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ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani Taliban promise future attacks on major U.S. cities and appear to claim responsibility for an attempted car bombing in New York in three separate videos that surfaced after the weekend scare, monitoring groups said Monday.
U.S. authorities have played down the potential connection between the Pakistani militant network and the car bomb attempt in New York's Times Square, saying the group does not have the global infrastructure to carry out such a strike. However, the Pakistani Taliban is allied with militant networks such as al-Qaida, which could aid in expanding its reach.
Two of the videos feature Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, providing the strongest evidence to date that he survived a U.S. missile strike in January.
The most substantial of the militant videos is nearly nine minutes long, according to IntelCenter, a U.S.-based group that monitors militant media. In it, Mehsud does not specifically mention New York, but says he is speaking on April 4 of this year, and promises that, "(God willing), very soon in some days or a month's time, the Muslim (community) will see the fruits of most successful attacks of our fedayeen in USA."
"Fedayeen" usually refers to suicide bombers, which the car bomb attempt in New York did not involve.
Mehsud also refutes earlier Pakistani and American claims that he died in a U.S. missile strike in January, referring to reports about his demise as propaganda.
A picture of Mehsud next to a map of the United States showing explosions in three cities coast to coast is featured in another video that surfaced, IntelCenter said. However, the map is not detailed enough to identify which cities.
The clip is 2 minutes, 19 seconds long and was purportedly made on April 19. Audio attributed to Mehsud says that the group's main targets from now on are U.S. cities, and that "good news will be heard within some days or weeks."
An additional video was about 1 minute, 11 seconds long and appears to refer to the New York scare, though it does not mention any specific location or that it was a car bomb, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, another militant media monitor.
SITE, which is also U.S.-based, first uncovered the video on YouTube. The tape later appeared to have been removed from the website. It was not immediately clear if militants prepared the video in anticipation of a successful attack but then removed it after the car bomb failed to explode.
In a copy of the tape provided by SITE, an unidentified voice speaking in Urdu, the primary language in Pakistan, says the group takes "full responsibility for the RECENT ATTACK IN THE USA."
The claims in the three videos could not be immediately be independently verified, and U.S. officials have played down the group's potential involvement. New York City's police commissioner said there's no evidence of a Taliban link to the failed car bomb, while the White House has declined to comment on the claims.
If they turn out to be genuine, however, it would be the first time the Pakistani Taliban has struck outside of South Asia.
PESHAWAR: The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan on Monday disowned a video attributed to the group claiming responsibility for an attempted car bombing in New York City's Times Square.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq told Peshawar-based reporters on telephone from an undisclosed location, "We don't know about this video. As far as I know, none of our people have posted the video. We have no information about it."
The car bomb was discovered in Times Square on Sunday. However, Tariq said a video featuring Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud threatening strikes on American soil was genuine.