Profile: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
Campaign Against the U.S.
Posted: October 25, 2010
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has carried out numerous attacks against American interests in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In recent months, the terrorist organization has not only attempted to carry out a terror attack in New York, but has also warned that it has placed additional operatives, poised to launch terror attacks, in the U.S.
TTP orchestrated the May 2010 attempted bombing in Times Square in which Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, attempted to detonate his explosives-laden car at an intersection heavily populated with tourists and pedestrian traffic. Shahzad told federal authorities that he had previously received bomb-making training from TTP in Waziristan, an Al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold which serves as a center for launching attacks against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. While in Pakistan, Shahzad was reportedly introduced to Qari Hussain, commander of TTP who trains suicide bombers, and made a "pact" with his trainers to "wage an attack inside the United States of America."
TTP claimed responsibility for the failed Times Square bombing in a series of videos released by Umer Studio, TTP's media wing. "From now on, THE MAIN TARGETS of our FIDAEEN [commandos] are AMERICAN CITIES," TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud warned in one of the videos. "Today on-wards, the direction of our JEHAD is AMERICAN States & Cities." Mehsud and Shahzad also appeared together in another video, recorded in Pakistan prior to the attempted bombing, in which they threaten that "we are planning to wage an attack on your side."
The attempted Times Square bombing, which marked the first time TTP attempted to launch an attack on U.S. soil, was preceded by several TTP attacks against American targets in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A month before the attempted attack on Times Square, TTP operatives carried out a suicide bombing at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing six Pakistani citizens.
In December 2009, Jordanian physician Human Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi (also known as Abu Dujanah al-Khorasani), under Mehsud's leadership, carried out a suicide bombing at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. Seven American citizens – including several CIA officers and analysts – were killed in the attack, and six other Americans were injured.
Following the attack, Umer Studios released a video featuring Hakimullah Mehsud and al-Balawi posthumously. The men, seated together, claimed the bombing was a revenge attack for the death of Beitullah Mehsud, the former TTP leader who was reportedly killed in a drone attack in August 2009. "We will always demand revenge for him inside America and outside," al-Balawi threatened. The U.S. government has since charged Hakimullah Mehsud for his alleged involvement in the attack.
TTP gunmen were also responsible for the November 2008 killing of Stefan Vance, an American citizen and USAID worker stationed in Peshawar, which borders the trial districts. The assassination came shortly after the Pakistani government banned TTP and froze its bank accounts, to which the terror group responded by increasing attacks against foreign aid workers, journalists and diplomats.