Selective Passages From “Inside Al-Qaeda And The Taliban” by Saleem Shahzad

The vitriolic Laskhar-e-Jhangvi (LJ), an underground banned anti-Shiite militant organization, was the first to join the ranks of Al Qaeda’s affiliated structures. LJ is a breakaway faction of the later banned political party Sepah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP. LJ adherents had killed dozens of Shiite clerics and Shiite professionals, and the state had put all its members on the wanted list. After the fall of Taliban they did not have any place to go, and most of them had been hiding in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime. To take advantage of the situation Al Qaeda provided these LJ members with a precise role in the global Jihad. On Al Qaeda’s regrouping in Pakistan’s tribal areas, LJ members were welcomed in South Waziristan and encouraged to support Al Qaeda’s multi-faceted operations in Pakistan. LJ was permitted to continue with its targeted anti-Shiite killings, but some members like Qari Zafar (who was killed in 2010 in North Waziristan), were also used in Al Qaeda operations such as the attack on the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) offices in Lahore. At the same time, other leaders like Qari Hussain were tellingly deputed to raise suicide brigades for Al Qaeda’s anti-US operations. Slowly and gradually this strategy began to work, and brought thousands of new recruits into the Al Qaeda fld. Among them were two well-known brothers, Dr. Akmal Waheed and Dr. Arshad Waheed, who had earlier been affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islam. The two top physicians from the southern port city of Karachi were now linked to Al Qaeda through Jundullah. Dr. Arshad Waheed was later killed in Wana in South Waziristan in a CIA drone strike, and soon afterwards Al Qaeda’s media wing Al Sahab released a documentary on his life and exploits to inspire the younger generation. Subsequently several army officers joined the Al Qaeda cadre (see later in the book).

In July 2010 a spokesperson of Punjabi Taliban (the non-Pashtu speaking section of the Taliban) confirmed that the influence of Dr Arshad and Akmal Waheed had split Pakistan’s largest student organization, Islami Jamiat-e-Talba (IJT), and other organizations, especially those whose members who came from Karachi. Many joined forces with Al Qaeda in North Waziristan. (From Syed Saleem Shahzad’s book Inside Al Qaeda and Taliban)

Poor Man’s Voice

They say: A poor man’s voice is never heard. One country in South Asia is so poor that its voice is also never heard in last 60 years or so. Or perhaps I’ve said something wrong. Corrigendum: How its voice can be heard when it actually had never voiced on it up until now?

A friend asked me, “While we’ve no choice left except to select one in the lot of evil, what would we do except that to opt for a lesser evil in the lot?” I ask them, “How could we be so naive to support and assert the system run by the evils? Do we not have an option to boycott the system — and ostracize the looters of nation? Is it too much laborious to do for our nation?” Or at least we can try to be bit vocal against the illegal or dishonest behavior of our elected leaders instead of saying we lack with the options of true leadership so let’s opt for a lesser evil in the available lot. A few minds of respective political leadership are the decision makers, but there’s no decision making echelon.

During the time of such distress and desperate straits in our country, I’ve even seen people raising offers that infallibly suggest the disintegration of Pakistan. Exactly similar to that, I found someone saying that the troubled and lawless areas of Pakistan like FATA should be disbanded from Pakistan. Might I ask them: Lest you forsake that FATA terrain, which it’d belong to? Would you just give it to US-led Nato Forces or would you seam it with Afghanistan as a charity or what? Or would you just pull out all your forces back from the region and let the nasty and barbaric games prevail there? Will it not make our strategic position at stake if we take such an inexpedient step?

Okay, I denounce the loss of innocent lives, simultaneously I want to see peace too in those region. Can we’ve the peace without having such barbaric games in those areas — be the games played by TTP, Pakistan Army, Nato Forces, ISI, CIA or anyone.

There are a number of such suggestions ventilated daily. These suggestions concerning the disintegration of Pakistan investigate the fact that there still are such parallel elements in our country that are failed to accept the existence of Pakistan; there still are people who talk about fraction, violence, extremism.

