I am not surprised by the above , if it was true. The Pakistani Taliban had always had diverse views because of historical reasons (about 40 local commanders, warlords of various clans came together to announce TTP in December 2007). They all have some common thoughts and approaches too to some of the issues. For example, they all revere OBL and they all have taken allegiance to Mullah Omar. They all recognize Al-Zawahiri as the successor of OBL.
We have to understand the recent splits and re-groupings among the Pakistani Taliban in the context of the competition between the IS and the AQ.
The TTP has suffered a three-way split giving rise to a more hardliner group (Jama'at-ut-Ahrar), the existing TTP and the Punjabi Taliban which has given up attacking the State and the Pakistani Army and turned pro-sarkari.
Different stakeholders in this game have different objectives. The Pakistani Army is interested in getting as many jihadi groups under its control (or even nominal control) as possible and prevent them from joining the IS. The IS is bad news for the PA because the former have no respect for it and have their own agenda which is at loggerheads with the PA's. The IS will act independently and will not be at the bidding of the PA. The TTP, which at its peak in 2007/2008, was threatening to overwhelm Pakistan has become a shadow of its once mighty self and the splits have weakened it further. They are currently largely confined to establishing their writ and shariah in FATA. The TTP-JA seems keen to join a larger Islamist struggle with the IS and is certainly attacking the Pakistani State and the PA, like how the old TTP used to function. However, they have not completely forsaken their support to Mullah Omar. The Al Qaeda is also a paler organization today than before, especially after losing the magnet, OBL. If they have to re-establish themselves in Kandahar, they would need the support of the PA. The announcement of the AQIS is therefore an attempt in this direction, whether the CD announcing its formation was fake (in which case, we know it was by the ISI and the deal with the AQ is still in the offing but the ISI is in a hurry to stem the outflow of cadres) or genuine (in which case the deal between the AQ and the ISI is already a done deal). In either case, both the AQ, the ISI, the Punjabi Taliban and pro-sarkari LeT & JeM have to make every effort to retain their flock and stop them from joining the IS.
Apart from ideological reasons and the general tendency of the Islamist jihadists to flow with the more barbaric faction of terrorism, the splits also occurred for two other reasons. One, Fazlullah of Swat was not ‘accepted’ by the largely FATA Pashtun TTP after the death of Hakeemullah Mehsud in November, 2013. Secondly, his absence from FATA and the inability of the otehrs to contact him when needed (as he is staying most of the time in Afghanistan for fear of life) have led to lack of control over the TTP.
Firstly, the Emir of the South Waziristan chapter of TTP, Said Khan Sajna (aka Khaled Mehsud), was expelled from the TTP in May 2014. His group is called Hulqa-e-Mehsud-TTP. The expulsion was because of internecine clashes between Sajna and Sheheryar Mehsud (of the late Hakeemullah Mehsud group) over leadership of the South Waziristan chapter of the TTP. Sajna is a keen follower of JUI-F Chief Fazl-ur-Rehman. He has expressed allegiance to Mullah Omar.
Secondly, the Emir of the Punjab Chapter of the TTP, Asmatullah Muawaiya, announced in August, 2014 that his group was giving up attacking the state and turning to fighting external threats and doing tableegh. He also called upon the other warring Taliban groups and the government to return to the peace process, thus clearly toeing the 'pro-sarkari' line. Muawaiya was a commander in Maulana Masood Azhar's JeM before he parted company in the aftermath of the 2007 Lal Masjid and joined the TTP. Muaweiyah was expelled by the TTP in September 2013 after he issued statements, without the Taliban shura’s approval, regarding Nawaz Sharif’s dialogue offer with the Taliban. So, his 'sarkari' inclinations were clear. He may re-join his ex-leader, Masood Azhar. Muawaiya has also said that the Punjabi Taliban would continue to operate in Afghanistan, thus continuing his alliance with Mullah Omar. Thus, it is clear that the Punjabi Taliban would not go the IS way and would remain loyal to both the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Army.
