x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Suicide squad threat by Pakistani Taliban

Pakistani Taliban has warned the nation's military that it has set up a "suicide bombers squad" to target troops if an offensive is launched in a tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

ISLAMABAD // The Pakistani Taliban yesterday warned the nation's military that it had set up a "suicide bombers squad" to target troops if an offensive is launched in a tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

In an email message sent to the media, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella militant group, said it had received "an exclusive intelligence report" about the offensive in North Waziristan from its "sources" in the army.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, a TTP spokesman, outlined details of the regiments and units and the possible commander of the campaign, said to be scheduled for launch on August 26, lasting for one month.

"TTP has also prepared itself for resistance. We have set up a suicide bombers squad to welcome (the) army," said Mr Ehsan. "We will defeat our enemy, whom is defending secular, unIslamic system of Pakistan, by punching them back hard [God willing]."

Military officials were not immediately available to comment.

On August 3, The Wall Street Journal reported Pakistani and US officials were considering joint counter-terrorism campaigns in Afghanistan and Pakistan against Haqqanis and Taliban fighters.

The report said the campaigns would mark an upturn in cooperation between the countries after more than a year of rancorous relations, since the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Pakistani officials later denied any agreement with Washington for an operation and said "routine" actions on each side of the border "should not be mistaken for 'joint operations'".

Washington has long demanded Pakistan act against the Haqqanis, which the US accused of attacking the US embassy in Kabul last September and acting like the "veritable arm" of Pakistani intelligence.

Pakistan has in turn demanded Afghan and US forces do more to stop Pakistani Taliban militants crossing the border to attack its forces. Pakistan says 35,000 of its people, including more than 3,000 soldiers, have been killed as a result of terrorism since the September 11 attacks in 2001 and the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.