A few days back, an American Army Major, who was (fortunately or unfortunately?) a Muslim, went on a killing spree in one of the American biggest Military post. 13 people died, out of which 12 were servicemen and 1 was civilian; Innocent civilian, innocent servicemen? When we, or anyone, regret or don’t regret the loss of innocent lives — I ask whose life isn’t innocent? We all are innocent. People did rejoice over the loss of lives. The concept that killing solves anything must be retired. Major Nidal’s actions will now spark more resentment and prejudice against the U.S. Muslim population. It is this same prejudice that Major Nidal reported to his relatives that made him so crazy — crazy enough to kill. So now his actions will spawn more violence. Where does it end? When everyone from one gene pool is dead? Then, those who remain will turn on each other. Violence begets violence. But this is unnecessary and uncalled for to warrant killings, be it done by U.S. Army or Blackwater or Major Nidal or Pakistan Army.

This doesn’t end here. I was talking about an old saying: A poor man’s voice is never heard. What is the term ‘poor man’ implying? It doesn’t talk about a financially deprived man. But it’s squarely talking about a frail man — a man deprived of moral understandings. Kerry-Lugar bill, which aims to provide billions of dollars to Pakistanis — would it uplift us from this sort of poorness to richness? Before we go on thinking constructively about the ways to improve our socio-economic structure, we need to understand that a poor man’s voice is really never heard.

To Increase Or Not To Increase?

While a host of argle-bargles brewing up in Pakistan including the security condition, economy problem and so forth — the House of Representatives of United States on the other side of the oceans is ambivalent whether to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan or not.

Anything and everything that happens in Afghanistan always has some connection with Pakistan. The impact of the troops increasing strategy is, besides, a pressure on the Pakistan Army fighting a hot war against the miscreants on the Western borders. Pakistani Army isn’t only fighting with the miscreants at such godforsaken places, besides they do have to be vigilant in regards with the NATO forces attacking across the border in Pakistan trigger-happily and in some cases NATO forces give a leeway to Talibans to cross the border and get inside Afghanistan without being caught. Double-games.

While the debate and disputation in the House of Representatives is going on, it made me think to study the possible alternatives over the strategy of increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan.

The last president of United States, George Bush, and the incumbent president of United States, Obama — both have had the similar stratgies concerning Afghanistan particularly. George Bush bankrolled the war and US led NATO to a considerable extent. It was the time when United States was consuming the 25% of the Earth’s resources alone — which is a phenomenal quantity. United States is still consuming near to 25% of the Earth’s resources, whereas many countries in the world are suffering from extreme indigence.

In 1959, when the Vietnam war started and John F. Kennedy became the President of United States in 1960, he faced the same situation of dealing a war in Vietnam which Obama is facing in Afghanistan contemporary. But Kennedy was a wise man — a statesman — who never considered the professional military advise as persuasive since the time he faced an acrimonious experience once. Kennedy had his reasons not to do so. While he faced a humiliating defeat at the Bay of Pigs, in a hope to dismantle the Castro’s government in Cuba on the advise of his military generals and CIA officials, Kennedy committed himself never to be overawed by professional military advice. Hence, Kennedy learnt a lesson.

In 1961, many of Kennedy’s Generals and advisors argued with Kennedy to increase the number of troops in South Vietnam and save the South Vietnamese government from collapsing. Kennedy, however, categorically refused the idea of increasing the number of troops. He already had the embarrassing experience during the “Bay of Pigs” episode when he paid heed to CIA and his Generals and faced international humiliation. The wise man favored a strategy of arming and reinforcing the South Vietnamese Army, and of teaching them new counterinsurgency tactics instead of increasing the number of troops. This strategy worked well. It couldn’t have been better than this. At the time of Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, the Pentagon had recorded only 108 American military personnel killed.

