The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has released a video praising slain al Qaeda emir Osama bin Laden on the second anniversary of his death and vowing to continue “waging jihad for the Caliphate” in his name.
Umar Studio, the media arm of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, or Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, released the video of Ihsanullah Ihsan, the group’s top spokesman, yesterday. Ihsan’s speech is titled ‘The Day of Martyrdom of Sheikh Osama bin Laden.’ The video was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
In the video, Ihsan called the death of bin Laden, which occurred during a US Navy SEALs raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011, “the darkest day in Pakistani history.” Ihsan described bin Laden as a “general” and accused the Pakistani state of colluding with the US to kill the al Qaeda emir.
“This is the day when the world’s biggest terrorist, America, killed one of the greatest generals of the Muslim Ummah with the help of the Pakistani army and the government,” Ihsan said.
Ihsan denounced democracy in Pakistan, calling it a tool of the West, and urged Pakistanis to “rebel” and “boycott” upcoming elections. Over the past several weeks, the Pakistani Taliban has conducted several attacks against political candidates, party headquarters, and political gatherings.
“We appeal to the Pakistani nation to save themselves from American puppets, ” Ihsan said. “We appeal to the Pakistani public to boycott the election and rebel against this system, which has exploited the real aspirations and wishes of Pakistani public. We dedicate all our activities for the next decade to Sheikh Osama bin Laden and name this operation after him.”
Ihsan said the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan “is following the international agenda of Sheikh Osama bin Laden” and is “upholding his ideology.” The Pakistani Taliban would continue to fight until a global Caliphate is established, he claimed.
“Sheikh Osama bin Laden taught the Muslim Ummah that it is impossible to come out of political and economic slavery of the Jews and Christians without rebelling against the democratic system,” he continued. “He taught that the Ummah’s prosperity is hidden in waging jihad for the Caliphate.”
In the wake of bin Laden’s death, the Taliban carried out several attacks in Pakistan in his name. The largest was a suicide assault on Naval Air Station Mehran in Karachi on May 22, 2011. The Taliban destroyed two multimillion-dollar P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft and killed 10 Pakistani soldiers.
A year and a day prior to the death of bin Laden, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan attempted to conduct an attack on US soil. On May 1, 2010, Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani Taliban operative, attempted to detonate a car bomb in New York City’s Times Square. The bomb failed to detonate due to triggering issues. Had the bomb detonated, it is thought that dozens of civilians would have been killed in the blast.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed credit for the attempt just hours after the failed attack. Hakeemullah Mehsud, the group’s emir, and his deputy, Qari Hussain, released statements claiming credit for the attack. The bomber, Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested by law enforcement, was also seen on a videotape with Hakeemullah.
In addition to fighting the Pakistani military and plotting attacks against the West, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan is active in fighting US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. The most infamous attack took place at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost province on Dec. 30, 2009. A suicide bomber who claimed to be providing intelligence on the location of Ayman al Zawahiri detonated as he met with CIA officials; seven CIA personnel and security guards were killed. A videotape showing Hakeemullah and the Jordanian bomber, Abu Dujana al Khurasani, was later released by the Taliban.
The Pakistani Taliban recently released a video of one of its units, the Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas Group, operating in eastern Afghanistan. The group is named after an al Qaeda leader who was killed in Kunar.
Additionally, ISAF occasionally mentions targeting the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan’s network in Afghanistan. Two days ago, ISAF noted that it targeted a “senior insurgent leader” with links to the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, the Haqqani Network, and “Arabs” (a likely reference to al Qaeda) operating in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. The leader also commands suicide bombers and runs a training camp in an undisclosed location along the Afghan-Pakistan border.