Shah Sahib new chief of 313 Brigade


Al Qaeda-linked 313 Brigade has appointed a new chief, Shah Sahib, following the death of its commander Ilyas Kashmiri in a US drone attack in the South Waziristan Agency in June. The decision came after weeks of consultation among members of various militant organisations active in the Tribal Areas along the border with Afghanistan, The Asia Times reported. Shah Sahib, a well-known Taliban commander, has been selected to initiate major alliances and finalise consultations ahead of Eid for launching fresh assaults against the Pakistan security forces.
South Waziristan-based journalist Din Mohammed Wazir confirmed the appointment. “Recently, I spoke to one of the leading members of 313 Brigade of the Harakatul Jihad-e-Islami in Wana and he confirmed the appointment of Shah Sahib as the new leader, but added that his nomination was only for a certain period of time, and then the central shura [council] will choose a permanent amir [leader].”
In addition to running 313 Brigade, Kashmiri was the operational commander of the Harakatul Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI), an Islamic fundamentalist militant organisation most active in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India since the early 1990s.
Reports of Kashmiri’s death surfaced in both local and international media after a June 3 drone strike in a remote village of South Waziristan. Mystery still surrounds his death, but ground sources, both local officials and the Taliban, have persistently confirmed his death. Even his group – the HuJI – reported his death in a press release issued to local media outlets.
Kashmiri was among the five most-wanted militants by the United States, a list of which was handed to Pakistan when the Barack Obama administration recently blocked $800 million in aid on suspicions over Pakistan’s loyalty in the “war against terror”.
With the appointment of Shah Sahib as the new leader of Brigade 313 and fresh alliances being formed, a major assault is now expected to be launched immediately after Eid, by the end of August.
Abdul Shakoor Turkistani, a Chinese Uyghur, has taken control of overall command of foreign militants in the Tribal Areas. He has always been on good terms with the major Pakistani Taliban outfits.
Turkistani is also believed to have played a key role in the formation of the Ittehad-e-Shur-e-Mujahideen in 2009 (Union of the Consultative Council of Mujahideen) comprising militant groups focused on fighting in Afghanistan. Also a part of this was the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.