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Asia-pacific

CIA bomb suspect claims revenge for death of Taliban chief

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-09

Video footage broadcast Saturday shows the suspected suicide bomber who killed seven CIA agents in Afghanistan on Dec. 30 saying the attack was planned as revenge for the death of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

 

REUTERS - The suicide bomber who killed CIA agents in Afghanistan had made a video calling on militants to avenge the death of the Pakistani Taliban leader by carrying out attacks in and outside the United States, al Jazeera said.
 
A pilotless U.S, drone aircraft strike killed Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud last year.
 
Al Jazeera reported on its website that the video was left as a message to the United States and its Arab ally Jordan by the bomber, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, in which he tells them:
 
"We say that we will never forget the blood of our Emir Baitullah Mehsud, God's mercy on him."
 
Balawi blew himself up on Dec. 30 inside Forward Operating Base Chapman, a well-fortified U.S. compound in Khost province in southeast Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan.
 
It was the second-most deadly attack in CIA history.
 
Al Jazeera quotes the former Jordanian doctor as saying it was the obligation of all of Mehsud's fighters "to retaliate for his death in the United States and outside the United States"
 
Pakistan television station AAJ showed what it said was a video of Balawi sitting with Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, and reported he shared U.S. and Jordanian state secrets with militants.
 
Hakimullah, Mehsud's successor, is leading a Taliban insurgency against Pakistan's pro-American government.
 
If the video is verified, it will point to big intelligence failures by the United States and Jordan, one of its most important Middle East allies.
 
It was not clear when or where the video was taken but the presence of Hakimullah Mehsud would suggest it was taken in Pakistan. The video is likely to focus more attention on Pakistan's efforts to wipe out militant groups along its northwest border with Afghanistan.
 
Pakistan, a front-line state in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, is likely to feel vindicated by the video which would appear to show the Pakistani Taliban were behind the attack on the CIA. They and several groups claimed responsibility for it.
 
Facing constant U.S. pressure, Pakistan has long argued that it should focus on fighting the Pakistani Taliban and can not afford to open up new fronts against Afghan Taliban factions, whose members cross the border to attack Western forces in Afghanistan.
 
‘Shared all secrets’
 
AAJ, identifying the bomber by his online name, Abu Dujana al-Khorasani, quoted him as saying he "shared all secrets of Jordanian and American intelligence with his companions".
 
"Jordanian and American intelligence had offered him millions of dollars in exchange for spying on the mujahideen (holy warriors). But he rejected wealth and joined the mujahideen," AAJ said of Balawi.
 
By showing links between the Pakistani Taliban and a Jordanian double agent, the video is likely to raise more questions about global U.S. security measures.
 
President Barack Obama took responsibility on Thursday for security failures that led to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner and ordered reforms.
 
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the attempt, one of the most serious U.S. security breaches and intelligence breakdowns since the Sept. 11 attacks.
 
"This statement (from Balawi) further enhances current concerns involving regional and affiliate arms of al-Qaeda extending their operations outside of their localised areas of operation and reaching into the continental US," said Ben Venzke, head of IntelCenter, which monitors jihadist propaganda.
 
Hakimullah Mehsud lost his main bases in his South Waziristan bastion in a Pakistani offensive launched in mid-October.
 
His whereabouts are not known but he is believed to have fled from South Waziristan to seek shelter with allies, possibly in North Waziristan.
 
Balawi appeared in the video wearing a camouflage jacket and a traditional flat Afghan hat. A black banner behind him read: "There is no God but Allah. Mohammad is the Prophet of Allah.
 
Al Qaeda's Afghan wing had claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb attack on the CIA, saying it was revenge for the deaths of militant leaders including Baitullah Mehsud.
 
Strong links between a double agent who managed to outfox the CIA and one of the Arab world's top intelligence agencies and Mehsud, would suggest Pakistan's battle against the Taliban could be far more complex.
 
"I think this man basically belongs to al Qaeda. His appearance with Hakimullah Mehsud in a video shows how al Qaeda and the Taliban are closely linked," said Mehmood Shah, former security chief of Pakistani tribal areas.  

 

Date created : 2010-01-09

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