Image of Hakeemullah Mehsud (left) and Faisal Shahzad (right) on a videotape obtained by Flashpoint Partners.
Failed Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad is seen embracing and shaking hands with Pakistani Taliban leader Hakeemullah Mehsud in a short videoclip.
In the previously unseen video, published by Flashpoint Partners yesterday, Shahzad and Hakeemullah are shown in front of a banner of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan [view video at Flashpoint Partners]. They rise, embrace , and shake hands, while Shahzad’s voice is overlaid on the tape saying he executed the attack under the command of Hakeemullah, who answers to Mullah Omar.
“Today, along with the leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Hakeemullah Mehsud and under the command of Amir al-Mumineen Mullah Mohammed Omar Mujahid (may Allah protect him), we are planning to wage an attack on your side, inshallah (god willing),” Shahzad said.
“Amir al-Mumineen” means “the leader of the faithful.” Mullah Omar is recognized as the Amir al-Mumineen by Taliban commanders on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border.
Shahzad had previously told the FBI that he had met Hakeemullah in the Waziristan region in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas.
Some US intelligence officials were dismissive of Shahzad’s claims that he met Hakeemullah, and initially doubted that the Pakistani Taliban were even involved in the Times Square bomb plot.
It is unclear if the videoclip released by Flashpoint Partners is part of the 40-minute martyrdom tape that emerged on July 14. Al Arabiya released clips of the Shahzad martyrdom tape, but the full version has yet to be published. In that video segment, Shahzad said that waging jihad was a pillar of Islam and that Muslims had a duty to take up arms against the West and Muslim governments.
Background on the Taliban’s involvement in the Times Square plot
On May 3, Shahzad was detained by the FBI when he tried to flee the country, just two days after attempting to detonate a car bomb in Times Square in New York City. He has pled guilty to 10 counts of terror activities, including attempting to detonated a weapon of mass destruction, and has cooperated with the FBI. Shahzad will be sentenced in October.
Shahzad has admitted to the FBI that he was trained in a Taliban camp in Waziristan beginning in late 2009, and that he received money from the organization twice after returning to the US in early 2010.
The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, led by Hakeemullah Mehsud, claimed credit for the failed Times Square bombing within hours of the failed attack. Two top leaders of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who are currently thought to be sheltering in North Waziristan released tapes claiming the attack and threatening more attacks in the US. But senior US officials initially dismissed the reports and speculated that the attack was carried out by a “lone wolf.”
In the early morning of May 2, a person identifying himself as a member of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel sent The Long War Journal the location of an audiotape made by Qari Hussain Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban master trainer of suicide bombers. In the tape, which had been uploaded to a YouTube site created by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel, Qari Hussain took credit for the failed bombing.
Significantly, Qari Hussain’s audiotape was uploaded on April 30, one day before the failed attack, and the Taliban news channel was also created on April 30. On May 2, YouTube quickly removed the audiotape and shut down the site.
Sixteen hours after receiving the initial Taliban contact, The Long War Journal was contacted by a person using a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan email address who pointed to the location of a new YouTube website with both an audio and a video tape of Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the al Qaeda-linked Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. In these tapes, Hakeemullah officially broke his months-long silence, denied that he had been killed in a US strike in Pakistan on Jan. 14, and threatened more attacks in the US.
US officials initially described the Times Square plot as a lone wolf attack and downplayed links to to the Pakistani Taliban despite the existence of the tapes. But one week after the attack, the Obama administration admitted that Shahzad was indeed linked to the Taliban.
• Videotape of Faisal Shahzad, Al Arabiya
• Martyrdom tape of failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad released, The Long War Journal
• Pakistani Taliban claim credit for failed NYC Times Square car bombing, The Long War Journal
• Exclusive: Tapes show Hakeemullah Mehsud is alive and threatens attacks in the US, The Long War Journal