Expatica news

Barcelona bomb plot video investigated

24 September 2008

MADRID — CIA and FBI agents are working with Pakistani intelligence services to confirm the accuracy of a video in which a Taliban spokesman claims responsibility for an unsuccessful plot to blow up subway trains in Barcelona earlier in 2008. He says the planned attack was a response to Spanish troops in Afghanistan.

The investigation of the video, which was made public earlier in September, comes eight months after 11 Pakistani nationals were arrested in Barcelona after police received information that suicide bombers were planning to attack Barcelona’s metro system.

Spanish investigators suspected at the time that the men were connected with Tehrik-i-Taliban, the main Taliban militant group in Pakistan and a close ally of Al Qaeda. The video, if accurate, would be a key piece of evidence proving that connection.

"The authentication is being carried out with friendly intelligence services, and if it is proven, then it will be a determinant factor in the trial", one Spanish investigator says.

In the recording, a man who identifies himself as Maulvi Omar, a spokesman for Tehrik-i-Taliban, is asked if the group is able to commit attacks in the West. "The one in Barcelona was led by 12 of our men… they were sworn to Baitullah Mahsud", Omar says.

Mahsud is the leader of Tehrik-i-Taliban and is accused of, among other crimes, being responsible for the December 2007 assassination of former Pakistani President Benazir Bhutto following her return to the country.

[El Pais / Jose Maria Irujo / Expatica]