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Pakistani Taliban Leader Distances Himself From IS Militants

The leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Fazlullah, is distancing himself from a claim by his spokesman that the Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ordered its fighters to help Islamic State militants set up a global Islamic caliphate.

In a statement to RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal, Fazlullah denied the claim by TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, which was reported by media on October 4.

Shahid’s announcement came after Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in September named former Taliban commander Asim Umar as the "emir" of Al-Qaeda’s new South Asia branch.

Analysts believe Islamic State militants want to make inroads in Pakistan.

But the leadership of Pakistan’s Taliban appears wary of Islamic State militants, who are driven by different ambitions that have little to do with South Asia.

So far, there is little evidence of a firm alliance between IS militants and Al-Qaeda-linked Taliban commanders.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP

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