Taliban Chief Claims Lahore Attack, Vows to Hit US

Mehsud vows he will attack again in Pakistan and US
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2009 6:26 AM CDT
Pakistan's top Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, left with cap, talks to the media in Kotkai, a village in the Pakistani tribal area South Waziristan along the Afghan border, Saturday, May 24, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The head of the Pakistani Taliban and the man accused of masterminding the assassination of Benazir Bhutto has claimed responsibility for yesterday's commando assault on the Lahore police academy and has threatened more attacks, the Times of London reports. Baitullah Mehsud personally called Western news agencies to take credit for the attack instead of issuing a statement through a subordinate.

Mehsud said the killings were revenge for American drone attacks targeting militant leaders. Analysts say his increasing boldness derives from his growing power as leader of an expanding network of militant groups that can strike within Pakistan's major cities. Of the $5 million bounty the US placed on his head last week, Mehsud said, "The maximum they can do is martyr me. We will exact our revenge on them from inside America."