The deputy leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has threatened to attack Britain if the Western country does not free Islamist prisoners or improve their treatment.
Waliur Rehman Mehsud, the powerful Taliban leader in South Waziristan who is also Hakeemullah Mehsud’s deputy, made the threat in a video that was released sometime in the last month. The videotape was obtained and translated by The Telegraph.
Waliur, who is shown in the video flanked by two masked Taliban fighters holding weapons, threatened to take “revenge” for Muslims who are held in British prisons.
“The British government is mistreating our Muslim brothers and sisters who are living in Britain,” Waliur said. “This conduct of the British government is intolerable to us.”
Waliur specifically mentioned Bilal Abdullah and Roshonara Choudhry as two Islamists who have been “mistreated” by the British government. Waliur said that after reading a letter from Choudhry, in which she claims she has been mistreated while in prison, “the fire of revenge started to burn.”
Bilal Abdullah, a British citizen of Iraqi origins, was the leader of a terror cell that attacked a nightclub and the Glasgow airport in June 2007. He is a member of al Qaeda in Iraq and was selected to lead the cell because of his ability to blend into the population. A British court sentenced Abdullah to 32 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder.
Roshonara Choudhry, a British citizen whose family is from Bangladesh, attempted to assassinate British Member of Parliament Stephen Timms in May 2010 as “punishment” for voting for the Iraq war. Choudhry stabbed Timms with a knife but he survived. She had listened to sermons from Anwar al Awlaki as part of her radicalization process.
Waliur demanded that the British government set Abdullah, Choudhry, and other Islamists free “or give them rights under Geneva Conventions.”
“If the British government does not comply with this, then our revenge against the British government will be very severe,” he concluded. “These are not just words. We will show them in practice. We will show them how we take revenge for the mistreatment of our brothers.”
The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, which is closely allied with al Qaeda, attempted, and almost succeeded, in detonating a car bomb in New York City’s Times Square on May 1, 2010. The Taliban trained Faisal Shahzad on how to build the bomb; the attack did not succeed as the detonator failed. Hakeemullah Mehsud and a deputy, Qari Hussain, appeared on Taliban propaganda tapes claiming credit for the failed attack, and threatened to carry out more attacks. [For more on the Pakistani Taliban’s role in the Times Square plot, see LWJ reports, Pakistani Taliban claim credit for failed NYC Times Square car bombing, and US sees Pakistani Taliban involvement in Times Square attack after downplaying links.]
The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan seeks to overthrow the Pakistani state and impose sharia, or Islamic law. It also sends fighters across the border into Afghanistan to fight US and NATO forces. Its most high-profile attack against the US was carried out by Abu Dujanah al Khurasani, a longtime Internet jihadi who had been recruited by Jordanian intelligence to provide targeting information for the US’ covert air campaign against al Qaeda’s leaders and operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Turning against his Jordanian and American handlers, Khurasani, who was also known as Humam Khalil Muhammed Abu Mulal al Balawi, carried out the suicide attack against the CIA at Combat Outpost Chapman in Khost province at the end of December 2009. The attack killed seven CIA operatives and contractors, and the Jordanian intelligence officer. Khurasani had enticed the CIA with promises of being able to produce Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second in command.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.