The Pakistani Taliban have put the Pakistani state at the top of their hit list after US special operations and CIA forces killed Osama bin Laden at a fortified mansion in Abbottabad. From Reuters:
“Now Pakistani rulers, President Zardari and the army will be our first targets. America will be our second target,” Ihsanullah Ihsan, a spokesman for Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Taliban Movement of Pakistan, told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.
Ihsan’s threat is very likely not an empty one. Osama bin Laden was revered in Pakistani Taliban and wider jihadist circles, just as were two radical clerics, Ghazi Abdul Rasheed and Maulana Abdullah Aziz who co-ran the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in Islamabad up until July 2007. President Musharraf launched an assault on the Red Mosque after the clerics began enforcing sharia and kidnapping government officials. Rasheed was killed and Ghazi was jailed. The Red Mosque raid caused several disparate jihadist groups to unite and wage a massive terror campaign against the Pakistani state. These terror groups also allied with al Qaeda to carry out attacks. Top al Qaeda leaders, including bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and Abu Yahya al Libi called for jihad against the Pakistani state and aided in organizing the Pakistani Taliban as well as launching attacks.
By April 2009, almost 10 percent of Pakistan was under effective control of the Taliban, while wave after wave of high-profile terror attacks were launched against security forces, the government, and civilians alike.
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