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Video Message: Suicide Bomber Wanted to Avenge Death of Taliban Leader

  • Ayaz Gul

The video shows Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi sitting next to the current commander of the Pakistani Taliban Hakimullah Mehsud. In the tape, Balawi says he intends to avenge the killing of former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

A Pakistani private television station and international networks have apparently aired Saturday the final video message of the man believed to be the suicide bomber who killed seven U.S intelligence agents in eastern Afghanistan more than a week ago. The authenticity of the video could not be confirmed.

The man in the newly released video is identified as Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, who blew himself up inside a key U.S base in an eastern Afghan region bordering Pakistan.

The video shows the Jordanian national sitting next to the current commander of the Pakistani Taliban Hakimullah Mehsud. In the tape, Balawi says he intends to avenge the killing of former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. He also claims he turned down large sums of money to defend his faith.

"The Jordanian and American intelligence services offered me millions of dollars to work with them and spy on mujahadeen here," he said. "But, Al-Hamdu Lil-lah [thank God], I came to the mujahadeen and I told them everything and we arranged together this attack to make the Americans understand that the belief of Allah, that eman [faith] which we hold, the Taqwah (pious) that we strive for cannot be exchanged for all the wealth in the world."

Intelligence officials say Balawi was a double agent, posing as a Jordanian informant but working for the al-Qaida terror network.

On December 30, he was invited for a meeting inside a U.S facility in the Afghan border province of Khost. Instead, Balawi blew himself up at the meeting, killing seven agents of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a Jordanian intelligence officer. The CIA base chief was among those killed in the attack.

Both the al-Qaida and Taliban fighters have claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, saying it was meant to avenge the deaths of their top commanders, including Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan or TTP.

Mehsud was killed in August last year when a missile fired by a suspected U.S drone targeted his hideout in Pakistan's volatile South Waziristan tribal region. His successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, appearing in Balawai's final video message is wanted by the Pakistani security forces.

A major military offensive in South Waziristan is underway and has killed hundreds of Taliban fighters but has not been able to capture or kill Hakimullah Mehsud or any of his key deputies.

Former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan, Ayaz Wazir, belongs to the Waziristan region. While questioning the authenticity of the video message he says the suicide attack inside the U.S base in Afghanistan, and the fact that the Pakistani Taliban commander Mehsud is still at large, raises questions about the counter-terrorism intelligence operations.

"If you recall a claim was made by [an] al-Qaida representative that they have done it and TTP also has made a claim that we have done it," he said. "Now this video shows this fellow [Balawi] with Hakimullah Mehsud. But anyway the significance obviously is there for both Pakistan and for America. It speaks I would say for failure on the part of intelligence agencies."

Experts in Pakistan believe the involvement of the local Taliban in the attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan could mean more pressure on Islamabad to intensify its crackdown on militants to secure the border areas.

The CIA facility was located opposite to the Waziristan tribal region and was reportedly playing a key role in gathering intelligence information to guide U.S. unmanned spy planes to launch drone strikes on al-Qaida and Afghan militants hiding on the Pakistani side of the border.

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