In a rare appearance, Pakistani Taliban chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud appeared in a video purportedly showing him as passing instructions to militants fighting the army in Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The viral video surfaced as the terror group, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, made a bid to capture the border district in the Afghanistan and Gilgit-Baltistan region.
The TTP’s top leadership has appeared for the first time after January and said Pakistan was relaying propaganda and the group had captured Chitral. The video showing Mehsud is available on online platforms associated with the Taliban. He is seen giving directions over a wireless walkie-talkie in a location around a Pakistani security checkpoint on the Afghan border.
Leader of outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud in a rare 5:41 minutes video shared on militant channels, communicating via walkie talkie to TTP militants in Chitral; encouraging fighters for fight and establishment of Islamic System in Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/230uq0RDHS— Saleem Mehsud (@SaleemMehsud) September 7, 2023
In the video, Mehsud specifically claims that he is present upon the insistence of his friends to oversee the entire attack. But, the Taliban is also in fear of operations from Pakistani forces inside Afghanistan. The group is expecting drone attacks specifically targeting their senior leadership.
According to top sources, the TTP claimed that Pakistani soldiers were in their custody. They said 10 army personnel have been killed and 75 captured alive in the battle.
Sources said the Pakistani media has been banned from broadcasting the attacks, even as the TTP confirmed the reports and said it was carrying out organised attacks on forces in Chitral.
The Pakistani Army is using a fake narrative that the TTP is using Afghan territory, sources said. CNN-News18 tried reaching the Pakistan prime minister’s office and the information ministry but did not get a response.
The attacks began on September 6 when militants attacked two border check points in Chitral district. Media reports, however, quoted the media wing of the Pakistani army as saying that a “large group of terrorists equipped with latest weapons” attacked two military posts located close to the Afghanistan border in Chitral district’s general area of Kalash.
“Security forces of Pakistan are determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our soldiers further strengthen our resolve. The brave people of Chitral also stand firmly with the security forces in not allowing the terrorists to ruin the peace of the area,” the army said.
(With PTI inputs)