ISLAMABAD – A commander of a leading faction within the Pakistani Taliban says his group has split from the umbrella organization.
Azam Tariq said Wednesday that the split came as a result of disagreements with the group's leadership and also over the issue of peace talks with the government.
Tariq represents the faction based in the Taliban birthplace in the South Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border.
In a statement, he says the South Waziristan branch has differences with the Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah over the ongoing peace negotiations with the government.
He also claimed the leadership has turned the group into a criminal cartel. Militant infighting in the area under the control of Tariq's group has killed scores.
The Pakistani Taliban are an umbrella of loosely networked local militant groups.