Taliban lay plans for Islamic
intifada By Syed Saleem Shahzad
PASHTUN HEARTLAND, Pakistan and
Afghanistan - With the snows approaching, the
Taliban's spring offensive has fallen short of its
primary objective of reviving the Islamic Emirates
of Afghanistan, as the country was known under
Taliban rule from 1996-2001.
forces and the Taliban will bunker down until next
spring, although the Taliban are expected to
continue with suicide missions and some
hit-and-run guerrilla activities. The Taliban will
take refuge in the
mountains that cross the Afghanistan-Pakistan
border, where they will have plenty of time to
plan the next stage
their struggle: a countrywide "Islamic Intifada of
Afghanistan" calling on all former mujahideen to
join the movement to boot out foreign forces from
The intifada will
be both national and international. On the one
hand it aims to organize a national uprising, and
on the other it will attempt to make Afghanistan the
hub of the worldwide Islamic resistance movement,
as it was previously under the Taliban when Osama
bin Laden and his training camps were guests of
The ideologue of the intifada
is bin Laden's deputy, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, who
has assembled a special team to implement the
idea. Key to this mission is Mullah Mehmood Allah
Haq Yar. Asia Times Online was early to pinpoint
Haq Yar as an important player (see Osama adds weight to Afghan
resistance, September 11, 2004).
Oriented primarily towards Arabs,
especially Zawahiri, Haq Yar speaks English, Arabic,
Urdu and Pashtu with great fluency. He was sent by
Taliban leader Mullah Omar to northern Iraq to
train with Ansarul Islam fighters before the
US-led invasion of Afghanistan. He returned to
Afghanistan in 2004 and was inducted into a
special council of commanders formed by Mullah
Omar and assigned the task of shepherding all
foreign fighters and high-value targets from
Pakistani territory into Afghanistan.
is an expert in urban guerrilla warfare, a skill
he has shared with the Taliban in Afghanistan. His
new task might be more challenging: to gather
local warlords from north to south under one
umbrella and secure international support from
A major first step
toward creating an intifada in Afghanistan was the
establishment of the Islamic State of North
Waziristan in the Pakistani tribal area this year.
This brought all fragmented sections of the
Taliban under one command, and was the launching
pad for the Taliban's spring offensive.
Subsequently, there has been agreement
between a number of top warlords in northern
Afghanistan and the Taliban to make the intifada a
success next year. Credit for this development
goes mainly to Haq Yar.
Haq Yar was
recently almost cornered in Helmand province in
Afghanistan by British forces. Before that, he
spoke to Asia Times Online at an undisclosed
location in the Pashtun heartland straddling
Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Online: When are the Taliban expected to
announce the revival of the Islamic Emirates of
Haq Yar: Well,
the whole Islamic world is waiting for the revival
of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan, but it
will take some time. But sure, it will ultimately
happen, and this is what the Taliban's struggle is
ATol: Can you
define the level of Taliban-led resistance in
Haq Yar: It has
already passed the initial phases and now has
entered into a tactical and decisive phase. It can
be measured from the hue and cry raised by the US
and its allies. Daily attacks on NATO [North
Atlantic Treaty Organization] forces are now
routine and suicide attacks are rampant.
ATol: To date, the Taliban
have been very active in southwestern Afghanistan,
but traditionally success comes when a resistance
reaches eastern areas, especially the
strategically important Jalalabad. When will this
Haq Yar: Well, I do
not agree that the Taliban movement is restricted
to southwest Afghanistan. We have now established
a network under which we are allied with many big
and small mujahideen organizations, and in that
way we are fighting foreign forces throughout
Afghanistan. In a recent development, the deputy
chief of the Taliban movement, Maulana Jalaluddin
Haqqani, is now positioned in the eastern zone,
including Jalalabad, from where he is guiding
attacks on coalition forces. This eastern zone is
also part of the Taliban's stronghold.
ATol: What is the role of
bin Laden and Zawahiri?
Haq Yar: We
are allies and part and parcel of every strategy.
Wherever mujahideen are resisting the forces of
evil, Arab mujahideen, al-Qaeda and leaders Osama
bin Laden and Dr Zawahiri have a key role. In
Afghanistan they also have a significant role to
support the Taliban movement.
Is the present Taliban-led resistance
against the US and its allies a local resistance
or is it international? That is, are resistance
movements in other parts of the world led from
Initially it was a local movement, but now
it is linked with resistance movements in Iraq and
other places. We are certainly in coordination
with all resistance movements of the Muslim world.
ATol: What is the Taliban
strategy with groups like Hezb-i-Islami
Afghanistan led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the
Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (Khalis)?
Haq Yar: The Hezb-i-Islami
of Hekmatyar and the Taliban are fighting under a
coordinated strategy and support each other. The
leadership of the Khalis group is now in the hands
of his son, who is coordinating everything with
Maulana Jalaluddin Haqqani.
What is the Taliban's weaponry? Is it old
Russian arms or they have acquired new ones - and
if so, where are they getting them?
Haq Yar: The Taliban have
all the latest weaponry required for a guerrilla
warfare. Where does it come from? Well,
Afghanistan is known as a place where weapons are
stockpiled. And forces that provided arms a few
decades ago - the same weapons are now being used
Taliban contacted commanders in northern
Afghanistan. What was the result?
Haq Yar: About one and a
half years ago these contacts were initiated.
Various groups from the north contacted us. We
discussed the matter with [Taliban leader] Mullah
Mohammed Omar Akhund and then, with his consent, I
was assigned to negotiate matters with the
The first meeting was
held in northern Afghanistan, where I represented
the Taliban. Many individuals from various groups
of the Northern Alliance attended the meeting and
they all condemned the foreign presence in the
country, but insisted that the Taliban should take
the lead, and then they would follow suit. Another
meeting was held after that in which various
individuals come up with some conditions, and
there was no conclusion. There was no collective
meeting, but there are contacts.
ATol: What is the role of
the tribal chiefs?
The tribal chiefs have always been supportive of
the Taliban and still are. How could they not be?
The US bombed and killed thousand of their people
and the puppet [President Hamid] Karzai government
is silent. All Afghans are sick and tired of US
tyrannies and daily bombardment, whether they are
commoners or chiefs, and that is why they are all
with the Taliban.
Actually, we have also
worked on organizing that support. On the
instructions of Mullah Mohammed Omar Akhund, I met
with tribal chiefs last year and prepared the
grounds for this year's battle [spring offensive],
and all tribal chiefs assured me of their support.
And now there is support - it is there for
everybody to see.
is said that the Taliban are now fueled by drug
money. Is this correct, and if not, how do they
manage their financial matters?
Yar: It is shameful to say that the
Taliban, who eliminated poppies from Afghanistan,
are dependent on the drug trade to make money.
This is wrong. As far as money is concerned, we do
not need much. Whatever is required, we manage it
through our own limited resources.
ATol: Are you satisfied with
the media's role?
Not at all. They do not publish our point of view.
They never tried to talk to the genuine Taliban.
Rather, they go after not genuine people who are
basically plants and rejected by the Taliban
Syed Saleem Shahzad
is Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief. He
can be reached at[email protected]