Maulana Fazlullah

Maulana Fazlullah was the emir (leader) of the Pakistani Taliban, or Tahrik-e Taliban (TTP). He assumed this position in November 2013 following the death of former TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone strike. “Terrorist Designations of Maulana Fazlullah,” U.S. Department of State, January 13, 2015, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/01/235901.htm. Fazlullah is reportedly “extremely close” to the Afghan Taliban, and has always been their “preferred” choice of TTP leader.“Profile: Mullah Fazlullah,” BBC News, November 7, 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-24847165. Fazlullah died in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan on June 14, 2018.Saeed Shah and Ehsanullah Amiri, “Pakistani Taliban Head Killed by U.S. Airstrike in Afghanistan,” Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistani-taliban-head-killed-by-u-s-airstrike-in-afghanistan-1529060487?mod=hp_listc_pos2.

According to American journalist Nicholas Schmidle, who met Fazlullah in 2007, the TTP leader was just as much a terrorist as a crusader “bent on imposing his harsh interpretation of sharia on others.” Nicholas Schmidle, “The Ambitions of the Pakistan Taliban’s New Chief,” New Yorker, November 11, 2014, http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-ambitions-of-the-pakistani-talibans-new-chiefhttp://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-ambitions-of-the-pakistani-talibans-new-chief. Schmidle described Fazlullah as an “unremarkable figure: short, with hippo teeth, wavy tresses, and a bulky, black turban.” Nicholas Schmidle, “The Ambitions of the Pakistan Taliban’s New Chief,” New Yorker, November 11, 2014, http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-ambitions-of-the-pakistani-talibans-new-chiefhttp://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-ambitions-of-the-pakistani-talibans-new-chief.

As a young man, Fazlullah joined the Pakistani Islamist group Tehrek-i-Nehfaz Shariat-i-Mohammedi (TNSM) led by Maulana Sufi Mohammed, who mentored Fazlullah and led him into his first battle in Afghanistan in 2001 against the invading American troops.“Profile: Mullah Fazlullah,” BBC News, November 7, 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-24847165. Fazlullah rose to prominence in 2006 when he began preaching his version of extremist Islam on stolen FM frequencies in Swat Valley, Pakistan.Abubakar Siddique, “'Radio Mullah’ -- The Pakistani Taliban's New Leader,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, November 7, 2013, http://www.rferl.org/content/radio-mullah-new-leader/25161547.html. His sermons contained hate speech against Americans, the Pakistani government, female education, and the polio vaccine, which he called a Jewish conspiracy to sterilize Muslims.Asad Hasim, “The iron fist of Maulana Fazlullah,” Al Jazeera, November 8, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/11/iron-fist-maulana-fazlullah-20131171538269715.html. His radio show and reputation as an Afghan veteran garnered him increased prominence, and he rivaled Sufi Mohammed as the leading jihadist in the valley.Asad Hasim, “The iron fist of Maulana Fazlullah,” Al Jazeera, November 8, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/11/iron-fist-maulana-fazlullah-20131171538269715.html. In 2007, the TNSM joined the nascent TTP and Fazlullah rose in its ranks.Agence France Presse, “Mullah Fazlullah: Pakistani Taliban's ruthless new commander,” Express Tribune (Karachi), November 7, 2013, http://tribune.com.pk/story/628799/mullah-fazlullah-pakistani-talibans-ruthless-new-commander/.

As both a prominent member and the emir of TTP, Fazlullah ordered numerous terrorist acts, including the 2012 shooting of activist Malala YousafzaiAbubakar Siddique, “'Radio Mullah’ -- The Pakistani Taliban's New Leader,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, November 7, 2013, http://www.rferl.org/content/radio-mullah-new-leader/25161547.html. and the December 2014 TTP attack on the Peshawar school that killed 148 people, most of them children.“Terrorist Designations of Maulana Fazlullah,” U.S. Department of State, January 13, 2015, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/01/235901.htm; John Hall, “'We have killed all the children, now what do we do?': Taliban death squad's frantic request for instructions after slaughtering 132 innocents... as military airstrikes kill 57 in hunt for 'Radio Mullah' who ordered massacre,” Daily Mail (London), December 18, 2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2878723/We-killed-children-Taliban-death-squad-s-frantic-request-instructions-slaughtering-132-innocents-hunt-begins-Radio-Mullah-mastermind-ordered-massacre.html. Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government later placed a $100,000 bounty on Fazlullah.Agence France Presse, “KP govt offers Rs10mn bounty for TTP's Mullah Fazlullah,” Dawn, January 6, 2015, http://www.dawn.com/news/1155276.

In early 2015, the European Union,“COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2015/576,” Official Journal of the European Union, April 10, 2015, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:JOL_2015_096_R_0003. the United States,“Terrorist Designations of Maulana Fazlullah,” U.S. Department of State, January 13, 2015, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/01/235901.htm. and the United Nations“Security Council Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee Adds One Individual to Its Sanctions List,” United Nations Security Council, April 7, 2015, http://www.un.org/press/en/2015/sc11853.doc.htm. designated Fazlullah as a terrorist. On June 14, 2018, a U.S. drone strike targeted Fazlullah in Afghanistan. Afghan officials confirmed the following day that he died in the strike.Saeed Shah and Ehsanullah Amiri, “Pakistani Taliban Head Killed by U.S. Airstrike in Afghanistan,” Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistani-taliban-head-killed-by-u-s-airstrike-in-afghanistan-1529060487?mod=hp_listc_pos2.

 
United States
January 13, 2015

The U.S. Department of State designated “Maulana Fazlullah” as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224 on January 13, 2015.“Terrorist Designations of Maulana Fazlullah,” U.S. Department of State, January 13, 2015, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/01/235901.htm.

European Union
April 10, 2015

The European Union added “Maulana Fazlullah” to its list of ‘Natural persons,’ or persons and entities associated with the Al-Qaeda network pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002, on April 10, 2015.“COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2015/576,” Official Journal of the European Union, April 10, 2015, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:JOL_2015_096_R_0003.

United Nations
April 7, 2015

The United Nations Security Council added “Maulana Fazlullah” to its Al-Qaida Sanctions List pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) on April 7, 2015.“Security Council Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee Adds One Individual to Its Sanctions List,” United Nations Security Council, April 7, 2015, http://www.un.org/press/en/2015/sc11853.doc.htm.

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