ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani Taliban on Monday warned the country’s military it had set up a “suicide bombers squad” to hit troops if an offensive is launched in a restive tribal area bordering Afghanistan.
In an email message sent to media, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella militant group, said it had received “an exclusive intelligence report” about the offensive in North Waziristan from its “sources” in army headquarters. TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan outlined details about the regiments and units and the possible commander for the campaign, said to be launched on August 26 for one month. “TTP has also prepared itself for resistance, we have set up a suicide bombers squad to welcome (the) army. We will defeat our enemy, whom is defending secular, unIslamic system of Pakistan by punching them back hard InshaAllah (God willing),” Ehsan said.
Military officials were not immediately available to comment on the claim. On August 3, The Wall Street Journal reported Pakistani and US officials were considering joint counter-terrorism campaigns in Afghanistan and Pakistan against Haqqanis and Taliban fighters. The report said the campaigns would mark an upturn in cooperation between the two countries after more than a year of rancorous relations, since the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Pakistani officials later denied any agreement with Washington for a joint operation in North Waziristan, and said “routine” actions on each side of the border “should not be mistaken for ‘joint operations’”.
Washington has long demanded Pakistan take action against the Haqqanis, which the United States accused of attacking the US embassy in Kabul last September and acting like the “veritable arm” of Pakistani intelligence. Pakistan has in turn demanded Afghan and US forces do more to stop Pakistani Taliban militants crossing the border to launch attacks on its forces. Pakistan says 35,000 of its people, including more than 3,000 soldiers, have been killed as a result of terrorism since the 9/11 attacks and the US-led invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan. -Dawn