Former Pak Air Force man heads fidayeen unit to free jailed militants


A special fidayeen unit headed by a former Pakistan Air Force personnel has been formed by the Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to attack jails and free imprisoned militants, according to a media report today.

The "Ansar Al-Aseer" (supporters of prisoners) unit is led by Adnan Rasheed, a former Pakistan Air Force personnel who escaped from a jail in the northwestern town of Bannu after it was attacked by some 200 Taliban fighters on April 15 last year.

Rasheed was convicted for an attempt to assassinate former President Pervez Musharraf.

He was recently seen with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan in a video in which the banned group made a fresh offer for talks with the government.

A total of 384 prisoners, including dozens of hardened militants, escaped during last year's attack on the Central Jail in Bannu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Five days after the jailbreak, Ihsan said the raid was meant to free Rasheed.

Rasheed has been made the chief operational commander of the fidayeen unit that will work to free imprisoned militants, The News daily reported.

The development was made public in a video that features Rasheed and Yassin Chouka, one of the most wanted German commanders of the Waziristan-based Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and Abdul Hakeem, a Russian member of IMU.

Produced by Umar Media and Jundallah Studio, the media arms of the Taliban and IMU, the video shows Rasheed, Chouka and Hakeem seated under a tree and reading statements.

Rasheed is seen announcing the formation of Ansar Al Aseer and praising the Taliban for his release.

Rasheed also said in the video that the new unit will take "revenge" against police and intelligence personnel, jail wardens, officers and others who harass jailed militants or their families.

"We also warn Pakistani security forces and intelligence agencies against harassing the families of jihadi prisoners," he added.

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