Pak Taliban warns of attack if ops launched in N Waziristan

Islamabad: The Pakistani Taliban today warned that it would use a team of bombers to target troops if an operation is launched against militants in the restive North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

In a statement emailed to the media, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said his organisation had learnt that the Pakistan Army had drawn up plans for an operation in North Waziristan Agency in the near future.

The Taliban are prepared to mount a fitting response to any operations, Ihsan said. "TTP has also prepared itself for resistance, we have set up a suicide bombers squad to welcome the army. We will defeat our enemy, who is defending the secular and un-Islamic system of Pakistan by (hitting) them back hard," Ihsan said.

Ihsan further claimed that his group had received an "exclusive" intelligence report about the operation in North Waziristan from "sources" in the army headquarters.

He gave details about the regiments and units and that would participate in the campaign, which he said would be launched on August 26 and would last one month. There was no official word on the Taliban`s claims.

The US has been pushing Pakistan to act against Taliban and Al Qaeda elements in North Waziristan for a long time.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently claimed Pakistan was preparing an operation against the Taliban in North Waziristan.

However, Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said last week that his forces will undertake an operation in North Waziristan at a timeframe of our choosing and determined only by our political and military requirements. No operation will be launched due to `outside pressure`, he said.

The Western media had recently reported that Pakistani and US officials were considering joint counter-terrorism campaigns in Afghanistan and Pakistan against the Haqqani network and Taliban fighters in North Waziristan.

The Pakistan Army denied any agreement with the US for a joint operation and said "routine" actions on both sides of the border should not be mistaken for joint operations.