Pakistani Taliban commander claims female suicide attack


Center: Omar Khalid, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in the tribal agency of Mohmand. Reuters image.

A dangerous commander from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who is closely linked to al Qaeda claimed yesterday's suicide attack in Peshawar that was carried out by a female.

Omar Khalid, the Taliban's leader in the tribal agency of Mohmand, said the use of a female suicide bomber was part of the Taliban's evolving "strategy" in their war against the Pakistani state.

"It is part of our strategy and in war strategies keep on changing," Khalid told AFP. "The blasts were in reaction to the current military operation in the tribal areas."

Khalid also said that such attacks would continue until Pakistani Army offensives that are designed "to appease the United States" are halted. The Pakistani military has repeatedly claimed success in operations in the tribal areas, including in Mohmand, but in reality has failed to unseat the top Taliban leaders in the tribal areas.

Yesterday's suicide attack in Peshawar, which targeted a police checkpoint but killed an elderly woman, was the third suicide attack carried out by a female in Pakistan since December 2010. The Taliban have also carried out three other suicide attacks inside Afghanistan since June 2010 [see LWJ report, Female suicide bomber strikes in Peshawar, for the list of attacks].

Omar Khalid, the Taliban commander of Mohmand agency.

Mohmand Taliban under command of able leader

Khalid is a senior deputy of Hakeemullah Mehsud's Taliban movement. Khalid is considered one of the Taliban's most effective and powerful leaders in the tribal areas. He also maintains close ties to al Qaeda and is believed to have given sanctuary to Ayman al Zawahiri in the past.

Khalid is also allied with Qari Zia Rahman, the dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda leader who operates in Pakistan's tribal agencies of Mohmand and Bajaur as well as in Afghanistan's provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. Rahman established and runs the suicide training camps that are used to indoctrinate and train female bombers [see LWJ report, Al Qaeda, Taliban create female suicide cells in Pakistan and Afghanistan].

Khalid has been active in the Taliban's propaganda machine since the death of Osama bin Laden, and has been vocal in his support of al Qaeda. In mid-May, Khalid vowed revenge on Pakistani and US forces for the death of Osama bin Laden.

"We will take revenge of Osama's killing from the Pakistani government, its security forces, the Pakistani ISI, the CIA and the Americans, they are now on our hit list," Khalid said. "Osama bin Laden has given us the ideology of Islam and Jihad, by his death we are not scattered but it has given us more strength to continue his mission."

In early June, Khalid said the Taliban have been behind the spate of attacks in Pakistan and again threatened the US.

"Our war against America is continuing inside and outside of Pakistan. When we launch attacks, it will prove that we can hit American targets outside Pakistan," Khalid said.

In the same interview, Khalid said that Ayman al Zawahiri is al Qaeda's "chief and supreme leader." He stated this more than one week before Zawahiri was officially declared emir of al Qaeda.

Khalid gained prominence during the summer of 2007 after taking over a famous shrine in Mohmand and renaming it the Red Mosque in honor of the radical mosque in Islamabad whose followers had attempted to impose sharia in the capital.

The Mohmand Taliban took control of the tribal agency after the Pakistani government negotiated a peace agreement with the extremists at the end of May 2008. The deal required the Taliban to renounce attacks on the Pakistani government and security forces. The Taliban said they would maintain a ban on the activities of nongovernmental organizations in the region but agreed not to attack women in the workplace as long as they wore veils. Both sides exchanged prisoners.

The Taliban promptly established a parallel government in Mohmand. Sharia courts were formed, and orders were given for women to wear the veil in public. "Criminals" were rounded up and judged in sharia courts. Women were ordered to have a male escort at all times and were prevented from working on farms. The Taliban also kidnapped members of a polio vaccination team.

In July 2008, Khalid became the dominant Taliban commander in Mohmand after defeating the Shah Sahib group, a rival pro-Taliban terror group with ties to the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The military claimed it killed Khalid in January of 2009, but the Taliban denied the report and he has since surfaced.

The Pakistani government has placed a $123,000 bounty on Khalid's head.


READER COMMENTS: "Pakistani Taliban commander claims female suicide attack"

Posted by Villiger at August 12, 2011 11:08 AM ET:

Bill, can you comment a little further on the following statement please:

"Khalid gained prominence in Mohmand during the summer of 2007 after taking over a famous shrine and renaming it the Red Mosque, after the radical mosque in Islamabad whose followers had attempted to impose sharia in the capital."

Was this guy actually in that mosque at the time, or was he coordinating from outside? Please clarify, as its important to know if he was physicall within the grasp of the Pak military at that time.

Thanks and best,

Posted by Bill Roggio at August 12, 2011 11:30 AM ET:

I think you may have misread what I wrote, he took over a shrine (in Mohmand), and then renamed it the Red Mosque.

Posted by Villiger at August 12, 2011 12:33 PM ET:

Yes Bill you're right, thank you. The risks of speed-reading or maybe acquired dyslexia!

Keep up your good work!

Posted by Villiger at August 12, 2011 12:59 PM ET:

On the picture: OF PURE EVIL. May God withdraw these brutes from the planet and correct his mistakes. By 2014.

As for the Pathetik-stanis what wimps you are in not getting in there and acting upon your tarnished 'sovereignty'. May the mistake of the Brits also be corrected before 2014, so that you should fall apart--the smaller the pieces, the better. The quicker the better. I actually don't wish pain on the people of Pakistan, only upon your military. You need to be saved from yourselves. And you don't have any leaders that can help you lead as one nation. So far better that you build, bottom-up, your local economies and give up your nuclear ego and ambitions. The World is prepared to give you a lot of money, imagine, just for that. Far better you have electric, air-conditioning....clean water, medical facilities, hygiene, food...than feeding your nuclear ego with utter false pride. God, you are being so totally mislead...and have been for 64 years this Sunday.

