Omar Khalid Khorasani, a key figure in TTP JA
At the time of Eid al-Adha celebrated by the Muslim community, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban Jammat -ul-Ahrar senior leader, Omar Khalid Khorasani has released a new video (October 3rd, 2014) calling for a united front from “Mujahideen groups” around the world. He addressed viewers in Arabic and was accompanied by major figures from TTP JA as well as bodyguards. The 25 minute video was sent to journalists by TTP JA spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan with a statement describing the content of the video as follows,
“Address by senior leader of Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan Jammat ul Ahrar Omar Khalid Khorasani suggesting Islamic State (IS, ISIS), Jabha tun Nusra (JN) and other mujahideen of the region to reconcile among each other. As Kuffar and their helper Murtadeen have formed a coalition to attack the Muslims of Iraq and Sham, it is important that the Mujahideen of the region and of the whole world are united together against this aggression. Omar Khalid Khorasani has also offered his influence to mediate between Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and Jabha tun Nusra. He has urged the Muslims of the whole world to become untied like a fist against the Kuffar and their Murtadeen helpers”
Background of Omar Khalid Khorasani (based on information released earlier by TTP JA)
Omar Khalid Khorasani was born in Mohmand Agency, Telsil Safi in 1980. He graduated from high school and studied at madrassas (Muslim school or college) in Karachi before becoming a journalist with tribal and local news agencies. The Taliban leader is also a poet and member of Mohmand literary organization Mohmand Adabi Ghuncha and is married with 3 wives.
On 22nd February 2000 Khorasani was nominated as Chief of the Harkut-ul-Mujahideen Mohmand Agency and was in Afghanistan Bagram entrenchment with other companions. He was settled on Kashmir border Hajeera section in 2003 and later assisted Islamic Emirate associates taking part in fighting in Paktia province in 2006. Khorasani then gave allegiance to martyred Commander Baitullah Mehsood and was nominated as Chief of Mohman Agency in 2006. He united different groups and announced Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) Mohmand Agency in October 2oo7, later in December of the same year, TTP in its wider capacity was officially formed. In 2012 Hakimullah Mehsud appointed Khorasani as Chief of Khyber Agency.
Now in 2014 he is a key and influential figure in TTP JA (Jamaat-ul-Ahrar) which recently splintered off from TTP central (Maulana Fazlullah group) due to personality clashes and infighting on how to proceed in the coming months. There were differences over whether a wider remit was needed to link up with IS and other groups in the quest to establish a Caliphate and defeat common enemies or to concentrate mainly on more localized issues. Both groups continue allegiance to Mullah Muhammad Omar, spiritual leader of the Taliban.
The video announcement from Khorasani comes at a time when IS (under the leadership of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi) is under heavy criticism from many Muslim organizations for the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning who was kidnapped in Syria. Many appeals including from Sheikh Hani Sebai, a respected authority in Jihadi circles were put out to secure his release. IS hold a number of prisoners and have recently carried out beheadings on James Foley an American freelance journalist, Steven Sotloff an Israeli-American journalist and David Cawthorne Haines, a British aid worker.
A British man known as “Jihadi John” is seen in the IS videos of the executions condemning the US/British “coalition with the United States against the Islamic States, efforts to arm the Peshmerga (Kurdish fighters) against IS and the bombing of the Haditha Dam dragging people into an “unwinnable war”. Western foreign policies have had a devastating effect on the region with a million dead in Iraq and ever declining security issues for locals with ongoing sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia groups as well as between different “jihadi” factions.
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.