The AfPak Reader

September 15, 2009

Mainlining Bill Roggio – Summer 2009 – Week 7 – Volume 5

Filed under: Enemy Profiles,Predator Strikes,Summer 2009 — huntingnasrallah @ 5:55 am

Mainlining Bill Roggio – Summer 2009 – Week 7 – Volume 5

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/08/baitullah_mehsud_is.php

‘Baitullah Mehsud is alive’ – US intelligence official
By Bill Roggio
August 6, 2009 6:04 PM

Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud was not killed in yesterday’s airstrike in South Waziristan, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal.

“Baitullah is alive,” one official old The Long War Journal. “We’re aware of the reports that he might have been killed and we are looking into it, but we don’t believe he was killed.”

The late night airstrike on a compound operated by Ikramuddin Mehsud, Baitullah’s father-in-law, in the village of Zanghra in the mountains near Baitullah’s home town of Makeen, killed Baitullah’s second wife and two other Taliban fighters. One of Baitullah’s two brothers was also reported to have been killed.

Witnesses on the scene immediately said that Baitullah was not among those killed. He reportedly visited his wife but left an hour prior to the attack.

But more than one day after the US strike in South Waziristan, rumors have surfaced that Baitullah was killed in the attack. The local Taliban are said to have cordoned off the area for over 36 hours to prevent outsiders from viewing the attack site, fueling conjecture that Baitullah is dead.

Earlier today, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman speculated that Baitullah was killed.
“We suspect he was killed in the missile strike,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Geo News. “We have some information, but we don’t have material evidence to confirm it.”
Pakistan’s chief military spokesman later denied reports the strike killed Baitullah.
Later today, a US intelligence official told ABC News that “there is strong indication” Baitullah was killed.

“Efforts are under way to determine for certain whether it was Mehsud, but there are hopes that it is him,” the official told the television network.

The Taliban have not issued a statement to confirm or deny Baitullah’s death. In the past, the Taliban and al Qaeda have released martyrdom statements upon the death of their senior leaders.

Reports of senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in Pakistan have been highly unreliable. In the past, al Qaeda leaders Ayman al Zawahiri, Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, Abu Obaidullah Al Masri, Adam Gadahn, Ibn Amin, and Rashid Rauf have been reported killed in strikes, but these men later resurfaced. Similarly, Sa’ad bin Laden was recently reported killed, but he is now thought to be alive. And Abu Khabab al Masri was reported dead several times before he actually was killed in a July 2008 strike.

Pakistani Taliban leaders Mullah Nazir, Mullah Fazlullah, Faqir Mohammed, Omar Khalid, Hakeemullah Mehsud, and Qari Hussain, as well as Baitullah, have in the past all been reported killed, only to resurface later.

Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s most powerful Taliban commander

Baitullah is the leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, the unified command of scores of local Taliban fighters throughout the Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal areas abutting Afghanistan. He has also allied with North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar and South Waziristan leader Mullah Nazir to form the Council of United Mujahideen. The group has pledged its support to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and overall Taliban commander Mullah Omar, and has vowed to battle the Pakistan, US, and Afghan governments.

Based out of South Waziristan, Baitullah has become the most prominent Taliban leader in Pakistan. He commands tens of thousands of well-trained fighters, who conduct suicide and conventional attacks against Pakistani, Coalition, and Afghan forces. Since 2004, Baitullah’s fighters have defeated the Pakistani Army in several engagements. In January 2008, the Pakistani Army agreed to a cease fire after abruptly ending an operation 10 days into a battle with Baitullah. He has been implicated in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto shortly after her return from exile in late 2007.

Baitullah is closely allied with bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Al Qaeda shelters in Baitullah’s tribal areas and maintains scores of training camps and safe houses in the region.
Baitullah has openly stated his intentions to conduct attacks against the United States and the West. He “poses a clear threat to American persons and interests in the region,” the State Department said earlier this year, when it offered up to $5 million dollars for information leading to his location or capture.

