On April 30, twenty-four hours before a smoking SUV Nissan containing an improvised bomb was defused among the teeming crowds of Time Square, New York, the Pakistani Taliban's top bomb-maker, Qari Hussain Mehsud he took "full responsibility for the recent attack in the USA" in an audiotape with images on a YouTube website.
On the tape, which has yet to be authenticated, Mehsud promises a "jaw-breaking blow to Satan USA." Homeland secretary Janet Napolitano termed the incident, which caused a large section of Manhattan to be evacuated, "a potential terrorist attack." US intelligence sources report they have no forensic indication of any overseas involvement, but debkafile's counter-terror sources point out that the investigation has only just begun and, anyway, no overseas signatures would be expected if the Taliban or its partner al Qaeda had recruited a local Islamist cell for the New York operation.
None were found by forensic investigators after al Qaeda attacks in London in 2005 and 2007 or in Glasgow, Scotland either. What these UK attacks have in common with the Times Square event is that they all used propane and they all failed to detonate a full-scale explosion.
The Taliban's claim was strengthened later Sunday with the release of a videotape allegedly made by
Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud on April 4, weeks after he was reported killed by a US missile strike in January, and ignored at the time. On that nine-minute tape, he vowed retaliation for the killing of Islamist leaders: "The time is very near when our fedayeen will attack the American states in the major cities."
Shortly before he was killed by a US drone in Aug. 2009, his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, claimed his movement was now able to execute operations inside the United States.
US security officials did not take this claim seriously. However the evidence against Najibullah Zazi, the Detroit taxi driver charged in February with conspiring to attack the New York subway, reveals that al Qaeda in Pakistan recruited him when he arrived their to join Taliban. The two movements' campaign of violence against the United States and US targets in Pakistan is so closely coordinated as to be virtually interchangeable.
Therefore, when Qari Hussein claimed Taliban was avenging "martyred leaders," he included Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the al Qaeda commander in Iraq killed by a joint US-Iraqi intelligence team in mid-April.
He also warned NATO governments to denounce the US and apologize for "the massacres in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistani tribal areas – otherwise be prepared for the worst destruction and devastation in their own countries."