignitaries were on their way to attend the opening ceremony of the school whose corridors and classrooms bustled with activity. Just before 11am, as the armoured vehicle carrying five soldiers of the US Army Special Forces approached in a convoy of Pakistani security vans, a powerful roadside bomb was detonated. The blast not only killed three US soldiers but also took away the lives of three innocent schoolgirls. The US soldiers who lost their lives included Sgt Mark Stets, Sgt Matthew Sluss-Tiller and Sgt David Hartman. They were the first known casualties of American troops on the Pakistani soil since the launching of the war on terror. Mullah Fazlullah had claimed responsibility for the attack and the killing of American soldiers.

In the aftermath of the Peshawar school carnage, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has announced a bounty of Rs10 million for information leading to the arrest or death of Fazlullah. The fugitive TTP Ameer has not only claimed the Peshawar attack but also called for the deaths of even more innocent people (in a January 5, 2015 video message). Ranting Fazlullah even defended the slaughter of innocent schoolchildren and vowed another ‘spectacular attack’ was being planned. Surrounded (in the video) by his gunmen, Fazlullah ridicules western life and ridicules democracy, saying: “Democracy is Kuffar and Haram. We only obey Shariah.”

On the other hand, the American drones have already intensified their drive to hunt down the TTP Ameer who has recently made ‘Khurasani’ a part of his name, apparently in a bid to counter the growing clout of commander Omar Khalid Khurasani. Fazlullah now ranks No1 on the list of potential targets for the American drones after being tagged as a “common enemy” of the US and Pakistan. As things stand, Fazlullah is being tracked by spies on the ground and drones from the skies. Hence, it seems his days are numbered and he would be droned anytime like his predecessors — Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud.


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