Thursday, September 2, 2010

USA Offers Rewards for Location of Taliban Leaders

WASHINGTON, Sept 1: The United States on Wednesday formally added Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to its blacklist of foreign terrorist organisations subject to travel and economic sanctions.

The US State Department also offered rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the location of two Pakistani Taliban leaders, Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman.

Since becoming leader of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in August 2009, Hakimullah Mehsud has organised and directed several TTP attacks against US personnel and interests in and beyond the region, says the State Department.

He has been charged in US federal court with conspiracy to murder a US national while outside of the United States and with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction against a US national while outside of the United States. The charges stem from an FBI investigation into the Dec 30, 2009 suicide bomb attack on Forward Operating Base Chapman in Afghanistan that left seven US citizens dead.

In April 2010, Hakimullah’s operatives used an explosives-laden truck, machineguns and rocket launchers in an attack on the US Consulate in Peshawar that killed six Pakistanis and wounded 20 others.

The State Department also notes that on May 1, 2010, a Pakistani-born naturalised US citizen trained by the TTP attempted — and failed — to detonate a vehicle bomb in New York City’s Time Square.

A day after that attack, the TTP released a video claiming responsibility for the attempted bombing. On May 3, Hakimullah appeared in another video message warning that the group would launch more attacks inside the United States.

The State Department identifies Waliur Rehman as Hakimullah’s one-time rival and current second-in-command. Rehman also is the TTP’s chief military strategist. He commands TTP members in the South Waziristan region and reportedly has led several attacks against US, Nato and Pakistani forces on either side of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Rehman has aggressively recruited new fighters into the TTP terrorist network.

“Both men are believed to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of the United States and its nationals,” says the State Department.
From here.

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