by Florian Flade
Trainer of Teenage Suicide Bombers – Qari Hussain Mehsud
Qari Hussain Mehsud is probably the most feared and mystical figure of the Pakistani Taliban movement „Tehrik e-Taliban Pakistan“ (TTP). He is known as the „teacher of the martyrdom-seekers“, a trainer of child suicide bombers and chief of the suicide bombing operations of the Pakistani Taliban. Numerous attacks by the TTP, including deadly bombings against Pakistani military, government and police compounds as well as against Pakistani religious minorities were orchestrated by Qari Hussain´s terror cells. A US$ 600,000 bounty was placed on his head by the Pakistani government, which considers the Taliban´s chief suicide bomber trainer to be among the Top 3 Terrorists in the country.
Today the US State and Treasury departments followed the Pakistani example and added Qari Hussain (Executive Order 13224) to the list of designated global terrorists. Only two other members of the TTP – the group´s leader Hakimullah Mehsud and his deputy Wali ur-Rahman – had been on that list. Now all known assets of Qari Hussain are frozen and he is banned of using financial institutions and travels.
„Qari Hussain is one of TTP’s top lieutenants and also serves as the trainer and organizer of the group’s suicide bombers. Training camps organized by Hussain are notorious for recruiting and training men of all ages as suicide bombers, and Hussain has gained particular notoriety for his heavy recruitment of children“ – today´s press release states.
The US suspects Qari Hussain to be the mastermind of several high-profile operations including the suicide bombing on a CIA base in Khost which killed seven agents – „Furthermore, Hussain is believed to have trained the Jordanian militant Humam Muhammad Abu Mulal al-Balawi – the double-agent whose suicide mission on December 30, 2009, in Khost, Afghanistan, killed seven Americans.“
Faisal Shahzad, the US citizen who tried to detonate a car bomb at New York ´s Times Square in May 2010 is suspected of being one of Qari Hussain´s students, trained and advised by the TTP commander.
Qari Hussain remains a mysterious figure among Pakistan´s Taliban because of the lack of pictures and video footage that actually shows the face of the terrorist. Only recently there has been a short video appearance in which Hussain is seen without a blurred out face.
The notorious suicide bomber trainer was born into the Mehsud tribe of South Waziristan and is said to have family connection to the former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. In the South Waziristan region Qari Hussain ran a number of schools for teenage suicide bombers prior to the Pakistani military´s intervention and occupation of South Waziristan. After the army offensive Hussain fled to North Waziristan and today is most likely hiding somewhere in that area or in the agencies of Bajaur, Khyber or Mohmand.