Taliban leader vows renewed attacks

Video shows Jalaluddin Haqqani, a commander once believed dead.

    Haqqani's group claimed responsibility for an attack in January on Kabul's only luxury hotel [EPA]

    "It was our tactical plan to fade away and prepare for a guerrilla war."
     
    He added: "We will defeat [George] Bush [the US president] and continue our jihad until doomsday."
     
    Seven-year silence
     
    Because he remained silent for seven years, many had assumed Haqqani was dead and rumours to that effect had circulated in the international media.
     
    Haqqani is the head of the Taliban in south eastern Afghanistan, along the border area with Pakistan's North and South Waziristan.
     
    Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Pakistan, said the video had prompted serious concern among Pakistani authorities, seen as allies to Washington in its fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
     
    "This is a senior Taliban commander, in the past seven-and-a-half years nobody has seen him, now he's promising an intensified campaign that is likely to have its effects on the Pakistani tribal areas [the Waziristan region]," said Hyder.
     
    Attacks increase
     
    Meanwhile, Nato officials said that a bomb blew up a military vehicle and killed two soldiers with the US-led coalition in the southern province of Kandahar on Friday.
     
    More than 30 international soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this year, most of them by the Taliban.
     
    The Afghan interior ministry also announced that security forces had killed three Taliban "commanders" and two of their bodyguards in operations in the southern province of Uruzgan late last week.
     
    It did not identify the "commanders".
     
    General Mohammad Ayob Salangi, the police chief of the northern province of Kunduz, said a commander of the highway police in the northern province of Kunduz was shot dead in an ambush late Friday.
     
    He blamed the Taliban.
     
    Military "brains"
     
    Haqqani is one of the most well known Taliban leaders and is believed to be the brains behind the the group's current attacks on US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
     
    "He is very well respected in his home province of Paktia [in Afghanistan]. In fact, Haqqani was the man who started the campaign after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan," said Hyder.
     
    Haqqani's three sons are known to help lead his network of fighters, including Taliban and foreign fighters associated with al-Qaeda.
     
    The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the past, including one on a luxury hotel in Kabul, the Afghan capital, in January which killed seven people.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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