Possible successors to Baitullah include his cousins Hakeemullah Mehsud and Qari Hussain Mehsud. Hakeemullah directs Taliban operations in Arakzai, Kurram, and Khyber. Qari Hussain is a military commander in South Waziristan who also trains children to become suicide bombers. Hafiz Gul Bahadar is also a candidate to take over the Pakistani Taliban in the event of Baitullah’s death.
____________________________________
Extended Notes (Roggio’s Links)
1) http://www.geo.tv/8-7-2009/47195.htm

GEO Pakistan
Mehsud killed in US missile attack: reports
Updated at: 0226 PST, Friday, August 07, 2009

ISLAMABAD: The Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Thursday that reports have reached here indicating that Taliban Chief Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a missile attack in Pakistan, a foreign news agency quoted Malik as stating.

However, no confirmation has yet to be ascertained nor any evidences have been found in this connection, agency further quoted Rehman as saying.

 

2) http://www.geo.tv/8-7-2009/47199.htm

GEO Pakistan
ISPR denies reports of Mehsud killing
Updated at: 0352 PST, Friday, August 07, 2009

ISLAMABAD: The spokesman Pakistan Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISPR) Major General Ather Waheed said the death of Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud has not been confirmed.

According to sources, ISPR spokesman said the evidences regarding the killing of Baitullah Mehsud, the Taliban commander in Pakistan, have not been ascertained.

Earlier, Interior Minister Rehman Malik was quoted by a foreign news agency as saying that Taliban chief in Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud was likely killed in pilotless US drone aircraft attack on his residence but he did not confirm the incident to happen through proper evidences.

It is worth of mention that Mehsud is wanted by Pakistani government on account of involvement in assassination of former premier Ms. Benazir Bhutto and other terrorist attacks while US government had announced reward of five million US dollars for this head. 
3) http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/International/story?id=8270116&page=1

U.S. Official: ‘Strong Indications’ Pakistani Taliban Leader Baitullah Mehsud Is Dead
U.S., Pakistani Officials Await DNA Tests for ‘100 Percent’ Confirmation
By MARTHA RADDATZ, GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS and NICK SCHIFRIN

Aug. 6, 2009

“There is strong indication” that Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a CIA drone strike that targeted a house Wednesday, a senior administration official told ABC News.

U.S. and Pakistani officials believe that a strike in South Waziristan yesterday “very likely” killed Mehsud. U.S. officials said they had visual and other “indicators” that it was Mehsud, and that there is a 95 percent chance that he is among the dead. Pakistani officials are trying to collect physical evidence to be certain.

Baitullah Mehsud is enemy number one in Pakistan. He is believed to be behind some of the most spectacular attacks in that country, including the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007 and suicide bombings in Lahore. U.S. officials consider him a grave threat and the nexus of all terror groups in Pakistan. In fact, the U.S. had a $5 million reward on his head.

If Mehsud’s death is confirmed, the Obama administration would have hit one of the most significant terrorist targets in years. Obama’s head of counterterrorism, John Brennan, said the President has made the pursuit of terrorists a priority.

“Over the past six months, we have presented President Obama with a number of actions and initiatives against al Qaeda and other terrorist groups,” said John Brennan, Obama’s head of counterterrorism.

“Not only has he approved these operations, he has encouraged us to be even more aggressive, even more proactive, and even more innovative, to seek out new ways and new opportunities for taking down these terrorists before they can kill more innocent men, women and children,” said Brennan.

The missile attack is also said to have killed at least three people, and Mehsud’s second wife is thought by U.S. and Pakistani officials to be among them.

Mehsud’s network is based in the remote region of South Waziristan, in northwest Pakistan, where the Pakistani army has little control and which the Taliban and senior members of al Qaeda consider a stronghold. The U.S. and Pakistan have been trying to track Mehsud for months.

Makeen, where Wednesday’s strike took place, is Mehsud’s birthplace and a town he is said to occasionally visit.

Increased Attacks Have Targeted Taliban Leader

The latest U.S. attack is part of the intensified efforts in the region to target and kill top Taliban leaders. The strike was at least the 29th by an unmanned American drone this year, according to an ABC News tally. Nine of the last 10 drone strikes, since June 23, have targeted Mehsud and his network.

Last month, a CIA drone strike nearly killed Mehsud when it hit a funeral he was attending. Instead, it killed 65 other people.

