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Al-Qaeda's Open Call to Jihad to Take Islamabad

As the situation in Pakistan continues to deteriorate while al-Qaeda's insurgency grows stronger and more pervasive, Uzbek Taliiban commander Qadri Tahir Yuldashev released a video message in which he has called for jihad directly against Pakistani military forces.

Two al-Qaeda leaders in the north of Pakistan have called on their supporters to wage a new Jihad against security forces and seize control of Islamabad.

In a graphic video sent to Adnkronos International (AKI), Takfiri militants Qadri Tahir Yaldeshiv (Photo) and Abdul Khaliq Haqqani called for urgent action against the armed forces to avenge the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) operation in 2007.

As we have long been writing about here at ThreatsWatch, al-Qaeda's ultimate target in their insurgency is Islamabad and the complete control of Pakistan, its institutions - including the military and nuclear weaponry - and the institution of Shari'a law, carving out Pakistan as the anchor for the envisioned reestablishment of a caliphate.

Yuldashev now states their Islamabad target and national Sharia aims without nuance. In his video message, Yuldashev dips into the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) well once again, summoning more emotional reaction to the July 2007 government siege of the pro-Taliban, pro-al-Qaeda establishment. Included for effect in the propaganda message and call to jihad was graphic footage of the Islamists' revenge, including the throat slitting of a Pakistani soldier.

Speaking of Pakistani soldiers: It is important here to continue to distinguish between Pakistan's Frontier Corps paramilitary forces and the professional soldiers of the regular Pakistani Army. The two forts overrun by Yuldashev and Baitullah Mehsud's combined Taliban forces this week in Mehsud's South Waziristan were manned by Frontier Corps paramilitaries and not the Pakistani Army. The two do not share common levels of proficiency.

As we explained in a September PrincipalAnalysis, Understanding Al-Qaeda's Pakistan PSYOP and Insurgency, al-Qaeda seeks to avoid direct bloody confrontation with the Pakistani regular army's forces. Not because they are feared, but because for al-Qaeda, it would be ideal if the Pakistani armed forces can be kept in tact and eventually aligned with the insurgents following the victory the Islamists envision within Pakistan. The Interior Ministry, however, is the one Pakistani institution that remains almost uniformly pro-Musharraf. And the Frontier Corps paramilitary forces, the constabularies, and the Pakistani police are all part of the Interior Ministry and therefor preferred targets.

So when you read about Taliban attacks on Pakistani "troops" or "soldiers," be sure to look to distinguish between the Pakistani Army and other forces. Offensive attacks against Pakistani Army forces would mark a significant shift from a PSYOP seeking to win their support to a ground op seeking to remove them as an obstacle blocking control of Islamabad - and all that comes with it.