Pakistan Taliban take credit for Khyber suicide attack

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for yesterday’s deadly suicide attack at the Torkham border crossing in Khyber. The attack killed 22 Pakistani border guards as they prepared to break fast for the Ramadan meal.

Tariq Azam, the new spokesman for Hakeemullah Mehsud and the Pakistani Taliban, said the attack was aimed at the US and was a response to the assassination of former leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed after an Aug. 5 airstrike in South Waziristan.

“We claim responsibility for the blast,” Tariq told AFP.

“This is our first response since the death of our chief Baitullah Mehsud,” Tariq continued. “We will continue similar attacks in the future also.”

The Taliban conducted the attack at Torkham because the crossing is used by the US to move supplies into Afghanistan. “The victims of the suicide attack were all those supporting the United States,” Tariq said. “Anybody supporting the US is our enemy.”

Earlier a group called the Abdullah Azzam Brigade took credit for the attack. The Abdullah Azzam Brigade is based in Arakzai, and is one of the units commanded by Hakeemullah Mehsud.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigade is named after the influential jihadi ideologue who co-founded al Qaeda along with Osama bin Laden. Its members include Taliban fighters from the Arakzai-based Commander Tariq Group as well as Arabs from the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

Zawahiri urges Pakistanis to fight the government

The same day the Taliban took credit for the Khyber attack, Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second in command, released a tape on the Internet urging Pakistanis to battle their government and their Army.

“People of Pakistan … back the jihad and mujahideen with your persons, wealth, opinion, expertise, information and prayers and by exhorting others to help them and preach their message,” Zawahiri said.

Zawahiri said the fighting in Pakistan’s tribal areas and in the Swat region was part of a US “crusade” against Islam.

“The war in the tribal areas and Swat is an integral part of the crusade on Muslims across the world,” Zawahiri said, according to Reuters. “There is no honor for us except through Jihad.”

For the past two years, Al Qaeda has been urging the Pakistani people to fight against their government. Abu Yahya al Libi, an al Qaeda spokesman and ideologue, first issued the call in August 2007 when he told the Pakistani people and the Army to turn against then-President Pervez Musharraf’s regime after the military stormed the radical Red Mosque in the heart of Islamabad. Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden have repeated this call to rebellion several times since then.

“Your brothers in the Taliban are not fighting to liberate Afghanistan only, but also the Taliban in Pakistan are carrying out jihad to purge Pakistan from the United States and its agents in the Pakistani Government and army,” Zawahiri said in a tape released in February 2009.

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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  • T Ruth says:

    And the Pak Army is mulling over going into Waziristan next Spring….

  • Max says:

    Why is it necessary to use the word “credit” when describing terrorists acknowledging their role in a heinous criminal act that murdered twenty-two innocent human beings? All you are doing is becoming part of their propaganda machine by default when you use such terminology.
    Instead, you should describe their actions as “taking the blame” rather than “taking credit” or “took credit” for an attack. There is no credit for murder, only blame.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Yes, we here at The Long War Journal endeavor to be part of the Taliban’s propaganda machine.
    This is a matter of basic English. Nobody “takes blame” for an act. That is a silly statement. The correct usage would be “Taliban blames itself for suicide attack”. Tell me how ridiculous that sounds?
    We’re sorry if the Taliban taking credit for an attack offends your sensibilities, but that is exactly what they did. My suggestion would be to loosen up.

  • zotz says:

    Thankyou for defending the English language. But if you really wanted to be politically correct you would call them “homicide bombers”.
    Now I’m going to finish eating my freedom fries.

