Taliban vow to attack US, Europe
The Pakistani Taliban vowed Friday to attack the United States and Europe, days after the US State Department added the group to a blacklist of foreign terrorist organisations.
"Soon we will target America and Europe, we will take revenge for the drone strikes," Qari Hussain, a militant commander for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan faction, told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.
"(President Barack) Obama and his allies are our enemies -- they are afraid of us. We do not care if they have declared us a terrorist group," he said.
"We will carry out more attacks, inside Pakistan and Afghanistan. We will target Americans and their allies wherever they are," he told AFP.
Hussain is also known as "Ustad-e-Fidaeen", or teacher of suicide bombers.
"Obama and his friends are the real terrorists, Pakistan is also an ally of America and we will attack all Pakistani government officials," he said.
Hussain said the group also took responsibility for the triple suicide bombing in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore, which killed 31 people when it targeted a Shia mourning procession on Wednesday.
A second major attack, for which the Taliban have not so far claimed responsibility, on Friday killed 53 people and injured almost 200 more at a Shia rally in the southwestern city of Quetta.
Meanwhile, two US drone strikes on Friday killed at least ten militants, including some foreign fighters, in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border, security officials said.
Both strikes hit North Waziristan district, a renowned hub for Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants.
The first struck a militant compound on the outskirts of North Waziristan's main town of Miranshah.
It was followed within an hour by a second strike that targeted a car travelling in Datta Khel, a small town 30 kilometres from Miranshah, officials said.
The United States on Friday condemned the Taliban attack on Shia processions and other apparent sectarian attacks in Pakistan this week.
"We strongly condemn the recent barbaric attacks on religious processions in Lahore and Quetta and on a place of worship in Mardan, near Peshawar," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a statement.
"We stand with all of the people of Pakistan who should have the freedom to peacefully observe their religion, especially during Ramadan, and focus on rebuilding their lives after the floods, not mourn friends and family killed in terrorist attacks," he said.
Catastrophic flooding has affected 18 million people across insurgency-hit Pakistan, including eight million dependent on aid handouts for their survival.
On Wednesday the United States added the Tehreek-e-Taliban faction to the blacklist of foreign terrorist organisations, meaning members face asset freezes and travel bans.