Taliban threatens suicide attacks in Pakistan

August 6th, 2008 - 3:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Aug 6 (IANS) Tribal Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud has threatened to launch suicide attacks across Pakistan if the army does not cease operations against its cadres in the Swat Valley in the country’s restive North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Mehsud heads the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a conglomerate of militant organisations operating in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan and settled districts of NWFP.

Addressing a news conference at Inayat Kalley town in the NWFP’s Bajaur Agency Tuesday, TTP deputy leader Maulana Faqir Mohammad and spokesperson Maulvi Omar threatened to launch suicide attacks in Pakistan’s major cities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar “if what they termed the killing of their fellow fighters was not stopped forthwith in Swat”, The News reported Wednesday.

TTP vice chief Faqir Mohammad said that at a meeting chaired by Mehsud, it had been decided to launch countrywide suicide attacks on government installations if the Swat operation was not halted.

“Our deadline has already expired but again we wanted to give a final deadline to the government to stop the operation or face the consequences,” Faqir warned.

Faqir leads the tribal militants in the Bajaur Agency, where they have set up their own Islamic courts for settling disputes.

Talking to The News on the telephone from the militant-controlled Mamond town in the Bajaur Agency, Maulvi Omar said the TTP had put together a squad of suicide bombers aged 15-20 that would be sent to major cities for carrying out suicide attacks on government and military installations.

Omar also claimed that women had been included in these suicide squads.

“A large number of women have been approaching us for the past few years and consistently asking to be given an opportunity to sacrifice their lives for a noble cause,” Omar claimed.

“Earlier, our focus was on preparing more women suicide bombers but we had to stop that on Baitullah’s directive as the number of women suicide bombers exceeded that of men,” he added.

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