Reuters scored an interview with Waliur Rahman Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban of the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan and Hakeemullah Mehsud’s deputy. Waliur conducted the interview from North Waziristan (despite claims from North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar that the Mehsuds have been ejected). Below are some excerpts.
Waliur says the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan is allied with al Qaeda:
“Al Qaeda is a global organisation with branches spread all over the world, whether it is Arab countries, Europe, America or the subcontinent,” Rehman said, sitting on the floor flanked by two bodyguards. A Kalashnikov lay at his feet.
“Many organisations are attached to it. We totally agree with their ideology and their agenda,” he said.
“We will expand this war during the next 10 years,” he added.
Osama bin Laden is alive and well and living in Pakistan:
“I can say with confidence and authenticity that he is alive and very active and keeps contacts with his close aides and gives them instructions,” he says in the video.
US Predator strikes help the Taliban, and hurt:
“Because of these drone attacks, many people from around the world come to join us,” he said. “On the one hand, we lost a lot because of these drone attacks. On the other hand we keep on receiving our sympathisers from different nations.”
The Taliban has an army, and it will defeat the Pakistani military one day:
Rehman said there were “at least” 2,500 fighters in South Waziristan tying down the Pakistani Army, and about 18,000 TTP fighters across the whole country.
“We are sure, God willing, we would defeat the Pakistani army one day. … They have imposed an American war on us. Instead of conquering Kashmir, they are trying to conquer us.”