There are media reports about the internal conflicts between the ranks of those who oppose the US occupation.
It seems that the so called “Taliban” want to concentrate their struggle within Afghanistan and do not wan to unnecessarily exacerbate the situation and antagonize America and other world powers. It seems the Afghan National Resistance (Taliban, Haqqani, Hikmatyar, Hizbe Islami etc) wants an end to occupation and does not share the ephemeral goals of those who wish to wage perpetual war against America. Press reports and declassified communication intercepts between Bin Laden and his acolytes seems to suggest that Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan National Resistance is not part of any long term battle with America or the West. The Afghan National Resistance (Taliban, Haqqani, Hikmatyar, Hizbe Islami etc) have Afghan-centric view of the world which would force the end of the occupation. Their war is waged within the confines of the Afghan national state.
- London, The victory of the Taliban over US-led forces in Afghanistan is imminent, the group’s elusive chief Mullah Omar has said in a rare statement.
- BBC Thursday quoted the one-eyed guerrilla leader as saying that the Taliban was winning because the Western military campaign aimed at snuffing out the militia had been ‘a complete failure’.
- In the time to come, we will try to establish an Islamic, independent, perfect and strong system.’
- At the same time, he directed his guerrillas to observe the Taliban’s code of conduct and not to harm civilians.
- The US has set July 2011 as the deadline to begin withdrawing its troops if conditions permit. Barack Obama had ordered 30,000 more US soldiers into Afghanistan in December following a resurgence of Taliban. Top I News.
S Iftikhar Murshed writing for The News has presented certain facts about Libby and Bon Laden which if true shed a different light on the dynamics within Afghanistan.
Osama bin Laden has been accused by his former associate and comrade in arms, Noman Benotman, or Abu Muhammed al-Libi as he is known in Afghanistan, of betraying Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Taliban. This is elaborated in an open letter of Sept 10, 2010, to the Al-Qaeda chief in which al-Libi alleges that “Afghans, including Mullah Omar and his supporters, asked us to protect their country and its people. Instead, you wanted to use their country as a launch-pad for war against America, Israel, the West and the Arab regimes. What benefit has this brought the Afghan people? Separately, when Mullah Omar asked you on several occasions to stop provoking and inviting American attacks on his country, you ignored him. How can you claim to fight for an ‘Islamic state’ and then so flagrantly disobey the ruler you helped put in place?”
Al-Libi is no stranger to jihad, and his association with Osama bin Laden dates back to the 1980s when they fought alongside the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet occupation forces. He later joined the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), whose avowed objective was the violent overthrow of the Qadhafi regime and establishing a Shariah-based government in that country. Al-Libi became exceptionally close to bin Laden when the two were in Sudan in the 1990s and this relationship intensified after they were expelled from Khartoum and compelled to return to Afghanistan in 1996. Two years later, the LIFG’s armed struggle against the Qadhafi regime collapsed and its fighters relocated to Afghanistan, where bin Laden was desperately trying to recruit jihadi outfits for his self-proclaimed war against “Jews and Crusaders” through the World Islamic Front he established in 1998.
This generated sharp differences between al-Libi and bin Laden. The leadership of the LIFG was no less opposed to taking on the US. Not because of any support for American policies but for its concern that such an enterprise would have disastrous consequences for the Taliban movement, which had given refuge not only to Al-Qaeda but also to several other Arab jihadi groups. For his part, Mullah Omar sought and obtained assurances from bin Laden that he would not launch attacks against the United States from Afghanistan.
In his letter, al-Libi claims to have emphatically reiterated Mullah Omar’s concerns to bin Laden during a breakfast meeting at the latter’s home in Kandahar in the summer of 2000. No less intriguing is the revelation that even some Al-Qaeda leaders, notably, the head of the Shariah Committee, Abu Hafs al-Mauritani (killed in an air raid in Pakistan), and Security Committee chief Abu Muhammad al-Zayat (who is said to be in Iran) had opposed operations outside Afghanistan. Particularly the 9/11 attacks which, in their opinion, “were illegitimate without Mullah Omar’s permission” and would eventually result in the destruction of the Taliban regime because of retaliatory US military action against Afghanistan.
