Taleban Government Appoints Two New Ministers

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[Rahmani] You are aware that the Taliban are mujahidin who have strong faith and belief. They are fighting for the sake of this faith. Therefore, how can the mujahidin regret their decision not to hand over Usama Bin Ladin? One of the basic principles of our faith and belief is to preserve every Muslim from infidelism and save him from infidelism and the infidels. It is unreasonable for us to regret this, and we cannot think of regretting having refrained from handing him over to the enemy. We are proud of him and we are proud because he stood in the face of infidelism and the infidels and because of his confrontation of the enemies of Islam. We will not agree to hand over Shaykh Usama or other Muslims to infidelism and the infidels. We will never deliver any Muslim under any circumstances. This will never happen.
[Zaydan] How do you describe your relations with Usama Bin Ladin now? Where is he? Do you have any relations with him? What relations do you have with the Al-Qa'ida Organization? Do they participate in the battles that you are waging against the Western forces in Afghanistan?
[Rahmani] Usama Bin Ladin is a great mujahidin and we can never reveal his place or where he lives under any circumstances. It is well known that a Muslim is the brother of all other Muslims. Muslims support each other. They are united. Our source of strength is the support of Muslims. All Muslims cooperate with us and we need them. Muslims share with us our jihad, by their money, their bodies, and their prayers. We need the support of all Muslims. Shaykh Usama is in good health and we pray to God to preserve him and frustrate the enemies of the Islamic nation in their endeavors to reach him and locate his position.
[Zaydan] How is your relationship with the Pakistan Taliban? Baitullah Mahsud says his commander is Mullah Mohammed Omar. How is your relationship with the Pakistan Taliban, and how do you view the Pakistan Taliban's movements and actions?
[Rahmani] Muslims are brothers. Their aim and enemy are the same. Therefore, Muslims are united. Together they face one enemy. There is no division or difference between the Pakistan Taliban and the Afghan Taliban. They are one power. If they like to say that their commander is Mullah Omar then they can say so. He is their commander. We are Muslims and they are also Muslims. They can reach us whenever they want and very easily. They stood by us and are prepared to stand by us at all times. Our links are the same and they can participate with us in our jihad because it is the jihad of the [Muslim] nation, and they can do that whenever they want. Our relations are very strong.
[Zaydan] Do you support the peace treaties that were signed by the Pakistan Taliban fighters and the Pakistan Government? Do you back these treaties?
[Rahmani] There is nothing like establishing security in the country. We have been aware from the beginning that in Pakistan there had never been war between the government and anyone else in the past. However, since the Americans entered Afghanistan and bombed homes, schools, and residential areas, Pakistan Taliban and the people were forced to confront and fight the Americans. Therefore, they were forced to confront the Pakistan Government, but the loser was the government and the real enemy was the United States. All these things were carried out through the tricks and deception of the Americans. Therefore, the latest treaty to stop fighting and establish peace and security has been a positive step. We support and back this step because we do not want a war between Pakistan and the Muslim people in Pakistan because such a war makes the Crusaders live in safety and security.
[Zaydan] What is the nature of your relationship with Hekamtyar's Hizb-e Islami, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and others?
[Rahmani] According to our experience, we appreciate and thank all those who support us against infidelism and corruption. We appreciate the support of all Muslims and recognize their noble stand. We need them and we appreciate all those who supported Muslims and stood by them against infidelism and the infidels.
[Zaydan] A conference was held in Paris to collect donations and rebuild Afghanistan. The states that participated in this conference pledged to contribute billions of dollars. How does the Taliban Movement view this issue?
[Rahmani] These states come to Afghanistan, and announcements are issued that billions of dollars have been contributed. In fact the money that are announced for Afghanistan and the Afghan people deceive the Afghan people with the aim of fomenting wars among them. Meanwhile, the money is spent to serve the Americans and the Afghan government but nothing reaches the Afghan public at all. The money that was mentioned at the Paris conference goes to the Americans and their collaborator and treasonous administrations and they spend them in an unfair manner. They will not meet the needs of the people at all. They are spent, as the previous money was spent, to satisfy their pleasures and desires, on their luxury and as monthly salaries and administrative purposes. They disappear into their pockets. Conferences were held in London, Japan, and elsewhere and it was announced that huge sums of money would come to Afghanistan. But what was the result? Further suffering for the Afghan people and more money in the pockets and accounts of the collaborators. The people's suffering increases in all fields of services.
[Zaydan] How do you view stands like those of Rabbani and Sayyaf and their alliance with Karzai?
[Rahmani] Rabbani, Sayyaf, and their ilk announced at the beginning that they were against infidelism and the infidels but after they acquired money, power, mundane pleasures, and ill-gotten gains. They were deceived by the pleasures and temptations of this mundane world. They started working in pursuit of these pleasures and they stood by infidelism and the infidels.
We totally reject all these kinds of policies. We reject them because when someone declares that he supports jihad and the mujahidin and then stands by the infidels to realize his personal interests, he will not find a single Muslim to stand by him. He will not find anyone to approve of his deeds in any way whatsoever.
[Zaydan] What is the nature of your relations with the Iraqi resistance? Do you have contacts with them? Do you cooperate with the Iraqi resistance?
[Rahmani] You are aware of the role of the Iraqis in the Afghan jihad. Their relations are good with Taliban of Afghanistan. The Muslims who are fighting in Iraq generally have good relations with Taliban and we have strong ties with them. Based on this, and because of our ties of brotherhood, our relations are good. We extend assistance to them as much as we can. This cooperation is continuing.
[Zaydan] What is the nature of this cooperation?
[Rahmani] Our relations include exchanging experience and advice. Without going into details, I would say that we cooperate with them in all fields of jihad that benefit both of us.
[Zaydan] How do you view your ties with Iran and Pakistan?
[Rahmani] No country should take sides with a certain party or group but it must consider the public interests. However, since Pakistan and Iran are neighbors of Afghanistan, they must consider the public interests of the Afghan people. They must not stand with a certain side but must care for the needs and concerns of the people. This relationship should not be based on certain individuals; it must not be a personal relationship. This will not serve the political stability of the region. We ask Iran and Pakistan to stand by the Afghan people; we ask them to help these oppressed people.
[Zaydan] Dear viewers, at the end of this interview, we thank Mullah Mohammad Hasan Rahmani, personal adviser to the Afghan Taliban Movement's Leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, and member of the Afghan Taliban Movement's Higher Shura Council, Thank you.

