Pakistani Taliban deputy leader Waliur Rehman threatens Britain


The deputy leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has threatened to attack Britain if the Western country does not free Islamist prisoners or improve their treatment.

Waliur Rehman Mehsud, the powerful Taliban leader in South Waziristan who is also Hakeemullah Mehsud's deputy, made the threat in a video that was released sometime in the last month. The videotape was obtained and translated by The Telegraph.

Waliur, who is shown in the video flanked by two masked Taliban fighters holding weapons, threatened to take "revenge" for Muslims who are held in British prisons.

"The British government is mistreating our Muslim brothers and sisters who are living in Britain," Waliur said. "This conduct of the British government is intolerable to us."

Waliur specifically mentioned Bilal Abdullah and Roshonara Choudhry as two Islamists who have been "mistreated" by the British government. Waliur said that after reading a letter from Choudhry, in which she claims she has been mistreated while in prison, "the fire of revenge started to burn."

Bilal Abdullah, a British citizen of Iraqi origins, was the leader of a terror cell that attacked a nightclub and the Glasgow airport in June 2007. He is a member of al Qaeda in Iraq and was selected to lead the cell because of his ability to blend into the population. A British court sentenced Abdullah to 32 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder.

Roshonara Choudhry, a British citizen whose family is from Bangladesh, attempted to assassinate British Member of Parliament Stephen Timms in May 2010 as "punishment" for voting for the Iraq war. Choudhry stabbed Timms with a knife but he survived. She had listened to sermons from Anwar al Awlaki as part of her radicalization process.

Waliur demanded that the British government set Abdullah, Choudhry, and other Islamists free "or give them rights under Geneva Conventions."

"If the British government does not comply with this, then our revenge against the British government will be very severe," he concluded. "These are not just words. We will show them in practice. We will show them how we take revenge for the mistreatment of our brothers."

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, which is closely allied with al Qaeda, attempted, and almost succeeded, in detonating a car bomb in New York City's Times Square on May 1, 2010. The Taliban trained Faisal Shahzad on how to build the bomb; the attack did not succeed as the detonator failed. Hakeemullah Mehsud and a deputy, Qari Hussain, appeared on Taliban propaganda tapes claiming credit for the failed attack, and threatened to carry out more attacks. [For more on the Pakistani Taliban's role in the Times Square plot, see LWJ reports, Pakistani Taliban claim credit for failed NYC Times Square car bombing, and US sees Pakistani Taliban involvement in Times Square attack after downplaying links.]

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan seeks to overthrow the Pakistani state and impose sharia, or Islamic law. It also sends fighters across the border into Afghanistan to fight US and NATO forces. Its most high-profile attack against the US was carried out by Abu Dujanah al Khurasani, a longtime Internet jihadi who had been recruited by Jordanian intelligence to provide targeting information for the US' covert air campaign against al Qaeda's leaders and operations in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Turning against his Jordanian and American handlers, Khurasani, who was also known as Humam Khalil Muhammed Abu Mulal al Balawi, carried out the suicide attack against the CIA at Combat Outpost Chapman in Khost province at the end of December 2009. The attack killed seven CIA operatives and contractors, and the Jordanian intelligence officer. Khurasani had enticed the CIA with promises of being able to produce Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's second in command.



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READER COMMENTS: "Pakistani Taliban deputy leader Waliur Rehman threatens Britain"

Posted by Villiger at March 31, 2012 1:12 PM ET:

A couple of observations:

First, an appalling translation by the The Telegraph. Shocking, given the number of urdu speakers in Britain!

Second, the nuance was more of a firm demand that these people's human rights are protected (he cites from a letter that they, the prisoners, had acid thrown on their face--i doubt it but that is what he's going on), rather than a threat in case they are not released.

Third, the tone of his little speech was too me perhaps the most surprising part: quite civil, framed almost like a plea, rather than rabid or hate or barbarian.

If this guy can talk like this to an arch-enemy, I will tell you he can win hearts and minds of people in his country.

Given the backdrop of the reconciliation talks, and in that sense only, my last observation is encouraging. My final comment is that i would almost rather sit down with this guy to lunch than with Kayani. I am deliberately being provocative, but i believe the more educated the Pakistani (no i'm not adressing the Brit Pakistanis), the more dangerous they are. e.g. AQ Khan, Musharraf, Kayani himself and many before him.

