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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — The Pakistani Taliban has fired its chief spokesman and five other commanders after they pledged allegiance to ISIS, the latest sign of the infighting dogging the militant group. Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or movement of the Pakistani Taliban, also stripped spokesman Abu Omar Sheikh Maqbool of his nom de guerre “Shahidullah Shahid,” according to a statement released Tuesday on the organization’s website. Another “brother” had been named to replace Maqbool, TTP commanders said, adding that “Sheikh Maqbool is not Shahidullah Shahid.” Maqbool continued to use the pseudonym despite his removal, the statement added.
The statement reiterated TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah’s oath of allegiance to the Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and added that a new spokesman would be made public in due course. Maqbool and five other commanders pledged allegiance to ISIS and its leader Abu Omar Al Baghdadi last week, indicating a further split in the already fractured militant organization. Maqbool has gone underground and stopped communicating with the media since announcing his allegiance to ISIS. Taliban sources told NBC News that the defections enraged TTP’s leadership and created unrest among rank and file fighters.