Omar Khalid Khorasani Assassination can negatively impact Govt-TTP Peace Talks
The assassination of Commander Abdul Wali alias Omar Khalid Khorasani is a “hard blow” for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which will also “negatively impact” the ongoing negotiation process between the Pakistani government and the Taliban, according to experts.
Omar Khalid Khorasani and two other members of TTP were killed in a roadside bomb blast, in the eastern Paktika province of Afghanistan, on August 8.
According to Tahir Khan, Journalist and Expert on Pak-Afghan Affairs, “This is a very big loss for the Pakistani Taliban, as Khorasani was one of the senior TTP leaders based in Afghanistan”, adding that he was also a member of the negotiation team, which is holding talks with Pakistani security officials and tribal elders. “This is a major loss when TTP is involved in negotiation with the Pakistani Government to end violence in the country,” Tahir Khan told Gwadar Pro.
Omar Khalid Khorasani was one of the founding leaders of TTP when Baitullah Mehsud laid the foundation of the group in 2007. In 2014, he separated from the TTP and founded his own group, Jamaat ul Ahrar (JuA); however, in August 2022, he reunited with TTP.
“He was important, that’s why the United States has announced a US$ 3 million reward for providing information leading to his killing or arrest,” Tahir Khan told Gwadar Pro, adding, “The killing could also put pressure on TTP leadership to find who was behind the assassination of Khorasani”.
He said that following the fall of Kabul to the Afghan Taliban, the members of TTP can now freely move from one city to another city of Afghanistan.
According to Tahir Khan, the killing of Khorasani will also put pressure on the Afghan Taliban. “Several Pakistani Taliban leaders were killed in Afghanistan by US drones, but the assassination of Khorasani occurred when Afghan Taliban are ruling the country,” he said.
The negotiations are still going on, because if TTP suspends the talks, the group will come under pressure both from Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, “However, the killing of Khorasani will have a negative impact on the negotiation process,” said Tahir Khan.
Zia-ur-Rehman, Journalist and Researcher, said that the killing of Khorasani is not only a big blow for the Pakistani Taliban. The Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) will exploit the situation as well. “IS has started propaganda that the Afghan Taliban has killed the TTP leader as well as selling Al-Zawahiri to the US,” Mr. Rehman quoted a statement of ISKP.
He said that the killing of Khorasani was a big blow for the militant group as he was involved in high-profile target killings, suicide bombings as well as running an extortion network across the country.
Ihsan Tipu Mehsud said the killing of Omar Khalid Khorasani will definitely impact the ongoing peace process between Pakistan and TTP but “so far, as per my information from ground sources, these processes are still very much intact”.
He told Gwadar Pro that the culmination of the peace process could cause a serious security problem not only for Pakistan but for Afghanistan and the region as well.