Pakistani Taliban threaten US for killing leader in drone strike
The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan threatened to avenge the death of Hakeemullah Mehsud, its former emir, who was killed by the US in a drone strike last week. The al Qaeda-linked Taliban group also praised Hakeemullah for "the consolidation of the idea of global Jihad and the Caliphate," and claimed "sorcery" was responsible for a lingering illness.
The Pakistani Taliban made the claims in an official statement that was released today by its official media outlet, Umar Media. The Taliban's statement was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
"We say to the enemies of Allah, the Americans and their allies, that the blood of our Emir Mullah Hakeemullah Mehsud ... will not be wasted, and we will take revenge for him and his blood as soon as possible," the Taliban statement said, according to SITE. "This is a promise from us and a debt around our necks. We are not exempt nor released from it with Allah's permission until we fulfill it. The war between you and us is a rivalry, and you will see infidels with your own eyes the consequences and victory that will be for the Mujahideen of Islam."
In the statement, the Taliban touted two attacks against the US that took place outside of Pakistan: the December 2009 suicide attack that killed seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer in Khost, Afghanistan; and the May 2010 bombing attempt in Times Square in New York City. Hakeemullah had appeared in videos claiming both attacks.
The Taliban stressed that Hakeemullah was responsible for furthering the Pakistani Taliban's involvement in the international jihad and calling for the return of the Caliphate, or a global Islamic state.
"[Hakeemullah] presented the importance of Jihad at the forefront and the consolidation of the idea of global Jihad and the Caliphate in the Mujahideen," the statement said.
In the statement, the Pakistani Taliban also described al Qaeda's emir, Ayman al Zawahiri, as "our Sheikh," and the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Omar, as "our Emir of the Believers."
Participation in international jihad and the establishment of the Caliphate are two of al Qaeda's primary goals. The Pakistani Taliban cooperate closely with al Qaeda and provide shelter and support for the global terror group's top leaders and operatives.
In the statement, the Pakistani Taliban also claimed that Hakeemullah "has spent more than his life after leading the Emirate in strong sickness because of sorcery, despite not suffering from any disease." The nature and source of the "sorcery" was not disclosed.
Hakeemullah was in the process of "treating himself with spiritual treatment from one of the Mujahid Arab Sheikhs" just before he was killed. The identity of the "Arab Sheikh" was not disclosed, but Arab fighters in the region are often members of al Qaeda.