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Pakistani Taliban Splits Over 'Ideological Differences'

Part of the Pakistani Taliban is breaking away following months of infighting. The news comes amid ongoing peace talks with the Pakistani government.

Pakistani Taliban Splits Over 'Ideological Differences'
BBC
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‚ÄčA major faction of the Pakistani Taliban, better known as the TTP, is reportedly separating from the group's central leadership.

The BBC reports a representative for the Mehsud group said Wednesday his faction is leaving due to ideological differences.

"We consider the bombing of public places, extortion and kidnappings un-Islamic, and since the TTP leaders continued with these practices, we decided we should not share the responsibility."

The differences between the factions go back at least as far as 2009.

But the infighting reportedly began after the former TTP chief was killed by a U.S. drone strike in November 2013. (Via The Telegraph)

Al Jazeera reports two men with opposing views put in bids for leadership of the group, but it was given to a third instead. "That move, however, failed to unite the TTP for long, and clashes have ensued for several months."

The split comes amid on-again, off-again peace talks between the Pakistani government and the TTP.

The Telegraph says the talks have been stalled in recent weeks. "However, the new group ... has indicated it wants to pursue negotiations."

The Washington Post spoke with a senior analyst at the FATA Research Center who says the new group has always dominated the TTP. Without it, he says, "The TTP will exist only on paper."

One BBC reporter says that could be a good sign for the Pakistani government. 

"It shows that they are turning their guns on each other, rather than targeting civilians across Pakistan."

And that might have been the plan for the talks all along, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"Although the stated aim of the talks was to forge a peace deal with the whole TTP, Pakistani officials had privately said the realistic goal was to see which factions were amenable to peace and which were irreconcilable."