What i am driving at is that, perhaps its not the Taliban that is not reconciliable, but is Pakistan reconciliable? Let's not forget if we look at the whole terror tree, with all its roots and branches, the Pakistani Army is indeed the very root of it. It is not happen-chance that AQ Central is still domiciled in Pakistan, despite coming to a year when OBL, who fathered God knows how many children on Pakistani soil, was shot dead in one of your cantonments.

Obama, you have wasted a whole term in not coming near to solving this problem. Leave alone the battlefield, you assisted by Madame Clinton, have failed to encircle Pakistan diplomatically even in the region, and less so internationally.

Posted by mike merlo at March 31, 2012 1:26 PM ET:

Waliur said after reading the letter from Choudry..."the fire of revenge started to burn," I sense a possible marriage proposal in the offing.

Posted by Paul D at March 31, 2012 2:32 PM ET:

Agree Villiger.

The problem with Afghanistan is Pakistan whose right wing funded by Saudi Arabia dont want democracy but Sharia Law.

Posted by GW at March 31, 2012 6:55 PM ET:

It seems they are realizing the dangers that lurk in the sky above. It looks like he is standing inside a brand new concrete and steel fortified bunker. It looks a bit more sophisticated than your average mud hut. ISI must be getting into the home building industry.

Posted by Devin Leonard at April 1, 2012 3:19 PM ET:

The British should be well prepared for any Taliban threats to the UK. They survivied a vicious and relentless IRA bombing campaign throughout the 70's-90's and were able to finally get a handle on IRA terrorisim which was no simple feat, considering how good the IRA was.

I think they will be well prepared for security against Al Qaida/Taliban infiltrators at the upcoming Olympic games or in other parts of the country. And of course they still have the SAS and SBS "in country" to hunt down this dirt-bag:)

Posted by mike merlo at April 1, 2012 9:21 PM ET:

re: villiger
I agree with everything except your take on Clinton

Posted by villiger at April 2, 2012 2:20 AM ET:

Paul D agree with you. The Arab spring will turn into a raging summer forest fire once the present winds of change pick up momentum there.

Mike, perhaps one had greater expectations of her and to be fair she has had a lot on her plate. But i do believe, and by her own admission, she has been tired for some time now. A greater sense of urgency of change could have instilled a sharper edge into diplomatic negotiations with Pakistan although i'm far from certain that it would have yielded much more.

The best news i've heard recently is that the Army believes that its logistics supply line is in good shape, despite higher costs. This has been a central problem that has afforded the Paks to hold the US to ransom.

If one can be free of that then, as others too have commented here, one can deal with these scoundrels and blackguards on an arms length basis (pun intended), including with full-on drones and border-raids, as well as an arms spares and supplies and financial/economic squeeze.

Posted by Neonmeat at April 2, 2012 4:58 AM ET:

These people were tried in a court of law and sentenced accordingly, their rights are being respected and up held.

Roshana actually refused to recognise the authority of the Court over her as she believes only God can judge her.

I have to say she is braver than most of the UK born Islamists who get caught and then immediately deny their own God which they have raved about on Martyrdom Youtube videos and terror forums, telling how with their own lives they will kill scores of infidels in revenge for fallen Muslims Brothers etc but then put in pleas for easier sentences and do deals to incriminate each other.

Posted by Barry Larking at April 2, 2012 7:04 AM ET:

It is hard to take this seriously. You may be quite certain nothing of the kind this man describes has happened or will happen to Islamist convicts in a British prison. (Everything to respect their rights and religion that can be done, is done.) At, least to those actually in prison. It is seemingly impossible to lock many of them up unless they actually undertake an operation on U.K. soil and now, even house arrest has been over turned by the courts. Given drone attacks, being a Islamist extremist in the U.K. is far safer than where this man is standing.

Posted by Devin Leonard at April 2, 2012 2:33 PM ET:

I disagree with villiger about Obama. Obama has done many things right in Afghanistan and in the war against the Taliban and Al Qaida. Obama got Bin Laden right out from under the nose of the back-stabbing Pakis. He created the surge which broke the back of the Taliban and sent them scurrying back to Waziristan with their tails between their legs. And he has launched more drone strikes and killed more Al Qaida/Taliban leaders via Drones then Bush ever did. People may not like his domestic policies but I for one give him credit as an accomplished commander in chief. And Hillary Clinton has been an outstanding SOS.

Posted by Villiger at April 2, 2012 5:36 PM ET:

Devin, what precisely are you disagreeing with me on?

