Profile: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
Posted: October 25, 2010
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which operates in the tribal region along the Afghan-Pakistani borders, seeks to expel the Pakistani government and NATO and American forces from the region in order to establish shari'a, or Islamic law.
TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, was formed in December 2007 by Beitullah Mehsud as a loose alliance of Pakistani militant groups. Pakistani and American officials aver that TTP, under Mehsud's leadership, was responsible for several terrorist attacks in Pakistan, including the December 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the September 2008 suicide bombing of a Marriott hotel in Islamabad.
Hakimullah Mehsud inherited the role of emir, or leader, of TTP after Beitullah Mehsud was reportedly killed in a drone attack in August 2009. Hakimullah Mehsud has continued his predecessor's strategy of carrying out attacks against Pakistani military and government installations, as well as attacks on Western targets in the region.
According to the U.S. State Department, TTP maintains a "symbiotic relationship" with Al Qaeda, drawing ideological guidance from the international terrorist organization while providing its operatives a safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border. "They train together, they plan together, they plot together," Senior White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan said. "They are almost indistinguishable."
While most of TTP's terror plots and attacks have been confined within Pakistan and Afghanistan, the May 2010 attempted bombing in New York's Times Square is indicative of the group's extended focus to launch a terror attack in the U.S. TTP facilitated, funded and directed the attempted bombing just five months after a TTP suicide bombing at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan killed seven American citizens.
The U.S. government has since charged TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud with conspiracy to murder U.S. citizens abroad and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S. citizens abroad for his involvement in the suicide bombing at the U.S. military base. In September 2010, the U.S. State Department listed Mehsud and Wali Ur Rehman, TTP's leader in South Waziristan, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists and designated TTP as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Two years earlier, the Pakistani government banned TTP and froze its bank accounts to stem the flow of funds to TTP coffers and to stifle its terrorist activities. In response to these designations, TTP has increased its attacks against foreigners, including aid workers, journalists, diplomats and politicians.