PESHAWAR: The spokesman for al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Usama Mahmood, has released a statement condemning the Pakistani Taliban’s attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar earlier this week, US media reported on Sunday.
AQIS’ four-page statement was released on Mahmood’s official Twitter feed. In an accompanying tweet, Mahmood writes that the “massacre of innocent children” makes “our hearts burst!” Mahmood stresses in the statement that al Qaeda only learned of the attack through the media, and his statement is based on the assumption that those reports are accurate. In particular, Mahmood says, it is al Qaeda’s understanding that the attackers targeted children on purpose and that most of the victims were children. Mahmood argues that al Qaeda carefully selects its targets inside Pakistan “so as to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties”.
He said that the group focuses on “American targets,” the “puppet rulers” in Pakistan, and America’s “mercenaries” in the Pakistani security and intelligence services. In harsh terms, Mahmood condemns the Pakistani Taliban’s attack as “un-Islamic” and says that al Qaeda’s scholars have already set forth the rules for engaging the enemy, which were not followed in Peshawar. The attack violates the jihadis’ version of sharia law, Mahmood claims. Mahmood also portrays al Qaeda as the defender of Muslims inside Pakistan. Addressing “our beloved Pakistani Muslims,” Mahmood says their defense is “our responsibility”.