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After Baitullah, Battle On For TTP Treasure

August 10, 2009

Kamran Khan

KARACHI: A bloody feud that followed Baitullah Mehsud’s death involving about three-dozen best-trained Taliban fighters early on Wednesday morning was actually a battle among various Taliban warlords to control Rs 2 billion Taliban funds and ownership of arms and ammunition worth about Rs 1 billion by grabbing the ‘Emarat’ (the leadership) of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), according to senior security officials and knowledgeable Taliban sources.

Such was the charisma and awe of 35-year-old, five feet two inches tall Baitullah Mehsud that none of his associates ever dared to challenge his leadership till an American missile strike blew his body apart on the first floor of the house of his second wife in South Waziristan last week.

An intelligence official said: “For about four years, some 3,500 trained fighters and dozens of suicide bombers blindly followed Baitullah as he was the centre of gravity of terrorism in Pakistan.” The battle for the control of the Rs 3 billion Taliban treasure erupted within two days of Baitullah’s death, when two of his most trusted lieutenants, Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman, claimed succession in an emergency meeting in Sararogha, where an armed clash left Hakimullah Mehsud dead, along with 40 Taliban fighters, on Saturday evening, a security official said.

An official account of this incident said Waliur Rehman got seriously wounded, while Qari Hussain, who ran the Taliban’s suicide operations directly under Baitullah Mehsud, was also wounded with bullet injuries on both legs in the same incident.

Hakimullah Mehsud, Waliur Rehman and Qari Hussain were claimant to the ‘Emarat’ of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, that comes with a grip on funds of billions of rupees, huge cache of weapons and thousands of trained fighters and a close affinity with al-Qaeda and its leader Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, who had chosen Baitullah Mehsud to lead the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

“There is a constant flow of tens of millions of dollars from foreign enemy sources that keeps the Taliban machine rolling,” a senior security official said, adding: “Over the years Baitullah had built a cash reserve of about Rs 2 billion in addition to large cache of sophisticated weapons, ammunition and latest communication equipment.”

Intelligence officials believe money for the Pakistani Taliban was either buried in various caves in the tribal areas or it was stashed in various bank accounts in Pakistan and in some Gulf states.

Baitullah Mehsud’s coffers expanded so much last year that he sent one of his cousins to Dubai for cash investment in various real estate projects; subsequently millions of dollars were remitted for adventurous business proposals in Gulf states.

“It was not theft, Baitullah just wanted to bolster Taliban reserves because of growing expenses,” said a Karachi-based Mehsud tribesman, who had associated with Baitullah in the past. Narrating another incident, the same source said when a renowned Taliban commander informed Baitullah about huge monetary offers he was receiving from Pakistani officials to surrender, Baitullah’s answer to this man was: “Money is not with the government of Pakistan. Money is with me, tell me how much you want.” Officials concede Baitullah’s money power was such that it was difficult for them to buy his key commanders, as he conveniently outbid them in case of a couple of important commanders.

A senior police official in Peshawar said Baitullah was convinced by al-Qaeda and Pakistan’s foreign enemies that South Waziristan would soon emerge as an independent “Islamic Emirate” and he would be declared as its first Amir.

Intelligence accounts speak of smooth flow of cash to Baitullah from enemy agents, posing as wealthy and highly motivated Arab Muslims, who had established direct connection with the reclusive Taliban commander.

The Taliban sources close to Baitullah Mehsud say a strong cash flow was his most crucial need because his top priority remained an uninterrupted payment of monthly salaries to the families of each of his fighters. Baitullah was supervising a smooth system of cash deliveries ranging from Rs10,000 to Rs20,000 at the doorsteps of his fighters all across Pakistan. Sustenance allowance reached the families of those killed in action.

“Cash pipelines emanating from RAW and Afghan secret services headquarters were terminating in Baitullah-ran accounts, besides cash and weapons infusion,” intelligence officials believed. They estimate Baitullah was paying about Rs600 million in salaries for his fighters every year.

While intelligence agencies see a direct hand of Indian and Afghan secret agencies in financing terror outfits in Pakistan, US officials have consistently accused wealthy individuals in unnamed Gulf countries of providing finances to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistani and Taliban sources say Maulana Ikramuddin, the man who gave his young daughter to Baitullah Mehsud in marriage last year, was the custodian of some of the key financial secrets of Baitullah Mehsud. Ikramuddin was not at home when the US missile struck his residence, killing Baitullah and about 40 of his bodyguards.

Intelligence officials watched with keen interest that when Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman groups clashed in Sararogha, each one of them tried to kidnap Ikramuddin, who was there to arrange a negotiated succession agreement under his umbrella. Ikramuddin, an official source said, was taken away by injured Waliur Rehman.

While foreign cash inflows remained an important source of the Taliban funding, irrefutable evidence showed that Baitullah also ran strong syndicate of select Mehsud tribesmen in Karachi and some Jihadi elements of southern Punjab who were assigned to provide cash injection through bank robberies and kidnappings for ransom.

In one incident two years ago, two private security guards, both Mehsud tribesmen and close associates of Baitullah Mehsud, looted Rs140 million from a foreign exchange company in Karachi. The investigation led the trail to Baitullah Mehsud, who was later approached by a delegation of top Islamic scholars of Karachi for the return of the money. Baitullah obliged the Ulema by returning Rs16.5 million from the looted Rs140 million. The matter is in full knowledge of JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who had organised the Scholars’ meeting with Baitullah Mehsud.

Several important cases of kidnappings for ransom in Karachi and Lahore over the last two years and a majority of kidnappings for ransom cases reported in Peshawar in the past two years were settled when the Taliban or their contacts were paid huge ransoms.

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4 comments

  1. this guy and his fuckin crew was like a big fuckin mafia…no wonder how did he got all those toyota cruisers and fuckin ammo all around his men…its gud the fucker is half burned and dead..i hope that army hunt all his bitches down and feed them and thier accomplices across the border in the cage wolverine..fuckin indian bustards..and nato bustards too


    • You can make your point without using filthy language!!.Mehsud’s death is a victory for Pakistan and a great blow to RAW!


  2. i wouldnt have used filthy language if it indians wouldnt be backing them….ttp is not an enemy that we can honor..they r rats..deserved to be called by all filthy names..anyways thnx brother for ur advice


  3. Baitullah was the most bastard man on earth, he was not a Muslim he was a bastard HINDU PIG. He knew that HINDU RAW and YAHOODI MOSSAD are funding him, he had close relations with HINDU PIGs.



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