PESHAWAR - Pakistani Tehreek-e-Taliban has denied reports that it has pledged allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), saying it is not supporting any specific group in these countries.
TTP which was formed in 2007, in a statement last week, said the Taliban would offer every possible support to Islamic State. This statement was reported by several media outlets as a declaration of allegiance to the group.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahid Shahidullah said the statement issued by it last week was intended as an expression of support for all Islamist militants fighting in Syria and Iraq and struggling against Western interests. TTP, headed by fugitive Mullah Fazlullah, said its statement had been misinterpreted. “Some media outlets did not publish our statement correctly,” Shahidullah told reporters on phone from an undisclosed location.
“We are not supporting any specific group in Syria or Iraq, all groups there are noble and they are our brothers,” he said.
Shahidullah said the Pakistani Taliban continued to align itself with Mullah Omar, the Afghan Taliban supremo. “Mullah Omar is our head and we are following him,” he said.
IS which has taken over vast swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq is a splinter group of Al-Qaeda which has distanced itself from the outfit, chiding it for its aggressive and brutal expansion. Al-Qaeda, which includes dozens of Pakistan-based terror groups and sectarian outfits, is facing challenges from IS which is trying to extend its influence into South Asia.