The Taliban is having a tough month with its spokesmen. Just a few weeks ago, its popular Afghan spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was accused of accidentally turning on Twitter's geolocation function while tweeting from southeast Pakistan, far from his normal office. Mujahid, to his credit, quickly denied that he'd given his location up and decried the geo-tag as part of "an enemy plot."
On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Shahidullah Shahid, the Pakistani Taliban's influential spokesman, had been fired by the group's leadership. The more accurate way to put it might be to say that Shahid quit after he, along with five other Taliban commanders, vowed allegiance to the Islamic State in an audio recording.
“I pledge allegiance to the Caliph of Muslims, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," Shahid said of the ISIS leader. "I will listen to and obey his every order, even if the situation is difficult, whether I like the order or not.”
The Pakistani Taliban took the news a little hard. "He was the most important of the five who have left us. Others are not prominent figures," one unnamed Taliban commander confided to the BBC.
In a conversation with Reuters, another unnamed Taliban commander could not mask his sense of feeling spurned as he accused Shahid of making the move as a publicity stunt: "He used our name and tried to make it big news in the media."