HomeFeaturesDailyBriefingsRapidReconSpecial ReportsAbout Us

Taliban Claim Barcelona Plot

A report in a Spanish newspaper holds that the primary Pakistani Taliban group, Tehrik-i-Taliban, claimed responsibility for foiled terror plan in Barcelona in which commuter trains were to be bombed once again.

The point to take from this is further reinforcement of what we have been asserting for some time: Differentiating al-Qaeda from the Taliban is an endeavor with rapidly diminishing returns.

The Taliban has long made public their intent to launch terrorist attacks beyond the Afghanistan/Pakistan region, and the attempt in Spain is an example of this intent. Intent and capability, thankfully, are two different matters. It is not incorrect to say that the various Taliban groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan have very localized grievances and aims. That of course remains so. But the Taliban have adopted their al-Qaeda guests' desire for extended reach and aligned much with their overall goals, including creating a global caliphate beginning with the consumption of Pakistan.

Goals of each, once seen as wholly different in aim and scope, are now inextricably merged as the 'Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance' - as I have termed it for some time - continues to show more signs of blending than distinguishing one from the other.

Meanwhile, hellfire-armed US unmanned aerial drones continue to patrol western Pakistani skies over al-Qaeda strongholds, regardless of Pakistani public posturing vowing to shoot down US aircraft. And in a strike earlier this week, an al-Qaeda commander and another 'Arab' were killed along with other occupants of the house hit with four hellfire missiles.

The war rages on.