Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Deputy Commander Of Taliban Vows To Complete Osama's Mission

The slaying of Osama bin Laden has given the Pakistani Taliban "new zeal" to complete the al-Qaida chief's mission of waging holy war against the West, the deputy commander of the militant group told The Associated Press.

The comments by Waliur Rehman appeared designed to deflate expectations that the extraordinary May 2 raid by U.S. Navy SEALs that killed bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad would slow down insurgent groups allied with or inspired by al-Qaida. It also could be an attempt to raise morale among the insurgents.

The Pakistani Taliban is a network of militant groups that is distinct from but linked to the Afghan Taliban.

The primary target of the Pakistani Taliban has been the Pakistan state itself, which the militants claim is essentially a slave to the United States. But the group also has been linked to plots in the West, including a Pakistani American's failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in New York's Times Square.

Rehman spoke to the AP on Monday along the border between North and South Waziristan, two lawless tribal regions where Islamist militants are strong.

"After the martyrdom of Sheik Osama, the mujahideen will continue jihad to complete his mission with a new zeal, " he said, referring to his fighters.

"We have the same target, program and mission," he added. "Our enemies are NATO, Jews and Christians."

Rehman, dressed in a traditional white Pakistani long shirt and trousers and carrying an AK-47, spoke of bin Laden in a composed manner, but also questioned some of the details that have emerged from the raid.

He said he believed bin Laden detonated a suicide jacket to avoid arrest, and that was the reason the U.S. had resisted releasing a photo of his corpse.

The White House says it will not release the photos to avoid sparking outrage and potential violence from bin Laden supporters.