Omar Khalid [center], from a propaganda video released in 2012. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.
An influential commander in the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has issued a statement claiming that the group executed 23 Frontier Corps troops in retaliation for the death of jihadists by security forces.
The statement was sent to The Long War Journal yesterday by Omar Khurasani, the spokesman for the similarly named Omar Khalid al Khurasani, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan's emir for the Mohmand tribal agency. The Mohmand Taliban leader signed the document.
In the statement, Omar Khalid said the Pakistani government and security forces are continuing to target Taliban fighters and are also executing jihadists currently in custody.
The Mohmand Taliban branch has not released evidence of the execution of the 23 Frontier Corps troops, who were captured in 2010 during Taliban raids on security outposts in the region. In the past, the Pakistani Taliban have released videotapes of brutal mass executions of captured Pakistani soldiers, Frontier Corps troops, and policemen.
Omar Khalid claimed that his forces executed the troops because the Taliban are currently in negotiations with the government. He is said to oppose negotiations, which have been approved by Mullah Fazlullah, the emir of the group.
The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has been engaged in open warfare as well as terror attacks and assassinations in Pakistan's cities. Omar Khalid is a known hardliner in the organization, which itself is one of the more radical jihadist groups in the country.
Omar Khalid is a dangerous commander who maintains close ties to al Qaeda and is believed to have given sanctuary to Ayman al Zawahiri in the past. He also was close to slain al Qaeda emir Osama bin Laden. His fighters come from Pakistan as well as Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and various Arab nations [for more information on Omar Khalid al Khurasani, see LWJ report, Taliban commander wants Pakistan's nukes, global Islamic caliphate]. Khalid is closely allied with Qari Zia Rahman, a dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda commander who operates in northeastern Afghanistan. Both men have deployed female suicide bombers. [See Threat Matrix report, Female suicide bomber kills 4 outside Pakistani hospital.]
The announcement of the executions comes at a time when other jihadists in Pakistan are bristling at negotiations with the government. A group of jihadists recently split from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and formed Ahrar-ul-Hind. Although the group said it is still "brothers" with the Taliban, it vowed to continue to conduct attacks inside Pakistan's cities and said it would not abide by any peace agreement. [See LWJ report, Pakistani jihadists form Ahrar-ul-Hind, vow to continue attacks.]