The Pakistani government has publicly criticized the U.S. attacks, but privately officials acknowledge that if the attacks do not kill civilians, they are helpful in defeating an insurgency embedded in some of the world’s least hospitable terrain.

Pakistan has also increased its attacks by fighter jets in the region but has steered clear of sending ground troops.

In an interview with al Jazeera in January 2008, Mehsud said he was fighting a “defensive” jihad against the West.

“Our main aim is to finish Britain, the United States and to crush the pride of the non-Muslims,” he told al Jazeera at the time. “We pray to God to give us the ability to destroy the White House, New York and London. And we have trust in God. Very soon, we will be witnessing jihad’s miracles.”

For Pakistan, the hit could have a profound effect. New commanders would undoubtedly take Mehsud’s place, if he is confirmed dead. However, his death would give Pakistan’s leaders confidence that the Taliban are not all-powerful and that the leadership can be decapitated.

The blow could also help push Pakistan’s people to confront the Taliban in their country — which the U.S. has said is crucial in defeating the terrorist network in the nuclear-armed nation.

ABC News’ Huma Khan contributed to this report.

 

4) http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/21-Feb-2009/Taliban-factions-bury-the-hatchet

Taliban factions bury the hatchet
Published: February 21, 2009

Three key groups of local Taliban in Waziristan tribal area on Friday formed an alliance after burying the hatchet, reports BBC.

These groups include Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan of Baitullah Mehsud Group, Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group and Mulla Nazir Group, BBC reported. Talking to BBC by telephone from some unknown place, Mulla Nazir Group Amir said a meeting of all the three groups was held at a remote place in Waziristan, which was attended by heads of the three estranged outfits. It was decided in the meeting that all the three groups would avoid getting involved in petty issues so that the contending forces might not find opportunity to divide Taliban, he added.

Mulla Nazir also disclosed that a 13-Member Advisory Council (Shoora) had been formed which would decide steps for the alliance according to the prevailing situation.
The Amir of the Shoora will be chosen from the 13-member body during its meeting, but he will not be a permanent Amir, he said, adding that Baitullah Mehsud, Hafiz Gul and he himself would also be members of the Shoora.

It merits mentioning that some differences between the three groups had surfaced some time back, which had been causing tensions in the area.

 

5) http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/23-Feb-2009/Taliban-rename-their-group

Taliban rename their group
By: Haji Mujtaba Khan | Published: February 23, 2009

NORTH WAZIRISTAN – Bringing an end to their internal rifts, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders have renamed their group as Shura Ittehadul Mujahideen with the purpose of striving for the supremacy of Islam and crushing infidels.

The three leading militant groups calling themselves as Taliban have circulated a single-page Urdu pamphlet in different parts of Waziristan, which confirmed that they had got united according to the wishes of Mujahideen leaders like Mullah Muhammad Omar and Sheikh Osama bin Laden.

The three leaders Hafiz Gul Bahadar, Baitullah Mehsud and Maulvi Nazir have confirmed the establishment of Shura Ittehadul Mujahideen with certain objectives. The pamphlet said the target of the Shura Ittehadul Mujahideen was to get Mujahideen united at a single platform for Jihad and stop those who were violating and crossing the limits. It said that TTP had decided to shun differences and join hands with one another. It added the TTP supported Mullah Muhammad Omar and Osama bin Laden’s struggle against Obama, Zardari and Karzai administrations.

A number of Quranic verses have been referred in the pamphlet, stressing upon Muslims to get united and join hands against non-believers.
***Compiler’s Supplemental Links***

a) http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=7939317

Near Miss: CIA Drone Almost Hits Taliban Chief in Pakistan
Strike’s Target was Baitullah Mehsud, Implicated in Murder of Benazir Bhutto
By NICK SCHIFRIN
June 26, 2009—

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A CIA drone strike earlier this week just missed the head of the Taliban in Pakistan, killing at least 65 people at a funeral he attended and damaging his personal car, according to a resident and a Pakistani intelligent agent in the area.

The strike’s target was Baitullah Mehsud, who Pakistan has blamed for the death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and dozens of other attacks across the country. Pakistan is currently preparing for a war against Mehsud in the rugged South Waziristan tribal district, and the CIA has increased its attempts to kill him in the past 6 months.

