The Pakistani Taliban released a video – apparently dated early April – of their leader promising an attack on major US cities “in some days or a month”, a monitoring group said today.
The video is the second message purportedly from the militant network that has been discovered following the attempted car bombing in New York City.
It does not specifically mention that attack.
Militant chief Hakimullah Mehsud says he is speaking on April 4 of this year, which would bolster recent reports that he did not die in a US missile strike in January.
IntelCenter, which keeps track of militant media messages, said the nearly nine-minute video appeared credible.
Mehsud promises that "God willing, very soon in some days or a month's time, the Muslim (community) will see the fruits of most successful attacks of our fedayeen in USA".
Fedayeen usually refers to suicide bombers, which the car bomb attempt in New York did not involve.
The video follows a second, shorter clip in which the group appears to claim responsibility for the attempted car bomb, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, another monitoring organisation.
In the one minute, 11 second video allegedly released by the Pakistani Taliban, the militant group says the attack is revenge for the death of its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, and the recent killing of al-Qaida in Iraq leaders Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who were killed by US and Iraqi troops last month north of Baghdad.
SITE, a US-based terrorist tracking organisation, first uncovered the video on YouTube. The tape, which later appeared to have been removed from the website, makes no specific reference to the attack in New York, nor does it mention that the location or that it was a car bomb.
New York City’s police commissioner said there is no evidence of a Taliban link to the failed car bomb.
In a copy of the tape provided by SITE, an unidentified voice speaking in Urdu, the primary language in Pakistan, says the group takes “full responsibility for the recent attack in the USA”.
The speaker says it comes in response to American “interference and terrorism in Muslim Countries, especially in Pakistan for (the) Lalmasjid operation”, a reference to the Pakistani army’s 2007 storming of the Red Mosque in Islamabad where militants were holed up inside.
The claim could not be immediately verified, but if it turns out to be genuine, it would be the first time the Pakistani Taliban has struck outside south Asia. In at least one past instance, the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for an attack it played no role in.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs declined to comment on the claim.
“I’m not going to get into assumptions about who might be involved or what their motives might be,” he said on Air Force One as President Barack Obama flew to New Orleans.