Taliban vow to keep up cross-border attacks
* Commander says Waziristan serving as ‘centre’ for jihad training
By Iqbal Khattak
KOTKAI: The Taliban will not accept any government condition to stop cross-border movement to finalise a peace deal, a militant commander declared last week.
“First, we will not accept such a ban. But we hope the peace deal will be inked without a clause that puts restrictions on mujahideen to cross the border (into Afghanistan),” Abu Zakwan, Taliban commander in the Kotkai area of South Waziristan, told Daily Times on Saturday. Using the alias of Abu Zakwan, the commander said that government negotiators are asking for a pledge to stop cross-border attacks, but the Taliban were not committing to such an agreement.
Jihad centre: He said Waziristan was serving the region as “centre for jihad” and people from across the country were being trained for holy war “against the United States”.
Meanwhile, Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud broke his silence over differences with commander Maulvi Nazir, who ousted foreign militants from South Waziristan last year. “He (Maulvi Nazir) has committed sin by helping the army (against foreign militants),” Mehsud told Daily Times.
“(Maulvi Nazir) helped army against mujahideen. He is out of the Taliban and Muslims’ rank,” Mehsud said. “We would like him to come on our side and fight along with us against the army. But he likes to be friend of the army,” he added.