PESHAWAR: The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility in a video released on Sunday for the attempted car bomb attack in New York City's Times Square.
Despite the claim of responsibility, New York City's police commissioner said there was no evidence of a Taliban link to the failed car bomb.
In the 1 minute, 11 second video allegedly released by the Pakistani Taliban, the group says the attack is revenge for the death of its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, and the recent slayings of leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq – Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri – killed by US and Iraqi troops last month north of Baghdad.
An unidentified speaker on the tape also says the attack comes in response to American “interference and terrorism in Muslim Countries, especially in Pakistan,” and cites US missile attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas that have targeted Taliban leaders hiding there.
If the claim of responsibility is genuine, it would be the first time the group has struck outside of South Asia. It has no known global infrastructure like al-Qaida.
In at least one past instance, the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for an attack it played no role in.
The claim, which was posted on militant websites and uncovered by the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, could not be immediately confirmed.
The tape makes no specific reference to Saturday's failed attack in New York; it does not mention that it was a car bomb or where the attack took place.
At the start of the video, a text in gold letters on a black background celebrates the “jawbreaking blow to Satan's USA.”
As the speaker delivers the message, images of the purported slain militants referred to flash across the screen. English subtitles are provided at the bottom of the screen.
The video also includes a 2008 still of alleged al-Qaida female associate Aafia Siddiqui seen in the custody of Counter Terrorism Department of Ghazni province in Ghazni City, Afghanistan.
Siddiqui was accused of grabbing a US Army officer's rifle in Afghanistan in July 2008 and firing at US soldiers and FBI agents.
The voice also calls on NATO countries to oppose “evil US policies” and “sincerely apologise for the massacres in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistani tribal areas.”
The video was uncovered Sunday by SITE, which monitors militant websites.
The claim came a day after police in New York found a potentially powerful car bomb that apparently began to detonate but did not explode in a smoking sport utility vehicle in Times Square.
Thousands of tourists were cleared from the streets for 10 hours after two vendors alerted police to the suspicious vehicle, which contained three propane tanks, fireworks, two filled 5-gallon gasoline containers, and two clocks with batteries, electrical wire and other components, officials said.
The Pakistani Taliban is one of Pakistan's largest and deadliest militant groups. It has strong links to al-Qaida and is based in the northwest close to the Afghan border.
The group has carried out scores of bloody attacks inside Pakistan in recent years, mostly against Pakistani targets, but it has made no secret of its stance against the United States.
Last year, its then commander, Baitullah Mehsud, vowed to “amaze everyone in the world” with an attack on Washington or even the White House. But Mehsud also reportedly said his men were behind a mass shooting in March 2009 at the American Civic Association in Binghamton in April 2009. That claim turned out to be false. AGENCIES