The Pakistani Taliban has declared it is backing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and ordered fighters across the region to help the group in its campaign to set up an Islamic caliphate.
In a message on Saturday marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, the Pakistani Taliban said it fully supported ISIL’s goals to set up a “caliphate” in the Middle East.
We are with you, we will provide you with fighters and with every possible support.
“Oh our brothers, we are proud of you in your victories. We are with you in your happiness and your sorrow,” said the statement by Shahidullah Shahid, a Taliban spokesman, on Saturday.
“In these troubled days, we call for your patience and stability, especially now that all your enemies are united against you. Please put all your rivalries behind you.
“All Muslims in the world have great expectations of you… we are with you, we will provide you with fighters and with every possible support.”
The statement was released in Urdu, Pashto and Arabic and came on a day when two attacks hit Pakistan.
Although there is little evidence of a firm alliance yet between ISIL and al-Qaeda-linked Taliban commanders, ISIL activists have been spotted recently in the Pakistani city of Peshawar distributing leaflets praising the group, according to Reuters news agency.
An unnamed spokesman told the AFP news agency: “From the very beginning when ISIL did not exist we were supporting the fighters of Iraq and Syria.
He said that the Pakistani Taliban had sent between 1,000 to 1,500 to the Middle East.
“We will keep on sending Mujahideen to help ISIL. We completely support them. Because we think that this organisation was made to serve Islam.”
At least four people died and dozens were wounded in an attack on a predominantly Shia neighbourhood of the volatile Pakistani city of Quetta, police said.
At least six people were killed and 17 others wounded when a bomb exploded at a bus stop in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.