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Jamaatul Ahrar, Hizbul Ahrar Rejoin TTP, Plead Allegiance To Taliban Chief Mufti Noor

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Jamaatul Ahrar and Hizbul Ahrar have rejoined the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan ‘to fight the Pakistani state and its system of governance’, said its spokesperson in a post on the internet.

Mohammad Khurasani, the main spokesman, announced that Umar Khalid Khurasani, head of Jamaatul Ahrar, and Umar Khurasani, head of Hizbul Ahrar, dissolved their groups and took the oath of allegiance to TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud.

The TTP, designated a terrorist group by the United States, has been in disarray in recent years, especially after several of its top leaders were killed by US drone strikes on both sides of the border, forcing its members into shelter in Afghanistan, or fleeing to urban Pakistan.

“Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan welcomes them,” the TTP statement said of the two splinter groups, adding that it would like all groups to unite.

The reunion with JuA and HuA appears significant in view of the rise in militant attacks against security forces, most claimed by the TTP, including some suicide bombings.

The Taliban said the two groups pledged allegiance to the TTP chief, Mufti Noor Wali, shown in photos at a ceremony. It was not clear what side of the border the ceremony took place.

According to Reuters, government and military officials did not comment on the merger or the location of the ceremony. The JuA, which broke from the TTP in 2014, has been involved in major attacks, including the 2016 suicide bombing in a park in Lahore that the group said targeted Christians celebrating Easter.

It killed more than 70 people. The HuA, a faction that further split from the JuA, has not been so active.

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Naya Daur