In Afghanistan, the deaths of US led NATO forces, to-date, has reached to 1500, out of which 900 is US servicemen. Whereas in Iraq, US has faced the number of 4351 fatalities to-date.

Today, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has asked for 40,000 to 60,000 more troops in Afghanistan, while the number of NATO forces in Afghanistan, today, is near to 70,000 out of which US forces comprise of 23 Battalion while other NATO forces comprise of 20 Battalion — keeping in mind that a single Battalion contain 1000-1500 servicemen.

As I was discussing with an American friend on the relevant subjects, I agreed to her that every once in a while, United States has a leader like Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr. These leaders and everyday citizens keep this nation going more or less in a good direction internally. Further we discussed and agreed to it that it’s very hard to reel in the actions of those who make their living interfering in other countries business — talking about the CIA and similar organizations. These agencies have become self-perpetuating entities unto themselves. CIA isn’t answerable to the Constitution of United States of America. They do not answer to the people of the United States. Only the President can control them — and if the President goes up against them and tries to shut them down, I’m afraid, as she said, that they might turn on him (or her) and assassinate the President. That’s what happened to Kennedy.

The more we try to bomb our way to peace and prosperity, the more stupid and warlike we become. And when our military (or any military) “regrets the loss of innocent life” I ask, whose life is NOT innocent? We are all innocent.

We can just anticipate to see Obama playing his cards well. The Nobel Peace Prize he has been honored with, of late — at least on the name of it respect the humanity.

Obama’s Speech In Cairo: Variety Of Hypocrisies, Mixture Of Truths & Lies

Obama's speech in Cairo
On the name of Islam and with Islamic greetings – Obama started his speech. There was a round of loud ovation. People across the globe and specially Muslims must have turned on their Television to heed to his diction.

He spoke incessantly for around an hour. Nonetheless, his speech was eloquent as good as it could be and a set of brilliant metaphor – that has turned mind of a lot of those people who previously possessed an anti-US opinion. That’s what I saw all across Internet and amongst my acquaintances as well.

Obama started to talk about 9/11 which he iterated is done by al Qaeda. According to Obama, this has bred mistrust and fear amongst the people against Muslims.

Protest in New York for 9/11
The questions to raise are: how many of the people in United States assume that al Qaeda was behind it? And who’s responsible for hyping and breeding the mistrust for Muslims? The American media has a immense role in building this mistrust along with Bush’s administration — so why Obama feels remorse about ‘mistrust’?

Although he talked about the eradication of this mistrust, but he never shed a light on the fundaments of the mistrust.

Obama talked about nuclear weapons. As per him, if a new flu infects one human-being, the other human-beings also fall in to the risk of getting affected by the flu. The same way when one nation pursues for nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises on all countries.

My strong objection, Mr. Obama. How hypocrite of you. Your analogy is wrong to a commensurate extent as your own country holds nuclear weapons, not? Israel – whom you say your country US has excellent relations with – having a bond which is unbreakable – is a non NPT country and ascertains nuclear weapons. Analogically, did Obama mean to say that heavenly human-beings can’t be infected by a flu, but the normal human-beings. US is a heavenly country, Mr. Obama meant. Within the speech, at places where he should’ve orated elaboratively, he orated abbreviatedly – to blot out his hypocrisy.

Mr. Obama also narrated the barbarity of Talibans saying they killed 3000 innocent men, women and children in 9/11 attacks. But he deliberately ignored the updated figure of 687 innocent men, women and children who died in drone attacks so far. Why being two-faced ahead the whole world? Moreover, he should’ve reviewed the whole history of Talibans ahead the whole world – of course he can’t.

Citing one of the verse from Quran, Obama said that if a man kills an innocent, it means he has killed whole mankind. Well, United States will take a lead if the number of dead innocents of last 65 years or so are to be counted.