Thirdly, in early September, 2014, the TTP announced the expulsion of the Emir of the Mohmand Chapter, Omar Khalid Khurasani (alias Abdulwakil) and cancelled his TTP membership because of his "interference in affairs of the Afghan Taliban and his contacts with the mysterious groups – Ahrar-ul-Hind and Junud-e-Khorasan." The expelled Khurasani formed his own group TTP-JA or TTP-Jama’at-ut-Ahrar by merging Ahrar-ul-Hind and Junud-e-Khorasan. The ex-spokesperson of the TTP Ehsanullah Ehsan (real name Sajjad Mohmand), who had also been expelled in c. 2013 for activities that allegedly interfered with the Afghan Taliban, became the spokesperson of TTP-JA. Ehsanullah Ehsan pledged support to IS, though he and the TTP-JA are ambiguous about AQIS and Taliban as well.
Fourthly, on October 15, 2014, the TTP expelled its spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid (real name Sheikh Maqbool) for issuing statements supporting and pledging allegiance to the IS. Shahidullah Shahid quit the TTP along with five TTP commanders, Saeed Khan, the TTP chief in Orakzai Agency; Hafiz Quran Dolat, the TTP chief in Kurram Agency; Gul Zaman, the TTP chief in the Khyber Agency; Mufti Hassan, the TTP chief in Peshawar; and Khalid Mansoor, the TTP chief in Hangu. Shahidullah Shahid said in a statement, "From today, I accept Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi as my Caliph and I will accept every directive of his and will fight for him whatsoever the situation." Clearly, he has deserted the Amir-ul-Momineen, Mullah Omar of Afghanistan, in favour of the Caliph Abu Baker al-Baghdadi.
These splits (except Muawaiya's) occurred within three months of the launch of the North Waziristan offensive by the Army, codenamed Zeb-e-Azb. The two groups of Sajna & Khurasani, that is Hulqa-e-Mehsud-TTP and TTP-JA jointly conducted an operation on two Quetta airbases, Samungali and Khalid between the nights of August 14 and 15 (Pakistan’s Independence Day). A joint statement was issued by both groups. The PA/ISI has been making strenuous efforts to convert the Sajna group as ‘good Taliban’, but unsuccessfully. The early June, 2014 Karachi airport attack was a reminder by the TTP that the splits have not weakened the lethality of the group.
In the meanwhile, the IS has been eyeing Afghanistan and Pakistan. Posters supporting IS have been found in Peshawar in the early weeks of September, 2014. While announcing his Caliphate, al-Baghdadi extensively quoted from the works of Abu ala al Mawdudi. Natutrally, the nuclear weapons in Pakistan act as a great attraction for any jihadi group along with the presence in Pakistan of about three dozen Sunni Wahhabi/Deobandi jihadi Islamist tanzeems with a similar worldview.
Where do Indian jihadi groups stand in this emerging scenario?
Recent reports speak of the IM commander Riyaz Ismail Shahbandri, also known as Riyaz Bhatkal, calling the ISI as 'dogs' for placing restriction on him and his secret trip to FATA to meet AQ leaders for joining the AQIS setup. They also speak of an apparent split in the 'Project Karachi' team of the IM. While, splitting a tanzeem has been the usual ISI tactic to manage a growing organization under their strict control, the ISI may be also setting up the IM to link-up with the AQ while leaking contrary information outside. Riyaz Bhatkal must already be a very closely monitored by the ISI, prized as he is, and so he would not be able to make loose statements that were said to have been made by him. This story looks very much a plant. The NIA probe confirming the offer by AQ to train IM foot-soldeirs points further in the direction of coalition of IM & AQ. The AQ is at an inflexion point vis-a-vis the IS. The PA has to choose between the IS and the AQ and would obviously prefer the AQ. It is my impression that a formal arrangement is being made to subsume IM, SIMI etc within AQIS. The ISI may then have two directorates under it, one for AQIS that would hold within it Indian jihadi groups and the other for Pakistani 'non-state actors' like LeT and JeM.