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There are no precise figures on the numbers of TTP fighters, who include foot soldiers and suicide-bombing recruits, or its weaponry.

Seven CIA officers, including the chief of the base, and an officer of Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate were killed, and six others were seriously wounded when an attacker, posing as a recruited intelligence agent, detonated a bomb he was carrying. The bombing was the most lethal attack against the CIA in more than 25 years.

One of the main tasks of the CIA operatives stationed at the base was to provide information used in aerial drone attacks against targets in Pakistan.

The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack through an informant, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a Jordanian doctor who feigned he was working against al Qaeda. A video of al-Balawi with TTP head Hakimullah Mehsud later surfaced in which the double agent was being hosted by the Mehsud as al-Balawi vowed to carry out the bombing attack.

Pakistani analysts said TTP leaders are bent on conducting some type of terrorist attack on U.S. soil and in Europe. They point to the case of Faisal Shehzad, who pleaded guilty to the attempted car bombing in New York’s Times Square on May 1. The bombing attempt was linked by investigators to TTP terrorists in Pakistan.

Shehzad admitted he travelled to Waziristan, where he received terrorist training from TTP trainers.

Shehzad, a Pakistan-born naturalized U.S. citizen, is from Peshawar, the northwestern Pakistani city, which is also the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Qari Hussain Mehsud stated in an audiotape message released on a YouTube website calling itself the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel that the group was behind the failed New York attack by Shehzad.

Some Pakistan counterterrorism specialists said Shehzad’s attempted bombing bolsters the threat by TTP leader Qari Hussain Mehsud to launch attacks in the United States and Europe. They suspect the group is seeking the capability of using Western-born Muslims or naturalized U.S. citizens.

“If you take the full statement of Qari Hussain [Mehsud] into consideration, then one could make out that Hussain means, that like Faisal Shehzad, the TTP also have other such people to strike in the U.S. and Europe,” said Peshawar-based veteran journalist Zahir Shah.

“It is not the matter of capacity of TTP to stage attacks inside the U.S., but if it has or it claims to have the support of American citizens very much like Faisal Shehzad, then attacks in the U.S. become a possibility.

“Even the TTP claims of having recruited and trained foreigners from countries like Germany, France, then it means the group has plans of using the citizens of America and European countries against their respective countries. In other words, that Pakistanis would not travel to the West to launch terrorist attacks,” added Mr. Shah, one of the few news media reporters to hold a face-to-face audience with TTP founder Baitullah Mehsud and its current head, Hakimullah Mehsud.

Pakistani Taliban and FATA-based Al Qaeda militants have already attempted to use American Muslim recruits to carry out terrorist attacks after imparting them with training in Waziristan. In December 2009, Pakistani police arrested five American Muslims in Sargodha town in Punjab province for suspected activities.

U.S. security officials said the Americans attended a mosque in Virginia and were staying in Sargodha on their way to North Waziristan for training with the Taliban and al Qaeda to fight U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan and for carrying out terrorist attacks back home.

The five Americans were convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Pakistani court in June on different counts, including planning terrorist attacks.