PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – The Pakistani Taleban on Saturday vowed to send fighters to help the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria, adding the group should set aside its differences with other extremist organisations in that region.
IS extremists have taken over vast swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, but have also been vying for supremacy with other militant groups like the al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra front, which it formally cut ties with in February.
Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan (TTP) which was formed in 2007 and formally allies itself with al-Qaeda, urged all extremist organisations fighting in the Middle East to unite for the greater good.
Speaking to AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location, he said, “From the very beginning when IS did not exist we are helping and supporting the Mujahideen of Iraq and Syria,” adding his group had sent between 1,000 to 1,500 fighters to the region so far.
“We will keep on sending Mujahideen to help IS militants, We completely support them. Because we think that this organisation was made to serve Islam,” he added, without mentioning a formal allegiance.
The subject of sending Pakistani fighters to Syria is touchy for Pakistan’s government which has denied that any such movements have taken place.