U.S. intelligence officials say they believe Mehsud is “still among the living.” But this appears to be the closest that a drone strike has come to killing Mehsud. He was attended the Tuesday funeral prayer, which lasts no more than a minute and a half, the resident of the area said. 2 missiles struck right after the prayer was finished as most of the mourners were leaving the open-air funeral.

Mehsud was in that group of mourners, but the missile appears to have hit a relatively small area where Mehsud was not standing.

“Only if it had landed 15-20 seconds before, it would have hit a lot more people and maybe” Mehsud himself, the resident said.

Mehsud had not left the village, Zangara, and his car was close enough to the explosion site that it was damaged, the resident said.

A Taliban commander named Sangin, who was close to Mehsud, was killed in the strike, the intelligence agent and the resident said.
CIA Declines to Comment on Drone Strike
The CIA declined to comment, its standard response to all questions about drone operations. The attack was the deadliest ever strike by a U.S. drone on Pakistani soil.

It was also the first time that a drone targeted a funeral, which was being held for a Taliban commander named Khwazh Wali. Wali had been killed earlier the same day in a separate drone strike, and more than 1,000 people had come to pay their respects, according to the resident.

According to an ABC News tally at least 22 missile strikes have hit targets in the tribal areas this year, a marked increase that began last summer. In 2008 there were at least 36 attacks, 32 of which after August.

Local residents, U.S. and Pakistani officials all say the strikes have become more accurate, causing fewer civilian casualties than in the past.

The targets have also expanded. Initially, the strikes were aimed at militants who posed threats to the United States or to U.S. troops in Afghanistan — mostly Arab al Qaeda leaders and Taliban commanders who sent fighters across the border.

But the strikes now routinely target Mehsud, who focuses his attacks on Pakistani targets and not American targets in Afghanistan or beyond.

Some Pakistani officials have said the strikes are like kryptonite and hamper their efforts to convince a skeptical public that the war against the Taliban is a Pakistani-led war instead of one dictated by the U.S.

Pakistan officially condemns the drone attacks and did so the day after the one that missed Mehsud.

“It has been Pakistan’s consistent position that drone attacks are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and must be stopped,” a foreign ministry press release declared. “We are in regular contact with the U.S. and our serious concerns on the recent strikes have been put across strongly.”

But that rebuke was relatively tame and arrived more than a full day after the twin drone attacks. U.S. officials say behind the scenes, Pakistan’s government quietly approves of the attacks, especially when they target Mehsud and do not cause civilian casualties.

Mehsud is Enemy Number One in Pakistan
That is because Pakistan, which is currently fighting with militants linked with Mehsud in Swat, has painted Mehsud as enemy number one. The military has announced plans to target him during a major operation in South Waziristan, though it has not said when.

Pakistani air force jets have already begun launching airstrikes in the area, and soldiers are massing right outside South Waziristan, Pakistani military official say.

In March the U.S. announced it would pay $5 million for any information leading to Mehsud’s death or capture. He has threatened to attack Washington, D.C. and has claimed credit for attacks across Pakistan far from his base along the Afghan border.

But his reach beyond the Pakistani tribal areas is thought to be based on an alliance with terror groups based in Punjab, near the border with India, and not just a product of his fighters’ ability to infiltrate cities across the country.

Pakistani officials believe Mehsud and Punjabi groups have combined to launch some of the largest terrorist attacks in Pakistani history, including last year’s bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad, the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, and the bombing of a regional spy agency office in Lahore last month.

Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures
b) http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=4151213

Pakistani Army: Unwilling or Unable?
Twice in Two Days, Militants Rout Pakistani Troops in Troubled Tribal Regions
By GRETCHEN PETERS and NICK SCHIFRIN
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 17, 2008—

For the second day in a row, Pakistani troops abandoned an army base in South Waziristan, a region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border that is a stronghold for militants. And this time, the militants didn’t even attack.

One hundred frontier troops in the Chagmalai Fort received threats from militants and apparently decided it was a better idea to flee than to stay and defend themselves, an intelligence source and local residents told ABC News. The fort was filled with heavy weaponry, including artillery guns and rocket propelled grenades.