[Description of Source: Doha Al-Jazirah Satellite Channel Television in Arabic -- Independent Television station financed by the Qatari Government]

Pakistan: Security Forces Search Militants in Taliban Leader's Seminary in FATA
SAP20080730101001 Lahore Daily Times Online in English 30 Jul 08
[Report by staff reporter: "Forces raid Haqqanis madrassa in N Waziristan"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
MIRANSHAH: Security forces on Tuesday conducted a search of madrassa of a top Taliban commander, Jalaluddin Haqqani, in the North Waziristan Agency but no arrests were made, a security official said.
Hundreds of Frontier Corps and Levies personnel raided Mumba-e-Uloom and carried out the search for two hours from 2pm to 4pm, but found it to be abandoned. The seminary is located in Danday Darpa Khel, half a kilometre north of Miranshah, the agency headquarters.
The search, the first of its kind in a year after a peace agreement was signed with militants in the area, was carried out after reports that militants had taken shelter in the building.
Jalaluddin Haqqani is a prominent Taliban commander who fought during the 10-year war against the former Soviet Union. He also served as a minister in the 1996-2001 Taliban government.
Meanwhile, Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur appointed Shamsullah as the new commander of the South Waziristan Agency after the killing of Mitha Khan two weeks ago.

[Description of Source: Lahore Daily Times Online in English -- Website of the independent, moderate daily, run by veteran journalist Najam Sethi and published by the Friday Times group. Strong critic of radical and jihadi elements. Provides extensive coverage of activities of jihadi/militant groups. Caters to the educated middle class, with an estimated hardcopy circulation of 20,000; URL: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk]

