Tom Hussain reports: The recently formed South Asian chapter of ISIL has made a military alliance with the Pakistani Taliban and other militants to resist advancing security forces in the Khyber tribal area bordering Afghanistan, militants and security analysts said.
The alliance has been formed to marshal scattered manpower and weapons, and deploy them under a unified military command supervised by a committee of representatives of the four member factions: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the Khyber-based Lashkar-i-Islam, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and ISIL “Khorasan”.
Khorasan is a historic term used by militants to describe a region including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India.
The involvement of ISIL Khorasan in the alliance represents the group’s first political and military activity in the region after announcing its formation in a video posted on militant websites on January 10.
In the video, a collection of former Pakistani and Afghan Taliban faction commanders swore an oath of allegiance to ISIL chief Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, and named a Pakistani militant, Hafiz Saeed Orakzai, as head of the South Asia chapter. Other commanders were introduced in person and by rank — a risky, defiant move, according to security analysts based in Islamabad.
ISIL Khorasan has a force of fighters numbering in the hundreds, all of them Pakistani tribesmen. [Continue reading…]