Talking about Iraq, he again demonstrated his hypocrisy when he iterated that US troops moved to Afghanistan because of necessity, not by choice. And war in Iraq was a war of choice, not a necessity – unlike Afghanistan. Mr. Obama didn’t go in to much of the details relevant to former US Secretary of State Mr. Collin Powell who was one major supporter of war in Iraq. Mr. Obama shortened this particular piece of section as well – under a pretext that Iraqis are better off without tyrannous Saddam Hussain. Good Mr. Obama. You again proved of being hypocritical.

Moving forward, I had this chance of being dumbfounded when I heard Mr. Obama accepting for the first time that diplomacy should be preferred rather than using a force by citing an example that US fighting war in Iraq reminded United States of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve the problems whenever possible.

I don’t think United States yet will learn this lesson. These are more of words than a sincere opinion and beliefs, I believe. To get its feet struck in every act is one durable and distinguishing quality of United States.

Just like Mr. Obama reiterating incessantly about 9/11 catastrophe, the same way I believe our President/Prime Minister should be vocalizing in International summits and conferences. Before it could happen actually, our leaders will die of gut-ache. Pakistan will be a true sovereign country if they successfully manage to escape from gut-ache and vocalize what’s necessitated, anyway.

Mr. Obama also talked about closing down of Gitmo by saying that use of torture is prohibited. Now again, a top-notch hypocritical statement. Talk about Abu Gharib, and other detention cells in Afghanistan, Iraq and US itself. However, just lately I read this news about Mr. Obama and administration asking a New York federal appeals court to halt the release of disturbing images of detainee abuse since Mr. Obama and his administration believes that it’d endanger US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Moreover, it could also incite Pakistanis, Afghanis and Iraqis against United States to further more extent than today — The other way, may be under a pretext of Pakistanis, Iraqis and Afghanis getting provoked by those pictures, he fenced the publication of those pictures. Deviously, he didn’t want to endanger his deceitful speech he aforethought to deliver to the Muslim World.

Now moving towards the part of speech where Mr. Obama said that United States has infrangible relations with Israel. The bond amongst both countries is an epitome of (sympathy) consensus – which he described in a way that Jewish homeland came into being in a tragic history which can’t be denied. The way Mr. Obama was vocal in favor of Jews, the way he never was vocal in favor of Muslims in his one hour oration. It can very well be distinguished from Mr. Obama’s words that go like: Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

Further, Mr. Obama talked about Palestine issue. He admitted the fact that Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered a lot in last 60 years or so and that’s intolerable. Mr. Obama, as expected, again gave the hope of solving this issue – saying that United States won’t turn its back in regards. Mr. Obama and all former Presidents of United States have been saying this invariably. These elegant and empathy-words have no worth now, Mr. Obama.

A unilateral statement in against of Palestine was also iterated by Mr. Obama – who started showing his wispy colors after few minutes by saying that Palestine should abandon violence. He never addressed Israel when he talked about violence and abandoning it. So how sincere Mr. Obama is, do you wonder?

Talking about Nuclear Weapons again, regarding Iran – Mr. Obama also expressed that some countries possess nuclear arms and some don’t – and people often protest on it. That’s Right. Further, Mr. Obama said that the world must be free from nuclear weapons, but a peaceful nuclear power. So Mr. Obama, why not start diminishing and then relinquish & wrap up nuclear arms from United States first. Do good, and care not to whom — I callback this idiom for Mr. Obama. Or may be a wise suggestion would go like why not a treaty be made amongst all countries possessing Nuclear arms or underway in achieving nuclear arms – to make this earth free from nuclear arms – in a very serious way just like Mr. Obama has put a stress in his words the world must be free from nuclear arms.

Anyway, Obama’s speech was really like a poetry of imagination, and an eloquence of diction — which must’ve inspired and influenced a lot of minds in the Muslim world. The commitments Obama expressed to the Muslim countries and for the Muslims — will prove his visuals of talking about a new beginning – in sometime to come. Till then, let’s not get inspired — all those who had the chance to listen to his long diction.