World News

Pakistan Denies Local Taliban Has Sent Hundreds of Fighters to Syria

Pakistan's Foreign Office has denied reports suggesting that Pakistani Taliban fighters have gone to Syria to fight alongside Sunni rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Also on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Pakistan's Interior Minister said that Pakistani intelligence and police officials have not confirmed that any Taliban fighters have left for Syria.

Pakistani Taliban commanders are claiming to have set up camps in Syria and sent hundreds of men to fight alongside Sunni rebels there. Senior commanders of the Pakistan-based Tehrik-e-Taliban referred to the Syrian rebels this week as the Taliban's "Muslim brothers" and "Arab friends." One commander vowed to issue videos of the Pakistani Taliban's victories in Syria.

The news is not the first report of foreign Sunni fighters flocking to Syria to join what they see as a holy war against Shi'ite Muslims. The influx of foreign fighters further complicates U.S. efforts to help the rebels, especially as Washington considers arming Syrians fighting against the Assad government.



However, at least one Pakistani Taliban commander has denied the reports of setting up camps in Syria. He told the French News agency that only a few militants have left to fight in Syria, and those were mostly Arab and Central Asian fighters.

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