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Sunday, May 2, 2010

LWJ: Pakistani Taliban Claim "Recent Attack" in US

The Long War Journal is reporting that the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the failed attack in Times Square last night.

The claim does not make it so, but the LWJ offers some compelling reasons to think it may be legitimate. If so, this is a very interesting situation in light of the observations below, should they prove to be the culprits. I'll have more to say about that later, should the claim prove true.

An important counter-indicator is that the communique does not specify New York or Times Square, which is something between curious and suspicious. The person who posted the YouTube video may have been told to watch for an attack around this time, but may not have been told what attack to look for. That means a professional terrorist attack may still be in the works.

Also worth noting is that the message specifically cites the treatment of Aafia Siddiqi as a motive for the attack (among several other things). This may indicate an effort to win Pakistani hearts and minds -- Siddiqi's case in extremely contentious in Pakistan, where she has become something of a folk hero, depicted as a victim of America.

UPDATE: A new video of Haikimullah Mehsud, a top Pakistani Taliban leader, surfaced today to definitively refute reports of his death and to threaten attacks on the U.S. homeland within a month. That makes me increasingly uneasy that the real attack has not yet arrived. (See also this.)

Click here to see the claim of responsibility.

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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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