PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – Taliban militants on Sunday released a rare video of statements from purported suicide bombers and footage of deadly attacks they claimed to have perpetrated in Pakistan.
The 40-minute tape shows men and youths, some apparently in their teens, addressing the camera about their intention to carry out suicide attacks to background music of Urdu-language militant anthems.
The video was handed out to reporters in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), by militant commander Qari Hussain, who is based in the lawless South Waziristan tribal district that borders Afghanistan.
Hussain is also known as “Ustad-e-Fidaeen” or teacher of suicide bombers.
All those featured on the video spoke Pashto, the main language of Pashtuns living in NWFP and the tribal regions on the border with Afghanistan.
The two biggest attacks claimed on the video were a double truck bombing last March against the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) building in Lahore and bombing an office of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence in 2007.
At least 87 people, including government and security personnel, were killed in those attacks and two others also claimed on the tape.
“I’m going to do this suicide bombing with Islamic sentiments,” says someone who gave his name only as Masood and looked to be in his teens, to a backdrop of footage from the FIA attack.
“Suicide bombers are the atomic weapons of Muslims because Muslims do not have the latest weapons to fight enemies who are committing atrocities against Muslims in Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq,” Masood said.
On the video, a voice purported to be that of Hussain urges people to enlist for further suicide attacks.
“Israel, America and Pakistan’s military are committing atrocities against Muslims so jihad has become compulsory for all Muslims,” said the voice.
Another voice demanded that the Pakistani government call an immediate halt to military operations in tribal areas, release arrested militants and lift a ban on a Sunni extremist group.
Pakistan has been wracked by violence since hundreds of Taliban and Al-Qaeda rebels sought refuge in the northwestern region after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001.
Read the BBC Urdu dot com report highlighting the inseparable connection between Lashkar-e-Jhangavi/Sipah-e-Sahaba and the Taliban.