Will you still need me?
Will you still feed me?
When I'm 64....

ANSWER: No to the former, definitely NO. Yes to the latter, if you re-settle into your own new smaller nations (which is your actual reality), get rid of your Talibanis, madrassas and your military so that you can't terrorize the world anymore, including your own citizens.

Posted by Bill Roggio at August 12, 2011 1:00 PM ET:

In all fairness I think the sentence was a little confusing, so we made a minor modification to clarify it. Thanks for the feedback.

Posted by Jim Clark at August 12, 2011 4:22 PM ET:

Explosives in cars/trucks, shoes, underwear, printer cartridges, children, turbans and now females. What next, Whitman's Samplers?

Posted by Civy at August 12, 2011 10:22 PM ET:

So are they now recruiting lesbian bombers, or male virgin martyrs to seed paradise with the requisite 70 virgin enticement for female bombers? Just sayin...

Posted by kulamarva balakrishna at August 13, 2011 10:13 AM ET:

It is of course good to keep cool humour even at war
and battles. If by 2014 goal is achieved, which would
prove a miracle, still the goal keeping is a continuous
job. What wrong policies were followed for more than
eighty long years, can not be amended by over night
operations. Even if a THIRD mass destructive weapon
is used. A healing process is long and expensive
especially when the patient Pakistani troika is not
in co-operative mood. The kidnapping in Lahore is
not unrelated. As for us Indians, we have been living
all along with Americans pumping Pakistanis both
with Qur´ans and cakes. Now the Crisis of Crescent
is on fire but who can say the sand land kingdom
of Saudi Arabia will not catch fire? The war deserves
resolution but America is irresolute and divided.
Not a rosy picture of the future.
Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring, TTTMM
India Kulamarva Balakrishna

Posted by Observer at August 13, 2011 4:26 PM ET:

I do not know why Americans seem worried, they are winning this war so far. They have a President from an African Family with a Muslim background - on the other hand Fazul could not get into the AQ Shura despite his tactical genius and business acumen: he was raising millions per year! Remember OBL was found with 500Euros while Fazul was found with US$40,000. AQ released a statement after the Nairobi bombing in 1998 claiming it had killed 12 Americans and that the rest were monkeys! Can you imagine the AQ Shura appointing an African from a Christian family to its ranks? Not possible!

The only mistake that the USA can make at this point, is spending too much: Remember USSR? I believe that the battle in Afghanistan will in future only need minimal staff to direct it. The focus should be on Homeland Security. Retaining a global presence and strike capability is much cheaper than today's daily combat.

Posted by Qudratullah Rahmat at August 13, 2011 5:50 PM ET:

Taliban are still active and overtly making efforts to expand their community-bases supports in Quetta to keep attacking Afghanistan, and from Northwest, Waziristan to attack Pakistan military targets. This is the fault of US that forgot supporting Afghan government after the withdrawal of former Soviet Union. If today US and allies leave Afghanistan without complete eradication of terrorists and their supporters, Taliban, again the war of this evil movement will be reached to New York streets and Washington's city center. It is better to US that put pressure on Pakistan and ISI to stop supporting and feeding Taliban and AQ in its territory. Pakistan is terror-producing machine of the world, and the risk of AQ and extremists’ access to nuclear weapons of this country is not impossible. If US wants to ensure a long-term security to its citizens and regional allies, Pakistan should be disarmed of nuclear weapons...This is at least for long-term security of the world...Pakistan is drowning in chaos and turbulence day by day and there will not guarantee for the safety of its nuclear weapons.

Posted by akw at August 14, 2011 4:52 AM ET:

kulamarva balakrishna at August 13, 2011 10:13 AM ET:

As for us Indians, we have been living
all along with Americans pumping Pakistanis both
with Qur´ans and cakes. Now the Crisis of Crescent
is on fire but who can say the sand land kingdom
of Saudi Arabia will not catch fire? The war deserves
resolution but America is irresolute and divided.
Not a rosy picture of the future.


That's rather unfair. India is a friend ally of the US, and a very important one. There have been times in the last half century that the US has given India much more than "cakes and Quráns." India doesn't need that now, so we now have a relationship based on diplomatic ties and trade.

Should Pakistan ever attempt to mount a serious attack on India, there is no doubt whose side the US would be on: India's. The US has used coercion and cajoling to drag Pakistan from your border, and aside from wanting Pakistan to focus its troops on fighting the Taliban and the Islamists, there was the objective of convincing Pakistan that their most urgent agenda needs to be keeping their country from deteriorating into another Afghanistan.

It is to everyone's advantage to turn the situation in Pakistan around. Its instability threatens the entire world. They are surviving now on foreign aid and loans from the IMF, and that makes the government vulnerable to an uprising and/or coup. It's not illogical to believe that power could fall into the hands of a coalition of Islamists, including the Taliban. That would be the beginning of a nuclear cold war, at best, and probably much worse.

The US doesn't like working with Pakistan; we can't trust them, and the Pakistan people hate us because they believe the lies and propaganda that tells them that the US is trying to gain power and control over Pakistan. The vast majority of them have no idea why the US is fighting in Afghanistan. Pakistan is a hellhole, and it's getting worse every day. The US is pouring money into it, and there is no end in sight.

BUT, no one can afford to walk away and turn our backs on the problem that is Pakistan. It's a true "Sophie's choice."