Farman Shinwari Named Chief Of Al-Qaida In Pakistan

Farman Shinwari Named Chief Of Al-Qaida In Pakistan

30 April 2012
Times of India


New Delhi: Al-Qaida in Pakistan has a new chief, Farman Shinwari, Pakistani daily The News International has reported. A few of his brothers have 'fought' in Jammu & Kashmir with the erstwhile Harkat-ul-Ansar (later renamed Harkat-ul-Mujahideen). The newspaper quoted sources in Waziristan to say that al-Qaida's Dawa Wing had issued a statement naming Shinwari, 30, as the new head after consultations with all global al-Qaida leaders. Shinwari was apparently chosen for his closeness to Badar Mansoor, an al-Qaida leader killed in a drone attack in February, and his knowledge of the FATA areas in Pakistan. 'Farman Shinwari, 30, was close to Badar Mansoor, the former al-Qaida figure killed in a US drone attack in North Waziristan on February 9, 2011. Farman married about three years ago and has two children,' the paper said. The announcement comes a year after Osama bin Laden was killed by a US Navy Seals operation in his safe house in Abbotabad, a stone's throw away from Pakistan's premier military training academy. Ayman Al Zawahiri was named his successor after several names like Ilyas Kashmiri and Saif Al Adel were tossed around. 'The sources said the al-Qaida commanders based in Pakistan were not involved in the decision, but they only ratified it. Farman Shinwari belongs to Khugakhel sub-tribe of Shinwaris based in Landikotal, and has five brothers. He got BSc degree in chemistry and biology from Landikotal Degree College a few years ago and did his master's in international relations from the University of Peshawar in the first division,' the paper said. 'All of Farman Shinwari's brothers are affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant groups. His elder brother Hazrat Nabi Shinwari, alias Tamanchy Mulla, was a theology teacher in a government-run school in Landikotal. He was leading the TTP in Khyber Agency in 2005 and also used to send militants to Kashmir and Afghanistan. He has remained the head of Harkatul Mujahideen and is nowadays said to be leading his group of TTP men in Waziristan,' it added. Badar Mansoor, who Shinwari allegedly replaces, was the earlier de facto leader of al-Qaida in Pakistan. The Long War Journal quoted US officials to say that Mansoor and his predecessor, Aslam Awan, used their recruited al-Qaida operatives from Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Tehreek-i-Taliban. 'Mansoor funneled Pakistani jihadists from HuM and TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan) into the ranks of al-Qaida,' an official said. 'He didn't just recruit low level-jihadists, but also convinced more experienced commanders to fill positions in al-Qaida.' The announcement confirms the growing interoperability and closeness between the various terrorist groups operating in Pakistan. There are now no more distinctions between Kashmir-centric groups and global jihad groups. For instance, Aslam Awan, who was killed in a drone strike in Waziristan in January, belonged to Abbotabad where Osama was found. The US announcement of a bounty on Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed came after they discovered strong ties between him and Osama, gleaned from his documents in Abbotabad.