These accusations are of considerable importance in the context of the ongoing Afghan conflict and the parallel reconciliation process. If Mullah Omar opposed the 9/11 attacks, then he should not have any compunction in severing all links with Al-Qaeda, thereby enabling his own inclusion in President Karzai’s reconciliation initiative.
Pakistan can play a significant role in facilitating such an outcome because of its obvious influence with Mullah Omar.
Foreign policy formulation in Islamabad often ignores the dictum that, other than national interests and geography, nothing in interstate relations is permanent. Even national interests are liable to be redefined in accordance with the ever-changing security environment. Friends and allies of yesteryear can become the gravest threat to national security, as has been the experience of Pakistan.
Suicide terrorism was unheard-of in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region until, two days before the fateful 9/11 incidents, Ahmed Shah Masood became its first major victim. According to a recent assessment, terrorism-related civilian deaths in Pakistan soared from 189 in 2003 to 9,009 in the first ten months of 2010. When the 3,215 military personnel and the 19,019 terrorists killed are added, the total number of fatalities this year alone is a startling 31,243. The tally for the last seven years is 56,431 civilians averaging more than 8,000 deaths each year.
These frightening statistics can never portray the anguish of those who have lost, and continue to lose, loved ones because of terrorist violence. However, they do drive home the inescapable truth that the gravest threat to Pakistan’s survival is internal and the need for decisive action against terrorist groups is inescapable.
In this context Islamabad can, and should, use its influence with those Taliban leaders who have severed their links with terrorist outfits to facilitate an Afghanistan settlement, but without being intrusive. The process can begin with Mullah Omar if what al-Libi claims is true. The writer is the publisher of Criterion quarterly. Email: iftimurshed @gmail.com.
We disagree with analysis and the historiography of Mr. S Iftikhar Murshed. Pakistan has legitimate interests in Pakistan, and a reasonable right to expect that an Anti-Pakistani government should not be in place in Kabul. The world has accepted this right. Presenting a point view which would encourage Delhi to have a complaint government in Kabul is unacceptable to the Pakistani people. Washington has accepted Pakistan’s sphere of influence as a legitimate aspiration and has recently encouraged Bharat to look towards the East. In the much heralded trip to Delhi, President Obama did not mention any role for Bharat in Afghanistan–except for art and craft activities which would involve Bharati Dollars.
In the aftermath of America’s conditional support to Bharat’s aspirations to a UNSC seat–Pakistan has to reevaluate the entire gammit of its relationship with Washington. The mood in Islamabad to bide its time, and let America leave Afghanistan. The bloody nose may keep them away for a while, but the Brits have a nasty habit of finding an excuse to invade Afghanistan every few decades. The beginning of the end will commence in 2011 and end before 2014. A recent bi-partisan CFR report has recommended that the US withdraw from Afghanistan if the conditions don’t improve. It has also recommended that America should reduce its footprint in Afghanistan if the current situation persists. In other words CRF has recommended that the US should withdraw from Afghanistan. If the CFR report is stripped of all the rhetoric, shifting of blame and the threats, it is a simple recognition of the reality of Afghanistan. The CFR report is signed by leading intellectuals of America like Christine Flair, and Richard Armitage (made famous because of his 2001 threat to bomb Pakistan to the stone age).
President Obama will be completing a review of its Afghan policy this December. In all probability, the symbolic withdrawal of US troops will begin in July 2011. Richard Holbrooke in fact reiterated this in a recent statement. The withdrawal of the first soldier will be the most difficult and politically explosive move. After the sticker shock of defeat has been overcome the mercenaries will lose their funding. Then the US forces will begin departing in earnest–even though there may be some delays, and some mini-surges built into the withdrawal time-line. Once a portion of the withdrawal has been completed, the US wil lbe unable to sustain the occupation–and the rest of the forces will leave rapidly.
- Desperate for a New War: Now NATO Claim Osama Bin Laden is In Pakistan! (nwoandsecretsocieties.wordpress.com)
- You: Taliban Leader Rejects Afghan Talks (nytimes.com)
- Taliban close to victory, says Mullah Omar (topinews.com)
- Mullah Omar rejects reports of peace talks, highlights Taliban strategy (longwarjournal.org)