I said: Obama and Clinton "have failed to encircle Pakistan diplomatically even in the region, and less so internationally."

I didn't say that i like Obama and/or Clinton or don't like them. Especially since i'm not American, i don't need to make these daily choices and so i'm free to criticize the specific policy. Which is what i said above. Step back and think of it: 10 yrs. on from 9/11 the victims still wake up to hearing how the country who hosted and still hosts the perpetrators, ie AQCentral in Pakistan is not only still your ally, but there is precious little diplomatic consensus/pressure in the immediate local region/sub-region on how to deal with this rogue Pakistan. This is not an opinion but a simple statement of fact and has nothing to do with whether you like and/or love Obama and or Clinton, their other achievements, domestic policies, so on and so forth. Pakistan has and is getting away with murder. FACT.

As for Clinton's impending retirement, tell me where else can you find a job where you can be open and say you are tired, exhausted and still carry on and do the job for another 2 years regardless. I think that is a dis-service and to that extent dis-honest. Perhaps i don't trust, leave alone embrace, politicians generally as readily as you do!

As for the surge, too little, too short. It was a decision made by a man who had/has no military experience whatsoever against the advice of his top military commanders. Result: job unfinished and walls collapsing around you especially in the South and the East--you know as well as i do. Foundation uncertain--FACT. An opportunity lost to do more while your voters were with you.

Posted by Mr T at April 2, 2012 8:27 PM ET:

Obama did not "create" the surge. HIs generals asked for a surge force and he did NOT give them what they asked for.

I believe they asked for 40-50k troops and he gave them 20-30k troops. In my mind, that forces them to do more with less.

Maybe that is possible, Maybe they were being honest and needed 50k minimum but only got 30k which would not accomplish the goal. Not exactly a way to run a war.

I am not sure I would include letting the Muslim Brotherhood take over Egypt as a great success story for the President or Secretary of State.

The world has also not grasped the stakes in this war on terror. The US seems to be blamed for all the trouble. The Taliban gets a pass from the international community. Not a great political success story either.

Posted by Battle Boar Fan at April 2, 2012 8:31 PM ET:

I disagree Devin .. OBL fell into Obama's lap. The SEALs got Bin Laden. If he would have done anything but what he did it would have been a colossal screw up. It's hard to congratulate that in my opinion. Any and all props I give go the operators on the ground.

The "surge" was a politically calculated decision for domestic consumption. I do agree that the surge forces had a positive effect, but imagine how much more effective it could have been if he would have given the full compliment of forces that were requested, and also had not given a withdrawal date at the very same time. For the record, I'm not a fan of either of the last two Commanders in Chief. I think they both failed miserably in leading this very important war.

Posted by davidp at April 3, 2012 5:57 PM ET:

Prior to 1970, in wartime most countries adhering to the Geneva conventions would have shot these people as "unprotected" saboteurs.

I think this is mainly a recruitment video - the key point is "as true muslims, come to the aid of these muslim 'victims'"

Posted by Villiger at April 3, 2012 11:25 PM ET:

Mr T and Battle Boar,

Agree with you totally.

Apart from the strategic mistakes outlined by you, Obama and Clinton have failed to lead from the front and influence public opinion, domestically as well as globally. There lies the difference between a statesman and one more insecure politician.

Posted by RQ at April 5, 2012 7:48 AM ET:

re:Villiger

Is it an appalling translation? not quiet so much! I think Bill's interpretation of the video is appalling.

I agree with you overall. I would add that Movement Of The Taliban (Tehrik-e-Taliban) often abduct foreign individuals for ransom inside Pakistan. Victims are usually released without any torture.

WR highlights a few issues and points out that if you mis-treat our brothers we will do the same.

In summary WR does not state that he will conduct attacks on UK. He highlighted that if the The British Govt fails to provide Muslim captives their human rights then he will execute a plan for revenge.

Posted by Villiger at April 5, 2012 1:06 PM ET:

RQ, i agree with your interpretations. As for Bill, I think he has more or less presented the version of the translation by The Telegraph. If you read the subtitles line for line, they are misleading in themselves.

One thing i would like to point out though on your comment re kidnapping foreigners, it is obviously contrasted with lawful detainment, and usually that of innocents--Daniel Pearl comes to mind. Further, if they are not tortured physically, they surely are mentally by being made to appear in videos and risk their lives in order to free themselves and even risk fire in rescue situations. I wouldn't want to paint them as angels. And i'm sure neither of us would want to find ourselves in that situation.