Pakistan Taliban demand release of bin Laden's widows, threaten attacks

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan Fri Mar 9, 2012 8:22am EST

Resident boy Adeel, 8, plays with a tennis ball in front of the compound where U.S. Navy SEAL commandos reportedly killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad May 5, 2011. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Resident boy Adeel, 8, plays with a tennis ball in front of the compound where U.S. Navy SEAL commandos reportedly killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad May 5, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro

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DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Pakistan Taliban will attack government, police and military officials if three of the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's widows are not released from Pakistani custody, a spokesman for the militant group said on Friday.

Pakistan's government has charged bin Laden's three widows with illegally entering and staying in the country, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Thursday.

"If the family of Osama bin Laden is not released as soon as possible, we will attack the judges, the lawyers and the security officials involved in their trial," Ehsanullah Ehsan of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) told Reuters.

"We will carry out suicide bombings against security forces and the government across the country."

Malik did not specify which court was dealing with the case. The three women will have to stand trial, but it was not clear what punishment they face if convicted.

Bin Laden was killed in a secret U.S. raid in the northern Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad in May last year.

The al Qaeda leader's body was flown out by American special forces, but his three wives and an undisclosed number of children were among the 16 people detained by Pakistani authorities after the raid.

Two of the wives are Saudi nationals, and one is from Yemen, according to the Pakistani foreign ministry.

Pakistan had previously said that it would repatriate the women after a government commission probing the bin Laden raid had completed its questioning.

The commission has interviewed the family members for clues about how the al Qaeda chief managed to stay in the country undetected.

The TTP vowed revenge after bin Laden's death last year, and carried out high-profile attacks across Pakistan. It bombed an American consulate convoy, laid siege to a naval base and killed paramilitary cadets.

Formed in 2007, the TTP is an umbrella group of various Pakistani militant factions operating in Pakistan's unruly northwestern tribal areas along the porous border with Afghanistan.

TTP's spokesman also threatened attacks against Shad Begum, a women's rights activist based in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The U.S. State Department honored Begum with the 2012 International Women of Courage award at a ceremony in Washington on Thursday.

"She works for a secular and infidel system in Pakistan," Ehsan said. "That is why America has given her this prize."

(Writing by Qasim Nauman; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Daniel Magnowski)

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Comments (6)
stubbleduck wrote:
The USA will give the taliban a prize too. Just stick your head up long enough for a drone to see you. Smile and wait for the flash

Mar 09, 2012 1:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Pullum wrote:
Let the Afghans and the Pakis fight. Both are duplicious, corrupt, and inept. Neither warrant another drop of American blood nor a borrowed dollar.

Mar 09, 2012 1:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
yrbmegr wrote:
I’m surprised Pakistan hasn’t released them already.

Mar 09, 2012 2:11pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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