New York Police Department officials are dismissing video of a "Taliban suicide-bomber graduation" as "part of a media blitz intended to spread Taliban propaganda and raise the profile of the organization" rather than a real threat.
In a special analysis distributed this week to NYPD commanders, the department's counter-terrorism division also downplays the Taliban's capability of carrying out suicide attacks in the U.S. and Europe, as the Taliban commander suggested, saying they do not have the needed networks in the West and have no experience carrying out such attacks.
"This video is likely part of a media blitz intended to spread Taliban propaganda and raise the profile of the organization," said the analysis. "The Taliban recognize the benefits which come with being portrayed as part of the global jihad, given the additional funding and recruitment such an impression engenders."
The video was first aired Monday by ABC News, who said it was acquired from a Pakistani journalist with links to the Taliban. Parts of it have since been aired and discussed elsewhere.
In the report, ABC stated, "Large teams of newly trained suicide bombers are being sent to the United States and Europe, according to evidence contained on a new videotape obtained bu ABC News. Teams assigned to carry out attacks in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany were introduced at an al-Qaida/Taliban training camp graduation ceremony held June 9."
The NYPD analysis suggests ABC may have misinterpreted what was said at the ceremony. Instead of calling for suicide attacks inside the countries who have been sent to fight the Taliban, the analysis suggests "though threatening attacks abroad, [Taliban leaders] may in fact be sending bombers to attack specific allied military units in Afghanistan.
"All the countries threatened with attacks have forces operating in Afghanistan, and the Taliban has recently carried out suicide attacks in parts of Afghanistan which rarely saw such incidents, including a recent attack against German forces in the Northern part of the country."
As for the Taliban's capability, the NYPD reported: "In the past two years, the Taliban have demonstrated their capability to carry out large numbers of suicide bombings, although it is not believed that they have the network or operatives to carry out such attacks abroad."
While noting that Taliban does have ties to al-Qaida, the analysis added, "Taliban [is] unlikely to send bombers abroad for attacks though al-Qaida involvement may demonstrate intention to carry out attacks in West … There are no known instances of Taliban operatives carrying out attacks outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan; however, the involvement of al-Qaida in this instance may mean some of these recruits are being groomed for attacks abroad."