M A I N   N E W S

The Taliban warns
After Lahore, it’s Washington

Lahore/Islamabad, March 31
Baitullah Mehsud, chief of the Pakistani Taliban who carries a reward of US $ 5 million (approximately Rs 50 crore) and is the most wanted man in Pakistan, today declared plans to launch an attack in Washington “ that will amaze everyone in the world”.

Claiming responsibility for the terror attack on a police academy in Lahore, barely 10 kilometres from the Indian border, Mehsud threatened to launch more strikes within Pakistan as retaliation for a series of attacks by US drones in tribal areas. The attacks in Pakistan, he said, will continue till Islamabad withdraws troops from tribal areas.

The Taliban chief, who is wanted in connection with the assassination of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, told foreign news agencies, “we will keep on taking revenge …and finally a major attack will prove to be an arrow aimed at the government.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have become a nightmare for the United States and Mehsud’s chilling warning would have added to the American discomfiture. American news agency Associated Press quoted Mehsud as stating, “ I will deal with the US. It will take some time but I will teach a lesson to the US. By the grace of Allah, we will take revenge inside the US.”

Mehsud made the claim from an undisclosed location, even as the prime suspect in the Lahore terror strike yesterday confessed that all his accomplices were from Pakistan’s tribal areas.

The Director-General of Pakistan Rangers said three more arrests had been made on the information provided by the captured militant Gul Khan alias Ishrat Khan. While reports yesterday had spoken of six terrorists having been captured alive, Pakistani authorities today claimed there were only five attackers. Three blew themselves up, one managed to escape and the fifth one was Khan.

Khan came to Lahore from Afghanistan a few months ago and carried out the attack with his fellow countrymen in connivance with local facilitators, said DIG of police, Mustaq Ahmed Sukhera. Khan and his accomplices had rented a house in Manawan to prepare for the attack, he added.

Meanwhile, a less known group called Fedayeen al-Islam also claimed responsibility for the attack on the police academy. Its spokesman Umar Farooq claimed that his group had carried out a similar attack against the Sri Lankan cricket team earlier in March.

The group also put forth similar demands as Mehsud but added one of its own. It demanded the release of Maulana Abdul Aziz, who was the cleric of Islamabad’s famous Red Mosque which was stormed by security forces under former President Pervez Musharraf’s rule.



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