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May 11, 2009

Religion of peace update: Taliban jihadist says it is his 'holy duty' to fight"

Topics: Afghanistan, Understanding Islam

Please spare me the ""Jihad means "peaceful struggle"" routine, unless this guy is just another of many that supposedly "misunderstand" that jihad is but a peaceful struggle for self-improvement (or so we're told - HT: Robert Spencer): "Face-to-face with the Taliban: 'It is my holy obligation to fight'," by Mary Fitzgerald for the Irish Times, May 11:

After a breakfast of oval-shaped unleavened bread, cheese, amber-coloured local honey and green tea, all served on plastic sheeting rolled out on the floor, we sit and wait for the men who have promised to meet us.

Suddenly the man who brought us here enters the room and gestures for us to stand up as another man walks in. This, we are told, is M. He is in his forties and joined the Taliban in the 1990s. He has six children, two daughters and four sons, all of whom live in Waziristan, a restive tribal region across the border in Pakistan which is home to many of the Taliban high command as well as the upper echelons of al-Qaeda. M is based out of Zurmat, a town some 20 kilometres from Gardez which is considered the nucleus of Taliban activity in Paktia.

"It is safer for my family to live in Waziristan," he tells me. "We fighters go back and forth." For M, the answer to the question of why he is fighting is simple. "American soldiers came to my country. I wanted to fight to get them out," he says. "I am Muslim, and every Muslim must work to ensure our countries stay Muslim.

"It is my holy obligation to fight the invaders. I will fight every country that has a hand in my country." M has agreed to meet me at the request of a senior Taliban figure who, I am told, has responsibility for around five undercover Taliban groups in the Gardez area.

During our entire conversation, he barely glances in my direction, focusing instead on the male translator. He speaks of a Taliban that is biding its time for a renewed offensive in the coming months as more than 17,000 extra US troops arrive in Afghanistan to bolster the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf). "We are preparing for a new round of fighting. The Americans may have airplanes but in a few months there will be more face-to-face fighting," M warns.

He claims the plans will involve attacks on cities and towns, including the capital, Kabul.

M defends the insurgents' increased use of suicide bombings. In an interview with The Irish Times last week, Isaf's deputy commander, Lieut-Gen Jim Dutton, said Isaf interpreted the resorting to such tactics as a sign of weakness on the part of the insurgents rather than strength.

M is defiant. "We do not have the weapons the Americans have, we have no airplanes, but we have suicide bombings." He is somewhat nonchalant when asked about the Taliban's links with al-Qaeda militants. "Al-Qaeda helped the Taliban so the Taliban will help al-Qaeda," he shrugs.

But, he adds, the Taliban's goals are limited to Afghanistan. "We want peace in our land and an Islamic government," he explains. [...]

As Spencer quips, limited to Afghanistan? Apparently they missed that memo over the border in Pakistan. And as for peace: Wanting peace is not the same, per se, as wanting peace only on one's own draconian terms and otherwise threatening perpetual warfare.

H is scathing about Afghan president Hamid Karzai, whose government he accuses of corruption. "Karzai doesn't work for Afghanistan," he says. "The Americans have him by the neck."

Initially dismissing the suggestion that foreign elements are assisting the insurgency - "No one is helping us, just God and the Afghan people," he declares - H later admits that Arabs and Pakistanis play a role.

His vision for Afghanistan is of a country free of foreign troops and ruled by "God's book, the holy Koran, and God's law, the sharia," he says. "If the American soldiers are out of Afghanistan, the country will be like a garden."

Like a garden? As in the miserable, intolerant place it was during the Taliban's regime from 1996-2001? The Taliban obviously has a sick, distorted, middle age view or what a "garden" is like.

Posted by Hyscience at May 11, 2009 7:03 AM



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