PAKISTAN

Army finds unlikely Taliban ally in battle for South Waziristan

As it battles the main Taliban forces holed up in the country's mountainous South Waziristan province, the Pakistani army has found an unlikely ally in independent Taliban groups opposed to their rivals' campaign of terrorist attacks.

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Qari Nasir Mehsud leads one of the many independent Taliban factions in north-western Pakistan’s rugged tribal zone, from where they target international forces across the border in Afghanistan.

For Pakistani authorities, Mehsud and his 10,000-strong contingent are allies in a fight against a common enemy: the Pakistani Taliban led by Hakimullah Mehsud, who claimed responsibility for a series of attacks across Pakistani cities in recent weeks.

The Pakistani army launched a massive operation earlier this month to root out Pakistani Taliban insurgents from South Waziristan.

“Today we support the army because we are against these terrorists who are harming our country. There are 10,000 of us in total but we have 3000 men based in South Waziristan who are watching and reporting back to the Pakistani secret services about the activities of the TTP,” a Taliban member told FRANCE 24.

For now the army seems to have turned a blind eye even though it knows Qari Nasir Mehsud and others like him will try to establish Taliban rule in Pakistan once they have succeeded in Afghanistan - for their ultimate goal is to see Pakistan adopt Islamic law.

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