EXCLUSIVE: Taliban Commander Says U.S. Troops are Being Targeted


"Mullah Muhammad Omar and Sheikh Osama bin Laden gave to all Muslims, especially to the mujahedeen, the chance to fight collectively against the enemy of Muslims and to defeat their cronies such as [U.S. President Barack] Obama, [Pakistani President Asif Ali] Zardari, and [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai," says the announcement, a copy of which was obtained by ABC News. "The enemy has united against the Muslims, especially against the mujahedeen, in the leadership of America headed by President Obama. Therefore we mujahedeen too should shun our differences and work for… the defeat of the infidels."

The alliance comes at the worst possible time for the United States. Attacks in the two eastern Afghanistan provinces across from Waziristan -- Patika and Khost -- are up 91 and 90 percent respectively, according to stats provided to ABC News by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, though most of the rise is due to an increased number of soldiers initiating attacks against the Taliban.

Taliban Movement in Pakistan

Nazir and Bahadur lead fighters from the Wazir tribe in South and North Waziristan, respectively, and much of their animosity with Mehsud comes from their differences with the Mehsud tribe.

Mehsud's notoriety soared in December 2007, when he created the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or Taliban Movement in Pakistan. Soon thereafter, Pakistani and U.S. authorities accused him or orchestrating the attack that killed former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

At one point Bahadur joined Mehsud, but the two had a falling out, according to Jane's Terrorism and Security Monitor. Nazir never joined Mehsud, and some of the Uzbek fighters that Mehsud was sheltering fought with Nazir as early as April, 2007.

At one point Nazir was once dubbed a "pro government" Taliban leader for his attacks on Mehsud's fighters. But Pakistani analysts say that unmanned CIA drone strikes in Waziristan -- and reported support for them by the Pakistani government -- have helped alienate Nazir from the Pakistani authorities, helping push him toward the alliance.

The alliance also gives Mehsud access to the Afghanistan border for the first time -- both Nazir and Bahadur's land is between Mehsud's territory and the border.

But despite the potency of such an alliance, there is no indication that the Pakistani military has any intention to try and confront it.

There is an unwritten agreement between the Taliban and the military not to attack each other in Waziristan, according to the provincial government that oversees Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province.

"There was certain pressure on us to accept the agreement in Waziristan between the militants, led by Baitullah Mehsud, and the military," said Bushra Gohar, senior vice president in the Awami National Party. "The agreement was … that they will not operate inside Pakistan, but they would be free to operate outside, anywhere."

Gohar says the agreement was made in early 2008, but state patronage of Taliban training camps has existed for much longer than that, despite claims to the contrary by Pakistani authorities.

"When Pakistan says militants' training camps are going to be closed, then we must mean that we're going to close those camps," she said. "And for the past 8 to 10 years we've all seen that those camps have received state patronage. So this duplicity of policy needs to come to an end."

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