Pak Taliban eyes new allies in wake of renewed US offensive

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Islamabad, July 10 (ANI): Increased pressure from the US and the Pakistani Army on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and al Qaeda may force them to join hands with the militant Sunni radical group Jundallah, a group that staged attacks on Iran and strained Iranian-Pakistani relations.

Ashraf Ali, a Peshawar-based military specialist on the Taliban, said that given Jundallah's historical connections with al Qaeda and the Taliban, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan might seek refuge in Balochistan or join the ranks of Jundallah.

"This would give a totally new dimension to the dynamics of Taliban/al Qaeda militancy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region and may shift some of the problem to the Pakistan-Iran border region," The Washington Times quoted Ali, as saying.

"This is very much possible, as apparently there seems to be no Pakistani troops deployment on the south of the conflict zone towards Balochistan," he added.

Last week, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a hotel in Balochistan's Kalat district, killing four people and injuring 11. The attack appeared aimed at disrupting supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan, since drivers of NATO supply vehicles were eating at the hotel, the Daily Times reported.

Analysts say the incident was a sign of rising Taliban/al Qaeda activities in Balochistan, as well as a possible indication of growing contacts between Waziristan-based militant groups and Jundallah.

Malik Siraj Akbar, a journalist in Quetta, said that Jundullah leader Abdul Malik Rigi studied at madrassas in Karachi where Taliban leaders also got their schooling.

The possibility of a new alliance among the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Jundallah could provide common ground among the United States, Pakistan and Iran against the terror threat. (ANI)

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