Us Taking Pakistan Taliban Leaders Threat Seriously

04.02.09 | FL News Team

American military officials are not taking a threat issued earlier this week by one of Pakistan's most notorious militant commanders lightly. On Tuesday, Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud suggested Washington D.C. might be attacked in retaliation for the U.S. offering a five-million-dollar bounty for information leading to his location or arrest.

Most analysts believe Mehsud himself is incapable of carrying out a strike on the United States. Instead, retired Brigadier Mehmood Shah, who was once chief of security for Pakistan's northwest tribal region, says it is possible Mehsud is speaking on behalf of al-Qaeda.

U.S. Central Command leader General David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday that officials were trying to determine whether Mehsud's statement was a credible threat. 

High-profile attacks believed to be orchestrated by Mehsud have helped him build close ties with Osama bin Laden's terror organization. The fear is that Mehsud could use his alliance with al-Qaeda to get the global network to launch an attack on the U.S. capital.

Mehsud is blamed for attacks on Western forces throughout the region and is believed to have been behind the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He issued his latest threat against the United States while taking responsibility for a Monday massacre at a police training center in eastern Pakistan that left eight cadets dead.