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Taliban slam 'ideological war' in Mali

- February 03, 2013 - Updated 1757 PKT - From Web Edition

PESHAWAR: The Pakistani Taliban urged the Muslim world to unite in a video message released Sunday as they condemned the French military intervention in Mali as an "ideological war".

French President Francois Hollande visited Mali on Saturday and vowed his troops would stay as long as necessary to continue the fight against Islamist rebels who had taken control of the country's north for 10 months.

An offensive led by French troops has driven rebels from all but one of

Mali's major towns, but there are fears the Islamists will now wage a guerrilla campaign from the sparsely populated north.

In a video message handed out to journalists in northwest Pakistan,

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan condemned the French intervention, which has had logistical support from other Western countries.

"The French government has attacked mujahedeen in Mali and America has also agreed to support France. I ask the whole Muslim world to unite because it is an ideological war," Ehsan said.

He said the forces of "non-believers" were united and urged Muslims to come together.

"If America is supporting France on an ideological basis then in same way all Muslims should unite and support one another."

The TTP has waged a bloody campaign against the Pakistani state in recent years and the last two months have seen a notable increase in attacks on military posts and personnel.

The group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on Saturday that

killed at least 24 people at a military checkpost near Pakistan's

semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt where militants have carved out strongholds.

In December TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who has a $5 million US

government bounty on his head, said the group was open to peace talks but poured scorn on the idea of his men giving up their weapons.

Ehsan repeated the conditional offer of negotiations with Islamabad.

But he said they could only go ahead if certain politicians, including

Nawaz Sharif, who leads leader of the main opposition party, the PML-N, acted as guarantors.

"We do not trust the Pakistan army, it has always broken past agreements, even agreements we made with politicians," Ehsan said in the seven-and-a-half minute video, in which he appeared flanked by armed masked men.

"We need solid guarantors who can assure us about the army, because the army is the real power in Pakistan."

He said the TTP needed assurances from Nawaz and the leaders of the two largest religious parties -- Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl, led by Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman and Jamaat-e-Islami, headed by Munawar Hassan.

Reader Comments
If you work for the US and declare war on taliban(Islam) then they have to defend themselves/retaliate if they can.Mush and Bush started this war against Islam.Look at Pakistan's role from day ONE ie 9/11.How can you blame Taliban.Blame your ANP,PPP,MQM,PML and your other corrupt rulers with Mush at the top of the list who even ordered to attack the LAL MASJID (House of God).Their religion is money,money and money.Hypocrites are worst than devil.Stop drone attacks and military operations.

Concerned citizen
United Kingdom
The Pakistani Talibans have been killing moslems relentlessly since long time. Have they become moslems now? or fooling every body else? All moslems are killing other moslems to go to jannat. What kind of fake moslems, they are going to call them selves.

m. a
Make no mistake about this, its a war against Islam by the Christians of the world. Its a war for there resources, masqurading as war against Islamist. Rise and let the struggle go on.

Nadeem Irani
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