13 Jul 2013

Pakistani Taliban moving into Syria

9:42 am on 13 July 2013

The Pakistani Taliban has set up a base in Syria to assess "the needs of the jihad" there.

A Taliban official told the BBC that the base was set up with the assistance of ex-Afghan fighters of Middle Eastern origin who have moved to Syria in recent years.

At least 12 specialists in warfare and information technology had gone to Syria in the last two months, he said.

The BBC reports Taliban factions feel that Sunni Muslims, who constitute a majority in Syria, are oppressed by Shias. They resent the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

Mohammad Amin, a senior Taliban operative, told the BBC that the cell has the approval of factions both within and outside the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan organisation.

The cell sends "information and feedback" on the conflict in Syria back to Pakistan, he said. Their job is to "assess the needs of the Jihad in Syria and to work out joint operations with our Syrian friends".

The BBC reports fighters from Pakistan have often gone to fight in Central Asia and the Balkans in the past.

The Harkatul Mujahideen group was known to have sent a large number of men to fight in the Bosnian civil war of 1992-95.