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Taliban vow more attacks against Pak govt, military facilities

world Updated: Jun 03, 2011 14:46 IST

The Taliban have vowed to launch more "high-profile" attacks against government and military installations in Pakistan, saying that the terror group's aim is to force the authorities here to end their alliance with the US.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Maulana Faqir Mohammad said his group, which was earlier focussing on the war in Afghanistan, had changed its strategy and would now launch more large-scale attacks against Pakistani security forces like the one on the PNS Mehran naval airbase in Karachi and assaults that targeted border check posts in Dir region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Individual strikes by militants in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and other parts of Pakistan will continue but the "preferred option would be to mount high-profile attacks against government and military installations," Mohammad told The News daily.

Mohammad, who was deputy head of the TTP before disappearing from the scene last year amid reports that he had patched up with the government, spoke to the media after a considerable gap.

The commander "appeared determined to carry on his fight with the Pakistani state," the report said.

Mohammad's remarks marked the first time that a TTP commander has explained the group's new strategy.

"Our new strategy of launching big attacks on military installations was aimed at causing demoralisation in the ranks of the security forces and tiring out the government. We also want to limit civilian casualties. Our ultimate objective is to force the government to end its alliance with the US," Mohammad said.

Ten security personnel were killed and two US-made surveillance aircraft destroyed when a small band of heavily armed Taliban fighters attacked the PNS Mehran base in Karachi on May 22.

Separately, nearly 30 security personnel were killed after hundreds of Taliban fighters sneaked into the remote Dir region from Afghanistan and targeted security forces earlier this week.

Clashes in the region are still continuing.

Asked why the Pakistani Taliban were attacking targets within the country and killing fellow Muslims and Pakistanis, Mohammad said the Pakistani security forces first attacked them and forced them to retaliate.

"We turned our attention to Pakistan when we were attacked. Before that our attention was focused on the war in Afghanistan," he said.