LAHORE, Pakistan — Pakistani warlord Baitullah Mehsud threatened to attack Washington and the White House, as he claimed responsibility on Tuesday for this week’s assault on the police training academy in Lahore.
Mehsud leads the biggest faction of the Pakistani Taliban, an Islamic militia, operating in the lawless South Waziristan tribal region that borders Afghanistan. Mehsud’s violent faction is the biggest challenge to the very existence of the Pakistani state, which has been under sustained attack by the Taliban and other extremists for months.
Fighters loyal to Mehsud also cross the border to battle U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, the U.S. put a $5 million bounty on his head, describing him as a key commander of al Qaida.
The Pakistani Taliban have no known capability to stage attacks in Washington or elsewhere in the west, although al Qaida could facilitate such an operation for them, said Asad Munir, the former head of military intelligence for northwest Pakistan.