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Did Pakistan’s arch-foe Noor Wali Mehsud survive an attack in Afghanistan?

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Noor Wali Mehsud (Photo: Twitter)

The social media is rife with information of a daring attack on Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Noor Wali Mehsud in his playground – Afghanistan. Social media says that the top terrorist leader has been injured along with his bodyguards but there is no information about the attack in the mainstream media in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Information on the social media says that Mehsud’s convoy was attacked along with his bodyguards in Kunar province that lies on the conflicted border with Pakistan. Some of the tweets even allege the
role of Pakistani spy agency – the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) behind the attack on Mehsud.

The STRATCOM Bureau’s tweet says that an unidentified kill-team engaged High Value Target (HVT) Mehsud along with 14 other fighters. It adds that Mehsud and some of his entourage were injured but managed to escape. It says that his motorcade was attacked after it left a meeting with leaders of the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar in Kunar province.


Another Twitter account, Afghan Tribune, says that Mehsud was attacked by armed men in the adjacent province of Nangarhar while he was coming back from Kunar. It also links the attack to the statement made by Pakistani Defence Minister Asif Khawaja that Pakistan can eliminate the TTP without the Taliban’s cooperation, which has raised temperatures between the two nations.

However, researcher Abdul Sayed tweets that an attack on the TTP emir in the Nangarhar province “is out of the question”. Sayed says: “According to well-informed sources, Mehsud was last there in September 2021 — a few days after the Taliban takeover”.

Why is the social media buzzing with unverified information on Mehsud and what makes the TTP chief so important in the badlands of the Af-Pak region – swarming with terror groups of various shapes and sizes?

Besides being the leader of the TTP, Mehsud has been proscribed by the UN for his terror activities and his close relations with Al-Qaeda.

The UN says that Mehsud is involved in: “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of entities associated with Al-Qaida”. The UN also mentions him over the TTP’s role in numerous deadly terrorist attacks across Pakistan, including those targeting Pakistani security forces
in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Lately, his organisation has been in the crosshairs with the Pakistani government and the army for conducting hundreds of deadly attacks on the Pakistani policemen, paramilitary forces and the army. The hostilities began after Pakistan tried to cosy-up to the US and snub the once friendly-but-independent Taliban government in Kabul.

The Pakistani establishment is under attack from the TTP as it wants to create an administrative and political set-up in Islamabad that is similar to the one in Kabul. Having captured power in Afghanistan in 2021, the TTP and its allies want Pakistan to go the Afghanistan way – that Pakistan also becomes Islamic and implement laws in accordance with Sharia.

With the rise of the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan, dozens of small and big terror groups have been joining the TTP. The TTP in turn is expanding its footprint in Pakistan by opening up units in various provinces of Pakistan.

With the Pakistani Defence Minister Asif Khawaja and army chief Gen. Asim Munir openly challenging the regime in Kabul, and also the TTP, much action will take place in the two nations.