“They’ve abandoned the place,” Abid, who lives in the area, told ABC News as helicopters circled overhead. “They’ve made so many blockades, we can’t even get food, and we only have three to four rations left.”

The abandonment comes one day after 22 soldiers were killed by as many as 600 militants who overran the nearby Sararogha fort. It was one of the first times that militants have forcibly captured an army fort, representing an embarrassing defeat for the government and the Pakistani military.

The militants’ victories are more evidence that the pro-Taliban insurgency is growing in Pakistan’s tribal areas, and what little confidence there once was in the Pakistani military to fight back is virtually gone.

The military, analysts say, is unable — or at least unwilling — to stand up against the Taliban and its allies in the tribal areas, an area the size of Luxemburg along the border with Afghanistan. And the militants have managed to stop their infighting and unite themselves under the title of Taliban Movement of Pakistan.

“This group has decided that they will collectively respond to any military operation by the Pakistani authorities and they were demanding an end to the military operations by the Pakistan army in Waziristan, Swat and other areas,” says Rahimullah Yusufzai, an ABC consultant who has covered the Taliban since its inception. “And they also gave a threat.
That if these military operations were not stopped, then they would react: They would launch more attacks in Pakistan.”

In a secret meeting held last month in South Waziristan, delegates from more than 26 militant groups joined forces and chose a man named Baitullah Mehsud as their leader, tribal sources told ABC News.

Mehsud, also known as the emir of South Waziristan, is described as a brutal and able leader who commands thousands of fighters. He is, for Pakistan, more dangerous than Osama bin Laden.

“He seems to have a large reservoir of suicide bombers, and he is a bigger threat in this region — in Pakistan and certain border provinces of Afghanistan — than even the al Qaeda leadership,” Yusufzai said.

His attacks are getting more sophisticated. Militant groups from North and South Waziristan, who had never worked together before are now coordinating. Yusufzai called Mehsud’s operational capabilites “remarkable.”

“He’s able to target the precise unit or department or organization, which is involved in military operations against him or his allies,” Yusufzai said. “He’s able to hit any place, any where, any time.”

Although the militants never take responsibility for suicide attacks, which are now almost a daily event in Pakistan, analysts do link moves made by the military against Islamic radicals in the cities and in the frontier agencies with some 400 attacks in the last year. The targets are mostly police and soldiers, but civilians have died as well.

“They see an enemy at home,” Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Daniel Markey said of the militants. “The apparatus of the Pakistani state has turned from their protector and their supplier to an enemy, or at least an authority that is not theirs.”

Pakistan is in the middle of its most violent nine months since $10 billion flowed here from the United States. It is, by some measures, the most violent period in Pakistani history, since it was born out of British India in 1947.

Since the government cracked down on heavily armed militants holed up in an Islamabad mosque last summer, there have been some 400 attacks, killing at least 3,000 people. In October, Osama bin Laden issued a fatwa against Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, saying his “loyalty, submissiveness and aid” to the United States “makes armed rebellion against him and removing him obligatory.”

The violence has gotten worse lately. In just the last week, three suicide bombs have exploded in three of the country’s largest cities, killing more than 30 people, about half of them police officers.

The U.S. government has taken notice. The New York Times reported that the White House was considering authorizing the CIA to launch more attacks inside Paksitan near the border areas, where bin Laden and al Qaeda’s leadership are believed to be hiding.

And last month in widely reported comments, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that al Qaeda had shifted its focus from Afghanistan to Pakistan and “re-established itself” along the ungoverned border.

“Al Qaeda right now seems to have turned its face toward Pakistan and attacks on the Pakistani government and Pakistan people,” Gates told reporters at the Pentagon.

The Pakistani government blames militants and specifically Mehsud for at least 21 suicide attacks in the last few months, most notably the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The Musharraf administration released an audio tape it claimed included Mehsud calling Bhutto’s two assassins “brave boys.”

Mehsud’s spokesman denied that he was involved in Bhutto’s death, calling the audio tape a “drama.”

“He had no involvement in this attack,” Maulana Omar told wire services over the phone. “This is a conspiracy of the government, army and intelligence agencies. It is against tribal tradition and custom to attack a woman.”

