Taliban take credit for suicide attacks in Pakistan

North Waziristan Taliban commander said attacks are in retaliation for the Red Mosque assault

As the Pakistani government continues with negotiating to restore the Waziristan Accord with the Taliban in North Waziristan, the Taliban has admitted to conducting suicide attacks across the country. Maulvi Abdul Khaliq Haqqani, a member of the Taliban Shura in North Waziristan who is wanted by the government for past attacks, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the recent suicide attacks, and praised the “martyrs” of the Taliban-supporting Red Mosque, Dawn reported.

“Mujahideen of the North and South Waziristan agencies will avenge the martyred brothers, sisters and sons,” said Haqqani in a written statement. “Praise be to Allah, Mujahideen havel aunched activities and have been conducting guerrilla and suicide attacks against the army and paramilitary forces. They will take revenge of the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa operation.” Over 100 members of the Red Mosque were killed during the government assault on the complex in mid-July.

The Taliban continue to attack despite the arrival of the “peace jirga.” The Taliban launched a rocket attack at the meeting place of the jirga and destroyed six police checkpoints on Saturday, the Daily Times reported. Meanwhile, the police in North Waziristan and neighboring Bannu have left their posts along the frontier region, leaving Bannu open to attack. The Taliban also attempted to cut off Miramshah from the settled districts by attacking a bridge.

The Taliban have also sent suicide bombers from North Waziristan into greater Pakistan to attack government targets. Up to eight Waziri suicide bombers are being hunted by government security forces, according to the Daily Times.

Newsweek reported that Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second in command, has directed the actions of the pro-Taliban clerics at the Red Mosque, as well as the recent spate of suicide bombings and ambushes in Islamabad, North Waziristan, Swat, Dera Ismail Khan, Hub, Bannu and Hangu. His goal is to topple President Pervez Musharraf, but he is at odds with the Libyan and other factions inside al Qaeda and the Taliban, that do not want to risk the loss of their sanctuaries in the tribal areas. Zawahiri has the upper hand as the attacks continue and the government sues for peace.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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6 Comments

  • russ says:

    Hmmm, is Musharraf now reaping the results of pandering to the Taliban/Al Queda?
    It seems so…
    It makes me wonder whether these attacks will be an excuse for Musharraf to put off the promised elections… Any ideas anyone?

  • Richard Romano says:

    US air strikes in Pakistan are about to become a reality — Musharaf is in trouble and he needs help, of the military kind.
    We have to deal with this enemy — for our sakes and for the world’s sake, we have to deal swiftly with them.

  • Neo says:

    Russ,
    I have an even better idea. How about you supporting your unlikely claims about Musharraf with at least a shred of evidence. Yes, it’s the old leader bombs his own people for political advantage yarn. Just another version of blame the victim.

  • mxpwr03 says:

    Russ, I don’t see this escalated level of violence being a motivator for pushing back the expected election. The reinstatement of the Chief Judge, talks with moderate foreign exiles (Bhutto), international election agreements, all point to the President’s realization of what is in Pakistan’s best interest. From what I gathered, (//tinyurl.com/342v7b & //tinyurl.com/3ey6ke) political movement for general elections in late November seem to still be on track. The latter link points out that the EU has already volunteered to monitor the election, and President Musharraf has agreed to the relinquish his post as Commander of the Army, in addition to recognizing the election process and outcome.
    Richard, Pakistan still holds on to its original policy stance of restricting all foreign military strikes inside Pakistani territory (//tinyurl.com/yrel4n); however, I hear reports of artillery strikes close to the boarder being permitted. One thing that seems plausible is to have U.S. SOCOM target meetings, training camps, supply depots, inside the NWFP, than the Pakistani Air Force launches the missiles. Plausible deniability could still be maintained, but unduly overt operations seem counter-productive. Yet, I still cannot figure out why Pakistani SF teams cannot do the mission themselves, we have sold (basically given) the country enough high-tech equipment to do a similar job to that of SOCOM. Moreover, why the Pakistani military cannot move forces away from the Pakistan/India and move them to the east seems strange. Relations between the two nations have been extremely productive as of late, and one would imagine that enough international soft power could be placed on India to ensure their military does not do anything too sensationalist.
    One point that stems from the discussion on the increased Taliban/AQ offensive is, can these two organizations afford to fight a two front war? One is hard pressed to make a case that their campaign in Afghanistan is going swimmingly, so it seems to me to be counterproductive for them to open another offensive front.

  • crosspatch says:

    “I hear reports of artillery strikes close to the boarder being permitted. One thing that seems plausible is to have U.S. SOCOM target meetings, training camps, supply depots, inside the NWFP, than the Pakistani Air Force launches the missiles. Plausible deniability could still be maintained”
    As could a Pakistani artillery barrage in the general area of a target and one single Excalibur or Hellfire precision round from a US unit fired onto a target in the course of that barrage. It then looks like a “lucky hit”.
    But put things in a different perspective. While suicide bombings are increasing, Musharraf knows the country can absorb this rate of death indefinitely as it is still much lower than the rate of traffic deaths in Pakistan. But it will serve to sway public opinion more toward demanding harsh action against the extremists. Every suicide bombing probably convinces more people to support actions against the Taliban. My instincts are that Musharraf is taking the negotiations path until there is overwhelming public demand for harsher action and at that point all the stops will be pulled. Every time the Taliban blows up another group of innocents, they are playing into Musharraf’s hand and undercutting their own suppport.
    The key is in Musharraf reading the tea leaves and determining when decisive action can be taken. My guess is that he will allow the Taliban to screw up like they did at the Red Mosque and take small actions that he knows he will win in order to generate a string of victories. So rather than an overall general escalation, I would be looking more for specific incidents/attacks where his forces can go in, meet some objective, declare victory and leave. This would likely result in the Taliban further escalating their suicide attacks, further turning public opinion against them, and giving Musharraf even more political capital to spend on any needed operations while STILL holding out an olive branch to those who would wish to mend their ways.
    Again, not having access to any hard information on the ground that is speculation and could be proved wrong tomorrow but that appears consistent with what I am actually seeing happen there. You can’t look at events there in the context of the global war on terror so much as you must look at them in the context of domestic Pakistani politics.
    Anyone think Bhutto would have any greater support from the Pakistani military to attack the Taliban? She might enjoy more Chinese support. What might the landscape look like with anyone who would replace Musharraf?

  • Thanos says:

    Heads Up, Abdullah Mehsud is dead. Think the factions are also informing on each other in the power struggle?
    //noblesseoblige.org/wordpress/?p=1352

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