Waliur Rehman Mehsud says Taliban is tight with al Qaeda, bin Laden alive

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.”

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

2 Comments

  • kp says:

    From the Dawn article interviewing Wali-ur-Rehman:

    //www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/03-pakistan-taliban-commander-vows-to-expand-fight-ss-06

    Quote: “The journalist said Rehman covers his head with a blanket when outside to evade the high-resolution cameras on the constantly circling unmanned US aerial drones, which have killed almost 100 militants in September alone. There was no way to confirm Rehman’s security precautions.”

    I hope he has lots of people all over NW walking or driving around with blankets over their head otherwise that becomes a useful field mark to ID him.

    Quote: “During the interview, the journalist said, two drones orbited overhead, but did not attack.”

    I’m sure we’d love to know the date and time of the interview and link that back to UAV positions …

  • Paul says:

    Blah blah blah…..they WISH they 18K soldiers. Thye are nothing more than bandits and OBL will make a mistake one day. Pakistan will never be allowed to fall into Taliban’s hands. We will go in ourselves and secure the nukes before that ever happened. These guys are dreaming and trying to inspire recruits. Truth is you can’t water a garden in NW without a hellfire taking you out. Keep spewing the rhetoric…I could use the sleep.

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