North Waziristan Taliban commander said attacks are in retaliation for the Red Mosque assault
As the Pakistani government continues with negotiating to restore the Waziristan Accord with the Taliban in North Waziristan, the Taliban has admitted to conducting suicide attacks across the country. Maulvi Abdul Khaliq Haqqani, a member of the Taliban Shura in North Waziristan who is wanted by the government for past attacks, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the recent suicide attacks, and praised the “martyrs” of the Taliban-supporting Red Mosque, Dawn reported.
“Mujahideen of the North and South Waziristan agencies will avenge the martyred brothers, sisters and sons,” said Haqqani in a written statement. “Praise be to Allah, Mujahideen havel aunched activities and have been conducting guerrilla and suicide attacks against the army and paramilitary forces. They will take revenge of the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa operation.” Over 100 members of the Red Mosque were killed during the government assault on the complex in mid-July.
The Taliban continue to attack despite the arrival of the “peace jirga.” The Taliban launched a rocket attack at the meeting place of the jirga and destroyed six police checkpoints on Saturday, the Daily Times reported. Meanwhile, the police in North Waziristan and neighboring Bannu have left their posts along the frontier region, leaving Bannu open to attack. The Taliban also attempted to cut off Miramshah from the settled districts by attacking a bridge.
The Taliban have also sent suicide bombers from North Waziristan into greater Pakistan to attack government targets. Up to eight Waziri suicide bombers are being hunted by government security forces, according to the Daily Times.
Newsweek reported that Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second in command, has directed the actions of the pro-Taliban clerics at the Red Mosque, as well as the recent spate of suicide bombings and ambushes in Islamabad, North Waziristan, Swat, Dera Ismail Khan, Hub, Bannu and Hangu. His goal is to topple President Pervez Musharraf, but he is at odds with the Libyan and other factions inside al Qaeda and the Taliban, that do not want to risk the loss of their sanctuaries in the tribal areas. Zawahiri has the upper hand as the attacks continue and the government sues for peace.