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Pakistan's Taliban Launches 'Quality' English-Language Magazine

"Ilhae Khilafat" - a magazine described as the voice of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan - signals a shift in strategy for the group.
"Ilhae Khilafat" — a magazine described as the voice of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan —signals a shift in strategy for the group.

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — There's a new terrorism title in the increasingly crowded field of glossy propaganda publications.

Al Qaeda has "Inspire" and "Resurgence," the Afghan Taliban has "Al-Somood" and now Pakistan's Taliban has submitted its own English-language magazine to the pile of jihadi militant periodicals.

Described as the voice of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), "Ilhae Khilafat" signals a shift in strategy for the group, which has struggled to stay relevant as terror outfits such as ISIS have risen to the fore.

The TTP has been riven by infighting and weakened by drone strikes along with a new offensive by Pakistan's military. While the group had for nearly four years published a magazine in Urdu, the move to put out an English version signals that Pakistan's resident jihadis are taking a page out of ISIS' playbook and adopting propaganda methods proven to draw in Western audiences.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, a Taliban spokesman, told NBC News that the goal of launching a "quality" magazine in different languages had been in the works for some time. He said group hopes the magazine will encourage English-speakers abroad to come join the Taliban's cause.

"They are misled by their media," he said, telling NBC News that the magazine will have a mix of religious, political and "current affairs" articles. "We will accommodate news stories about our fighters and their achievements against the enemy in the magazine," he added.

"You can contact us for suggestions, questions, positive criticism and submission of articles"

Featuring articles such as "The benefits of living under Khilafah," a Q&A with a prominent mujahid and a "Why I chose to join jihad" testimonial from an allegedly British militant, the magazine's first edition lives up to its pledge to bring "stories, ideas and opinions right from the battlefield."

The magazine's editor — Abu Obaida al-Islamabadi — has claimed to be an ex-army officer in Pakistan. In a video released recently by the Taliban, al-Islamabadi claimed that his real name was Tariq Ali and that he had been trained as a surgeon in London.

While a request for feedback — "You can contact us for suggestions, questions, positive criticism and submission of articles" — sounds like any other new glossy, what follows reminds the reader of the magazine’s darker designs: an explanation of how to make contact without raising security red flags.

"Try not to contact us through your personal computer or email for your own safety," it says.

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