10:39 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Pakistani Taliban patrol.

    As Taliban is Getting Divided It is ‘Going for Soft Targets’

    © AP Photo / Ishtiaq Mahsud, File
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    The number of victims in a deadly attack on Bacha Khan University in Pakistan on Wednesday has mounted to 30 people. More than 50 others have been injured. The Pakistan Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    A group of gunmen entered the university located in the northwest of the country. At that time a festival of poetry and Pashtun culture had been underway with at least 600 attendees and poets on the campus.

    The attackers took a number of people captive, including women, inside the building. Gunfire and explosions were heard from inside. After several hours the rescue operation had ended, all four attackers were killed.

    Hasan Abdullah, a Pakistani journalist and expert on Islamic militancy, told Radio Sputnik that the Taliban’s recent attack shows a shift in the group’s strategy and noted that it exposed the differences within the group.

    “The militants in Pakistan are now going for soft targets because in the past, in 2009 in particular, they were targeting places like general headquarters of the army, intelligence headquarters and high security government installations. But after the operation that was carried out in the tribal areas and which is being carried out in the urban centers at the moment, the militants are going for soft targets.”

    Abdullah further said that the ranks are getting divided within the military sphere in Pakistan. “After this recent attack one of the splintered groups of the Taliban known as the Omar Mansour group claimed responsibility for this attack but shortly afterwards the central spokesman of the Pakistani Taliban issued a statement saying that they condemned this attack and it would be un-Islamic, so it goes to show that the militants are more divided now than ever before.”

    The journalist mentioned that the division among the militants is occurring due to the fact that supporters of the group are pulling out. He said that on internet forums it can be seen that their supporters are becoming smaller in numbers.

    Talking about the recent attack Abdullah said, “The mastermind and the handler of the attack are usually not present at the location. At the moment it seems that the attack was rather badly coordinated and the attackers were sort of randomly running around.”

    The journalist said that the Taliban warned the Pakistani government about such attacks in the future if the government doesn’t review its policy.

    “Such attacks may also be occurring as a retaliation of their comrades in the cities which are being targeted. So it rather seems that now the targets of such attacks are not just the people who are somehow connected to the government directly, but even those who are relatives of those who are working for the government. So it is a very grim situation,” Abdullah concluded.

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    Tags:
    division, Islamist militants, interview, attack, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Pakistan
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