Taliban’s supreme commander Mullah Mohammad Omar now in hiding has put pressure on his groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan to form a new grouping which has pledged to stop targeting Pakistani security forces and instead focus attention on US-led troops in Afghanistan.
“Following the intervention of one-eyed Omar, the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban formed a joint five-member shura or council with other Pakistani militant groups on Sunday to oversee an end to attacks on Pakistani forces,” The News daily quoted its sources in the Taliban as saying.
Mullah Omar has not surfaced since the flight of the Taliban from Kabul in 2001 and according to reports is sheltering in and around Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s restive southwestern Balochistan province.
The new shura includes the Haqqani network and powerful commanders of the groups led by Maulvi Nazeer and Hafiz Gul Bahadur who have already signed a peace deal with the Pakistan army.
The new entrants into the shura are the factions of Pakistani Taliban led by Hakimullah Mehsud and Maulana Waliur Rahman from South Waziristan.
The moves to unite factions of Afghan and Pakistani Taliban comes in the wake of pressure by the US government on Islamabad to take military action against these groups believed to be a massed in North Waziristan.
The Taliban sources said Mullah Omar was unhappy with the Pakistani Taliban for carrying out suicide attacks kidnapping people for ransom and killing innocent people.