PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- The Pakistani Taliban, an insurgent group focused mostly on the Pakistani state but which claimed responsibility for a failed bomb attack in New York nearly three years ago, has denied any involvement in the bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
The group is responsible for many of the suicide bombings and terror attacks that have wreaked havoc on this South Asian nation for years. It does, however, regard the U.S. as an enemy and helped train Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani American who confessed to engineering a botched bombing attempt in New York’s Times Square in 2010.
Nevertheless, the group’s spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, issued a statement Tuesday disowning any connection to the bombings in Boston.
“Certainly, America is our target and we will attack the U.S. and its allies whenever the [Pakistani Taliban] finds the opportunity, but we are not involved in this attack,” Ehsan said.
The Pakistani Taliban is made up of factions intent on toppling the current government and imposing Sharia, or Islamic, law. The group maintains ties with Al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban and other Pakistani militant groups entrenched in the country’s tribal belt.
Led by Pashtun militant Hakimullah Mahsud, the group has engineered some of the country’s worst terrorist strikes, including the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.
Although the group has warned in the past that it would carry out attacks in U.S. cities, experts in Pakistan have said it does not have the capability to do so. The group did claim a role in the December 2009 bombing of a CIA base in eastern Afghanistan that killed seven CIA employees and contractors.
Staff writer Alex Rodriguez reported from Islamabad, and special correspondent Zulfiqar Ali reported from Peshawar.