The United States has a $5 million dollar reward for the capture of Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistani Taliban leader. Mehsud has recently threatened attacks against Washington, DC.
The United States has “repeatedly tried to kill Mehsud with drone attacks” and Mehsud “has developed close ties with al Qaeda” according to the Washington Post. The FBI has alerted American police officers nationwide to be “vigilant for attacks connected with Mehsud” notes the Washington Post.
Baitullah Mehsud, head of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), contacted Reuters via phone and announced responsibility for the attack on a police academy in Lahore according to Reuters. In this attack reports state eight to possibly even 30 people were killed. The siege of the police academy lasted eight hours.
Reuters states that the Tehrik-e-Taliban is “a loose alliance of about 13 Islamist groups based in Pakistan’s northwest on the Afghan border.” Mehsud is believed by Pakisan’s intelligence officials to be mastermind of the attacks in Pakistan in recent years.
The Pakistan government named Mehsud as “prime suspect in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto… in December, 2007”; the CIA also notes evidence of Mehsud’s involvement in the assassination according to Reuters.
The Los Angeles Times describes Baitullah Mehsud, head of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan as “in his late 30s or early 40s, educated only until age 12, unschooled except in Koranic studies, short and shaggy haired, with a variety of health problems, including diabetes.” He is also described as “a clever tactician, cool and calculating in his approach” notes the Los Angeles Times.
The Pakistan Observer states “Since July 2007, 21 terrorist attacks have taken place in Pakistan.” The attacks are described as “well-coordinated attacks with meticulous planning.” March has been a month of much anguish for Pakistan; The visiting Sri Lanka cricket team, was attacked and six policemen and 1 bus driver were killed. The attack on a mosque in Khyber agency by a suicide bomber killed 76 people.
The Pakistan Observer states the attack on the police academy in Lahore was “clearly a response …to unveiling of new Afghan strategy by US President, Barrack Obama, who stressed Pakistan’s key role in the stability of Afghanistan, and also “a direct retaliation to President Asif Ali Zardari’s plans to raise a 20,000 police force.”
The world watches closely as Pakistan struggles with attacks by the Taliban and other terrorist groups. As the Taliban gains more power in Pakistan, the world is dismayed at reports of schools for girls being bombed and the ongoing chaos caused by suicide bombers at police stations and mosques.
President Barack Obama has announced an AfPak plan to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As his administration settles into control of America he has many challenges ahead, including the recent Taliban attacks in Pakistan that threaten to destabilize Pakistan and may also portend future Taliban attacks on America.
http://pakobserver.net/200904/01/Articles03.asp (Pakistan Observer)