CAIRO – CAIRO (AP) — The man who pleaded guilty to carrying out the attempted Times Square car bombing appeared in a video recorded before the failed attack that shows him meeting with senior Pakistani Taliban leaders and vowing to strike the U.S.
In the video, aired in segments Wednesday by the Dubai-based television station Al-Arabiya, Faisal Shahzad said the attack on the New York City landmark would avenge the deaths of Muslims killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"All the Muslim Arabs that have been martyred — I will take revenge on their behalf," he said. "I really wish that the hearts of the Muslims will be pleased with this attack, God willing."
One of the figures he praises as a martyr is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of al-Qaida in Iraq who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq in 2006.
Shahzad, 30, is seen in the video sitting on the ground in a black turban and olive-colored vest, with an AK-47 next to him. He calls jihad, or holy war, a pillar of the Muslim faith, and says "Islam will spread on the whole world and democracy will be defeated."
"Eight years has passed by Afghanistan, and you will see that the Muslim war has just started," he said.
Al-Arabiya said the full tape shows Shahzad meeting with Pakistani Taliban Hakimullah Mehsud.
IntelCenter, a U.S.-based group that monitors extremist groups, said Mehsud and Shahzad shake hands in the video. IntelCenter also says the video bears the mark of the Pakistani Taliban's media arm, Umar Media.
Analysts said the Pakistani Taliban appears to be trying to use the video as a means of boosting the reputation of Mehsud and reminding the Pakistani Taliban's supporters that they can hit the U.S. on American soil.
Evan Kohlmann, an analyst at globalterroralert.com, a private, U.S.-based terrorism analysis group, said that such a video "can significantly prolong the visceral impact of even an unsuccessful operation."
Shahzad, who was born and raised in Pakistan before moving to the U.S. to study and eventually taking U.S. citizenship, was arrested days after the failed May 1 bombing in Times Square.
He pleaded guilty in June to carrying out the attack, and admitted to attempting to establish contact with the Taliban while on a 2009 trip to Pakistan. He also told the New York court that he considers himself "a Muslim soldier."
He said he sought and received five days' training in explosives before returning to the United States in February to carry out the bomb plot with funding from the militant group.
The indictment said he received $5,000 in cash on Feb. 25 from an unnamed coconspirator in Pakistan and $7,000 more on April 10, sent at the coconspirator's direction.
His image in the video is widely different from the previously circulated snapshots of Shahzad, and is typical of previous martyrdom videos released by other attackers.