Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad seen on video with Pakistani Taliban commander Hakeemullah Mehsud

shahzad-hakeemullah.JPG

Image of Hakeemullah Mehsud (left) and Faisal Shahzad (right) on a videotape obtained by Flashpoint Partners.

Failed Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad is seen embracing and shaking hands with Pakistani Taliban leader Hakeemullah Mehsud in a short videoclip.

In the previously unseen video, published by Flashpoint Partners yesterday, Shahzad and Hakeemullah are shown in front of a banner of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan [view video at Flashpoint Partners]. They rise, embrace , and shake hands, while Shahzad’s voice is overlaid on the tape saying he executed the attack under the command of Hakeemullah, who answers to Mullah Omar.

“Today, along with the leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Hakeemullah Mehsud and under the command of Amir al-Mumineen Mullah Mohammed Omar Mujahid (may Allah protect him), we are planning to wage an attack on your side, inshallah (god willing),” Shahzad said.

“Amir al-Mumineen” means “the leader of the faithful.” Mullah Omar is recognized as the Amir al-Mumineen by Taliban commanders on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border.

Shahzad had previously told the FBI that he had met Hakeemullah in the Waziristan region in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas.

Some US intelligence officials were dismissive of Shahzad’s claims that he met Hakeemullah, and initially doubted that the Pakistani Taliban were even involved in the Times Square bomb plot.

It is unclear if the videoclip released by Flashpoint Partners is part of the 40-minute martyrdom tape that emerged on July 14. Al Arabiya released clips of the Shahzad martyrdom tape, but the full version has yet to be published. In that video segment, Shahzad said that waging jihad was a pillar of Islam and that Muslims had a duty to take up arms against the West and Muslim governments.

Background on the Taliban’s involvement in the Times Square plot

On May 3, Shahzad was detained by the FBI when he tried to flee the country, just two days after attempting to detonate a car bomb in Times Square in New York City. He has pled guilty to 10 counts of terror activities, including attempting to detonated a weapon of mass destruction, and has cooperated with the FBI. Shahzad will be sentenced in October.

Shahzad has admitted to the FBI that he was trained in a Taliban camp in Waziristan beginning in late 2009, and that he received money from the organization twice after returning to the US in early 2010.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, led by Hakeemullah Mehsud, claimed credit for the failed Times Square bombing within hours of the failed attack. Two top leaders of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who are currently thought to be sheltering in North Waziristan released tapes claiming the attack and threatening more attacks in the US. But senior US officials initially dismissed the reports and speculated that the attack was carried out by a “lone wolf.”

In the early morning of May 2, a person identifying himself as a member of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel sent The Long War Journal the location of an audiotape made by Qari Hussain Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban master trainer of suicide bombers. In the tape, which had been uploaded to a YouTube site created by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel, Qari Hussain took credit for the failed bombing.

Significantly, Qari Hussain’s audiotape was uploaded on April 30, one day before the failed attack, and the Taliban news channel was also created on April 30. On May 2, YouTube quickly removed the audiotape and shut down the site.

Sixteen hours after receiving the initial Taliban contact, The Long War Journal was contacted by a person using a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan email address who pointed to the location of a new YouTube website with both an audio and a video tape of Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the al Qaeda-linked Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. In these tapes, Hakeemullah officially broke his months-long silence, denied that he had been killed in a US strike in Pakistan on Jan. 14, and threatened more attacks in the US.

US officials initially described the Times Square plot as a lone wolf attack and downplayed links to to the Pakistani Taliban despite the existence of the tapes. But one week after the attack, the Obama administration admitted that Shahzad was indeed linked to the Taliban.

Sources:

Flashpoint Exclusive: Video of Times Square Bomber Faisal Shahzad with Taliban Commander Hakimullah Mehsud, Flashpoint Partners

Videotape of Faisal Shahzad, Al Arabiya

Martyrdom tape of failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad released, The Long War Journal

Pakistani Taliban claim credit for failed NYC Times Square car bombing, The Long War Journal

Exclusive: Tapes show Hakeemullah Mehsud is alive and threatens attacks in the US, The Long War Journal

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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7 Comments

  • KaneKaizer says:

    I remember Hakeemullah announcing that they had many suicide bombers inside the US waiting to strike. I wonder if he was bluffing and there was only Shahzad, and that he wanted to be able to threaten more attacks if Shahzad had been successful, or if there really are more TTP suicide bombers awaiting the go ahead.

  • T Ruth says:

    Well the clip pretty much proes that Haki’s legs are ok too, despite his reported death on 3 different occasions.
    There isn’t much news from Pak-side on the whole situation, is there? Eg, who introduced this military-man’s son to the Mehsuds?
    I’d really like to know more about the ISI/Pak army connection here–can’t believe there wasn’t one–and hope we find out the whole truth here.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    Smilin’ Haki needs to be liquidated post haste.

  • Bungo says:

    On that same note I finally saw, today on CNN, a “report” on the report by the fellow from the London School of Economics that Pakistan’s Military and ISI are supporting the Taliban. They even had the author on . CNN wasn’t overly excited by any of this. It was presented as an “oh well” sort of thing. Geez, it only took how long, a month ? to get to this. I guess it’s a start.

  • kp says:

    @KaneKaizer: I suspect not. I speculate they have no other sleepers in the US.

    The one example of a AQ-related follow-up attack from an separate but coordinated group was the London 7/7 and 7/21 attacks. Two weeks to the day after the original attack.

    The gap we’ve had looses the “coordination” something that AQ (and I presume the TTP) would love. It makes them see “in control”. One would expect a rapid follow up after a failed attack (like the Times Square attack) to show they’re not impotent.

    The other problem is recruiting American citizens to do this. Even new ones. They’re aren’t that many they can reach with their ideology and contacts.

    I’m suprised that this video is still appearing. I guess TTP still think it’s useful even though their guy both failed in bomb design, failed in OPSEC and was rapidly captured and then apparently has given up useful info (which the TTP have now corroborated). It seems mostly downside for the TTP.

  • T Ruth says:

    TTP? What TTP?
    Haven’t you heard that the TTP is now defunct? So says Geo News in an article referred to by Bill above (the 16-people killed drone story).
    So has the PAK Establishment brought the renegade “bad” Taliban back into the fold? Haki Mehsud is now only conspicuous by his absence.
    Is the re-integration of the Taliban, the Pak Army and the ISI complete? Have they come to realise that its a waste to fight amongst themselves when the common enemy is the US? That somewhere between 2011 and 2014 they will get back control of Afghanistan? That there is a trillion-dollar-mountain waiting for them to loot? That in the meantime they are getting more than a pretty penny as pocket money from Uncle Sam? And bleeding their enemy to the tune of $235 million a DAY! (US cost of war $7+ billion)
    Carry on US playing ur benign (?) game of chess…with ur good friend Pakistan. But even to win a game of chess, you need a strategy…
    Sorry to point out Sirs, but
    YOU ARE BEING HAD!
    Your leaders are clueless. They simply do not understand this part of the world. They simply do not understand your enemy. From being lost, you come out losing–that is obvious. And in this case to a bunch of losers. STALEMATE WITH STALE MATES.

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