But it is clear that Mehsud is targeting Pakistan’s institutions, more specifically and more successfully than ever before.

“It’s not just that they are carrying out regular attacks,” a Western official told ABC News. “It is that they are able to target the Pakistan military so effectively.”

The attacks have been especially successful against the outgunned and outmanned Pakistani troops near the border with Afghanistan.

“The frontier corps isn’t prepared for this mission in the least. They’d be stupid not to run away sometimes, because the alternative is much worse. And they’re neither trained nor equipped to stand up against these kinds of attacks,” Markey said. “The militants have lived there their whole lives. The Pakistani army are just imports. They’re like the red coats of the Revolutionary War.”

Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4199754&page=1

http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=4199754

c) More Dangerous Than Osama
Militant Leader Claims He Is Fighting a ‘Defensive’ Jihad to Destroy the White House
By NICK SCHIFRIN
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Jan. 28, 2008—

He is more dangerous to Pakistan than Osama bin Laden, analysts say. He may be the single most important person in Pakistan’s fight for its future. And for the first time, he has described the goals and the details of the network of militants responsible for the most violent time in Pakistan in 60 years.

During a 25-minute sit-down with al Jazeera, Baitullah Mehsud, the man Pakistan blames for killing former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, claims he is fighting a “defensive” jihad with the goal to destroy the White House, New York and London.

“Our main aim is to finish Britain, the United States and to crush the pride of the non-Muslims,” he told Admad Zaidan, al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Islamabad from an undisclosed location in northwest Pakistan. “We pray to God to give us the ability to destroy the White House, New York and London. And we have trust in God. Very soon, we will be witnessing jihad’s miracles.”

In his first ever television interview, Mehsud also called Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf a tool of President George Bush and says he isn’t interested in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Mehsud was recently chosen as the leader of a militant coalition known as the “Taliban Movement of Pakistan,” a collection of 26 groups that have come together to battle the Pakistani army and, he claimed in the interview, fight the United States and Britain on their home soil.

The interview takes place in the mountains. Mehsud’s face is obscured, but you can see his long jet-black hair and you get the sense that he is quite tall. He has been described by Pakistani authorities as a brutal and able leader.

The government here accused him of orchestrating Bhutto’s assassination and, not long after she died, released an audiotape in which a voice praises “brave boys” for accomplishing a “mission.” Through a spokesman, Mehsud has denied to local media that he was involved in Bhutto’s death.

But Musharraf has publicly pointed to Mehsud as one of the leading militants behind the spate of violence that has hit Pakistan in the last year. Almost 60 suicide attacks killed more than 3,000 people in 2007, the most violent span since 9/11 and, depending on how it’s measured, the most violent time since Pakistan was created in 1947.

Mehsud saves his most pointed critiques for Pakistan’s president.

“Musharraf is no more than a slave to Bush and the non-believers. Musharraf is no more than a follower to his masters,” says Mehsud, who is known as the emir of South Waziristan. “He started attacking mosques, killing women, children, the elderly inside the mosques. What was pushing him to do this was his will to satisfy Bush. But now we are saying that Musharraf has committed crimes against Muslims and he has destroyed mosques — and our response will be much harder than his acts. We will be teaching him a lesson which history will write with gold& God willing, Musharraf will be in severe pain. And all those who assisted him will also be in pain.”

Militants in northwest Pakistan have increased their attacks against the Pakistani military in recent months. They have won battles for isolated forts throughout the region, killing frontier corps soldiers, sometimes by beheading them. Earlier in January, a group of frontier troops fled their fort before the militants could even attack.

“The main objective of this coalition is ‘defensive’ jihad,” Mehsud says. “The Pakistan army is deploying its soldiers here in response to orders from Bush. The army is bombarding our houses and fighting with us. Therefore we have formed this coalition to guarantee the safety of civilians&This war which the army launched in the tribal areas is an American war.”

He continues, “We never feel sad about [Pakistani soldiers’] deaths. They are implementing the orders of the West and the United States, and they are destroying our houses. And I do pray that Allah will guide them back to the right path because they are Muslims and this is an Islamic country. But when the army soldiers come to this area to kill us, we will definitely be killing them.”

Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures

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