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Pakistani Militants Tehrik-i-Taliban Deny Recent Bombings

Tehrik-i-Taliban Spokesman Azam Tariq. Via Screenshot-Youtube/AlJazeera.

In a video today, Azam Tariq, a spokesman of the Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP), denied involvement in the bombings in South Waziristan, which have claimed significant civilian casualties. (Click here for video). In recent weeks, attacks and bombings have littered Pakistani markets and communities, with much of the media placing the blame directly at the foot of the Tehrik-i-Taliban. However, Tariq stated that his organization did not target civilians, but that certain forces, namely former U.S. military contractor Blackwater, now known as Xe Services, LLC, were to blame for the explosions, specifically, the twin suicide bombings at the International Islamic University in Islamabad and for the October 28 car bombing of a crowded Peshawar market, which killed more then 100 people. While Tariq did not take credit for these bombings, he did take claim for a blast which killed at least six people and injured 25 in front of a police station in Peshawar, claiming it as a “religiously legitimate target.”

This flurry of activity by the Tehrik-i-Taliban comes at a bad time for the Obama Administration and the fledgling Pakistani government. Atta Ullah Khan, an aide of Tariq,admitted today to the kidnapping and beheading of Polish journalist Piotr Staczak earlier this year. Qari Hussain, the trainer of suicide bombers and spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsood, warned the Pakistani government that more suicide bombings were to be expected, stating that these attacks were in response to the government’s operation in South Waziristan and its role n the U.S.’s war on terror. Earlierthis morning, an explosive device claimed six lives and injured 43 in a suicide attack on Badbher Police Station in Peshawar.

Peshewar volunteers and locals help clear the wreckage following the attack on Bahreeb Police Station. Via Nation.

Pakistan is barely a month into its offensive against the various Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan and progress has been limited. The Taliban, in response to the offensive, prepared 25 suicide bombing vehicles, preparing to inflict heavy casualties on the Pakistani army as it continued its offensive. Islamabad is also fearful of the recent influx of Punjabi militants and their roles in masterminding or carrying out a spurt of recent attacks and bombings. Analysts warn that increased instability in the country of 167 million people could prove more damaging. Militants have used guerrila warfare tactics against the Pakistani army, bogging the army down in a situation reminiscent of the dangers faced by the U.S. in Iraq. TTP spokesman Tariq said the militia had started a “guerrilla war” in South Waziristan that they would continue to “fight for years.” The TTP has already started fund-raising for this long-term conflict, receiving cash for weapons, food and medicine.

Map of the Northwest Frontier Provinces and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Via BBC.

For video of the bombing at BadBher Police Station, click here CNN.

For video of the anti-Taliban offensive in South Waziristan, click here CNN.


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