Pakistani Taliban again threaten to attack the US


Center: Omar Khalid, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in the tribal agency of Mohmand. Reuters image.

Reuters has conducted an interview with Omar Khalid (identified as Omar Khalid al Khurasani), a deputy of Hakeemullah Mehsud’s Taliban movement who commands forces in the Mohmand tribal agency. Khalid is considered one of the Taliban’s most effective and powerful leaders in the tribal areas. He also maintains close ties to al Qaeda and is believed to have given sanctuary to Ayman al Zawahiri in the past [more on Khalid here].

In the interview, Khalid said the Taliban have been conducting attacks in Pakistan to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden, and would hit US targets outside of Pakistan. Khalid said that Ayman al Zawahiri is al Qaeda’s “chief and supreme leader” after bin Laden’s death. He also said that the Pakistani Taliban would fight the Pakistani government until an “Islamic system” was implemented in Pakistan.

Two items of note. First, in mid-May, Khalid vowed revenge on Pakistani and US forces for the death of Osama bin Laden, in an interview with Al Jazeera.

“We will take revenge of Osama’s killing from the Pakistani government, its security forces, the Pakistani ISI, the CIA and the Americans, they are now on our hit list,” Khalid said in the Al Jazeera interview.

Second, the Reuters report is somewhat dismissive of the Taliban’s attempt to detonate a car bomb in Times Square on May 1, 2010. The failed attack is often characterized as crude and amateurish as the car bomb failed to detonate. But the reality is that the Taliban were able to recruit Faisal Shahzad, get him in and out of a training camp in North Waziristan, and get him back to the US, where he assembled and deployed the bomb successfully, undetected. Had the fuse worked, people wouldn’t be describing it as an amateurish attack.

Below are excerpts from the Reuters report on Khalid:

“These attacks [in Pakistan] were just a part of our revenge. God willing, the world will see how we avenge Osama bin Laden’s martyrdom,” said Khorasani. “We have networks in several countries outside Pakistan.”

“Our war against America is continuing inside and outside of Pakistan. When we launch attacks, it will prove that we can hit American targets outside Pakistan,”

“The ideology given to us by Osama bin Laden and the spirit and courage that he gave to us to fight infidels of the world is alive,” said Khorasani, wearing a brown shalwar kameez, traditional baggy trousers and tunics, and a round top hat.

He described Ayman al-Zawahri, the former Egyptian physician who is the likely successor to bin Laden, as the Pakistani Taliban’s “chief and supreme leader”.

“Even if some rapprochement is reached in Afghanistan, our ideology, aim and objective is to change the system in Pakistan,” said Khorasani.

“Whether there is war or peace throughout the world, our struggle for the implementation of Islamic system in Pakistan will continue.”

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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  • kp says:

    “Khalid said that Ayman al Zawahiri is al Qaeda’s “chief and supreme leader” after bin Laden’s death.”

    That’s perhaps the most interesting comment. Did he not get the memo about the AQ leadership or did we get the wrong memo? Is there a split in support for different people to lead AQ in the FATA? Do they prefer people they know like AZ rather than Saif al-Adel who spent a lot of time in Iran (and who are not present in the FATA? He wasn’t on the top five list from the US to Pakistan.

  • JT says:

    We mean it. This time.
    Yeah, right. The US keeps degrading your organization and you soon won’t even be able to make threats that get any attention in the media.

  • Soccer says:

    Uh, not really JT.
    Have you paid attention to what the TTP have done since Bin Laden’s death?
    They are wounded, yes, but FAR from defeated. They are still very powerful, dangerous, and operationally capable.
    It is a fatal mistake to mis-understimate the Tehreek-I-Taliban Pakistan.
    I wonder who is more powerful, Hafiz Gul Bahadur or the TTP?

  • My2Cents says:

    He is just a Ayman al Zawahiri fan. It is like the supporters of one side trash talking to supporters for the other side during a game.

  • villiger says:

    In giving the good Taliban sanctuary, Pakistan is also giving the bad Taliban sanctuary. Once you put in the culture into a bowl of milk, the whole thing is going to curdle. You may enjoy one spoon more than another, but you (Pakistan) are only fooling yourselves. And, in the process, sucking up other peoples time and money also.
    As Pakistan can’t get in there for fear of mutiny, to assert its declared sovereignty, either ISAF does it or you negotiate the creation of Pashtunistan, remove a bad border (much ‘badder’ than Kashmir) or a combination of the two.
    In the end you have to carve out the territory that the Taliban is going to control, so that we can sequester them and control/limit their spillover and reach.
    Only then Pakistan may be viable, but then maybe the Balochis may want to go their own way.
    While the Taliban’s war against the Pak state rages, 2011 is the year where the World is seeing through Pak’s macho Army image. There REAL, not perceived, capabilities are in question, especially from a Western perspective of what they can ACTUALLY (IE in ACTION) DELIVER??? Which in my view is not much.
    As for attacks on the US, anything is possible for only 2-3 people can create a lot of damage, lets say eg to a train. As an organisation TTP’s mission is a takeover of Pakistan by cleverly feeding into the call for fundamental Islamism. Still, working with AQ and the LeT they could pull stuff elsewhere, though i doubt it for the risk-cost/reward ratio is not favorable.

  • mohammed Atta says:

    As all of these Pakistani Taliban Islamists admit, they will continue to perform JIHAD against Pakistan until they overthrow the democratic leadership and install an Islamic (fascist) system of autocratic rule by one Supreme person.
    The Pakistani PM needs NO further proof of their long term goals but it is certainly NOT something that he didn’t already know. In the end, it’s ALL about who holds the POWER……Taliban tribal leaders or the duly elected leaders of Pakistan.

  • villiger says:

    The TTP’s level of infiltration into PakMil is what one needs to watch out for. Afghanistan’s is nothing compared to Paks’ which is huge, massive.
    Their strategy is to encircle the State of Pakistan, through insurgency, religiously and socially/politically with support by the JuD, LeT and others. Its doable, given how weak the State is.


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