  • Max says:

    No the correct usage would be “Taliban accepts the blame for suicide attack”. This isn’t difficult to figure out how to do right.
    BTW, I wasn’t suggesting that you were willingly trying to help the Taliban or terrorists in general; I know you and this blog better than that. But with a little smarter usage of the English, we can turn the tables on them and make them accept blame instead of allow them to “take credit” for something that is blameworthy.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    “Taliban accepts the blame for homicide attack”
    Hmmmm…. I’ll have an order of freedom fries as well. But only with American cheese.
    (BTW zotz, I actually had to delete my sentence on freedom fries in my initial comment as I was trying to be nice. Kudos to you for reading my mind.)
    I find the need to play word games in instances like this to be an exercise in mental masturbation. If someone can’t figure out that a suicide attack is wrong, evil, vile, etc., and that accepting responsibility or taking credit or accepting blame or how ever you want to put it for said suicide attack is repugnant, then then no matter how I phrase a title or sentence, no tables will be turned.
    The reality is the Taliban are proudly taking responsibility for a heinous act, not skulking and saying someone blamed them.
    Which is worse?

  • zotz says:

    The Pakistanis are about as trustworthy as rattlesnakes and over half of our supplies go through that country. Have you guys read this?

  • Rational Enquirer says:

    Bill, your phrase “takes credit for the attack(s)” is entirely accurate. In addition, because you use it as the author of an antiterrorism blog, the usage comes across as ironic. Perhaps a new reader wouldn’t see the irony at first glance, and might think LWJ was somehow caught up in the sensationalistic drama of an attack. But it’s hard to believe that a reader could be so obtuse.
    Part of the problem, if there is one, is that terrorism — committing acts of terror against innocent victims and then publicizing these very acts as a means of intimidation — has hitherto been such a rare thing in the West that the English language has not evolved many terms to describe the phenomenon. Most of our current terms — “accepts blame for” “takes responsibility for” “owns up to” and so forth — assume a more or less universal moral order in which the perpetrator acknowledges or regrets to some extent the error(s) of his or her destructive deed. But in the case of the terrorist, there is no acknowledgment of error or guilt, there is instead a perverse demand that the deed be attributed to the perpetrator.
    As such, your use of the phrase “takes credit for” or “claims credit for” correctly describes the terrorist’s actions. While a different phrase such as “acknowledges having committed the act” might be used instead, it does not convey the boasting and demand for publicity that are part of the terrorist’s modus operandi.

  • T Ruth says:

    zotz i agree and thanks for the link. I might add the obvious, that in addition to more than half the supplies being routed through pakistan (for which it is handsomely paid), with Pakistan’s non-campaign against the taliban in Waziristan, ISI links with the taliban and the harbouring of AQ there, Pakistan IS in itself, more than half the problem.
    I am perplexed by the following comment excerpted from the same NYT article:
    “The dispute highlights the level of mistrust that remains between the United States and a Pakistani military that American officials like to portray as an increasingly reliable partner in the effort to root out the forces of the Taliban and Al Qaeda on Pakistani territory.”
    Makes one wonder if there is such a thing as an increasing reliable snake?

  • ArneFufkin says:

    Max is “max” correct on this IMO. It is BLAME, not CREDIT. It’s gutless ambush murder. You are inadvertently trumpeting their agitprop Bill because you assign their missives credence. Hey, should pathological crazies in America be given “credit” for some rape or mass murder they commit because they send out a press release proud of their carnage? Just sayin’. The word “Credit” has a moral component to it.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Those Freedom Fried were yummie. I think I’ll have some Freedom Toast for breakfast.
    Rational Enquirer hit the nail on the head.
    Of course suicide attacks are gutless murder. Again, what is more heinous:
    Proudly taking credit for a suicide attack?
    Or being blamed for a suicide attack?
    I really think you’re missing the point: the Taliban don’t pick up the phone and say “we accept blame for this suicide attack.” They do just the opposite. That is quite telling.

  • Richard McIntyre says:

    When we make a succesful attack on the taliban you can rest assured they are not calling it a credit to the U.S. It is a simple thing to either validate or invalidate an action through words. Lets not help them validate their actions by giving them any incentive at all. It is also a hard read for the families of the killed soldiers to hear the taliban has received credit for killing them.


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