AFP: Pakistan Denies Intelligence Aided in Kabul Blast
JPP20080801063002 Hong Kong AFP in English 1327 GMT 01 Aug 08
[Danny Kemp]
ISLAMABAD, Aug 1, 2008 (AFP) - Pakistan on Friday angrily rejected a report that the United States has accused Islamabad's main spy agency of helping to plan a fatal bombing at India's embassy in Kabul last month.
The New York Times report comes amid growing signs of a rift between Washington and Pakistsan's Inter-Service Intelligence that could affect efforts to tackle Taliban and Al-Qaeda [Al-Qa'ida] militants.
Citing unnamed officials, the Times said intercepted communications had provided clear evidence that the ISI was involved in the July 7 suicide attack on the Indian mission, which killed around 60 people.
"It's rubbish. We totally deny it," foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq told AFP.
"This is a baseless allegation that the New York Times keeps on recycling using anonymous sources. These stories always die afterwards because there is no proof," Sadiq said, speaking from a regional summit in Sri Lanka.
Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said the report was "malicious propaganda".
"It is meant to defame ISI," Abbas told AFP. "This is a national institution which is vital for security. The ISI's role in fighting terrorism and extremism is exceptional."
India and Afghanistan have already accused Pakistan's shadowy spy agency, which backed the hardline 1996-2001 Taliban regime, of masterminding the embassy bombing.
Amid the rising tensions, the prime ministers of India and Pakistan are set to meet at the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit opening on Saturday.
The Times and Wall Street Journal reported that US officials believe the embassy attack was conducted by forces loyal to Afghan militant Jalaluddin Haqqani, who is tied to Al-Qaeda and based in Pakistan's tribal belt.
The Times did not specify what assistance ISI allegedly provided to Haqqani but said that intelligence officals involved appeared to be acting on orders from above.
"The Indians are absolutely convinced it's true, and they're right," an unnamed US official told the Wall Street Journal.
The Times said intercepts had provided "the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region."
Officials also told the paper that the ISI was feeding militants in the tribal areas information about the US military efforts, helping them avoid missile strikes.
On Wednesday, the Times reported that a senior CIA official confronted Pakistani officials this month with evidence of ties between the ISI and Haqqani.
Pakistan's army also denied that report, saying it was "unfounded, baseless and malicious."
The ISI has long been accused by Kabul and New Delhi of maintaining ties to militant groups it supported during fights against the Soviets and India, while also helping the Americans with the occasional arrest of a top Al-Qaeda figure.
Any rift between the US and Pakistani intelligence agencies reflects deepening US frustration over Islamabad's role in a worsening insurgency in Afghanistan, analysts said Thursday.
"We need to know whose side the army and the ISI really are on," Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who has long experience with Pakistani intelligence, told AFP.
The new intelligence "confirmed some suspicions that I think were widely held," one State Department official told the Times of the intercepted communications. "It was sort of this 'aha' moment. There was a sense that there was finally direct proof."
The paper said Pakistan was "no longer a fully reliable American partner" and that President George W. Bush on Monday confronted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani about the divided loyalties of the ISI.
According to the Times, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar told a Pakistani television network that Bush asked Pakistani officials, "Who is in control of ISI?"

[Description of Source: Hong Kong AFP in English -- Hong Kong service of the independent French press agency Agence France-Presse]

Militant Leader Denies Links Between Taliban in Pakistan, Afghanistan
SAP20080806098002 Lahore Daily Times Online in English 06 Aug 08
[Daily Times Monitor report: "'Afghan Taliban have no link with TTP'"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
LAHORE: A militant leader associated with Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani has said that the Afghan Taliban have no links with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), reported Dawn News on Tuesday. The channel quoted the TTP militant as saying that the Afghan Taliban were operating independently and had no links with the Taliban working in Pakistan's Tribal Areas. He rejected as propaganda speculation that the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan were working under one command, the channel reported.

[Description of Source: Lahore Daily Times Online in English -- Website of the independent, moderate daily, run by veteran journalist Najam Sethi and published by the Friday Times group. Strong critic of radical and jihadi elements. Provides extensive coverage of activities of jihadi/militant groups. Caters to the educated middle class, with an estimated hardcopy circulation of 20,000; URL: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk]

Pakistan: Militants Plan To Jointly Fight Coalition Forces in Afghanistan
SAP20080811105019 Karachi Ummat in Urdu 09 Aug 08 p 4
[Report by Muhammad Qasim: "Talks Between Taliban And Hizb-e Islami To Form Joint Military Command"]
Peshawar -- Well-known Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani has initiated efforts to forge a joint military command of the Hizb-e Islami [HI] and the Taliban against the coalition forces in Afghanistan. In the first phase of the process his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, has held talks with two well-known HI commanders, Mansur and Kashmir Khan, at an unidentified place in the Eastern Afghanistan.
According to sources, during the talks it was discussed that the war for the occupation of Afghanistan is causing damage to the resisting militants, and that the policy of individual resistance is also not yielding the desired results. Sirajuddin requested the HI commanders to speak to their top leadership about the matter and propose the formation of a joint military command.
According to the sources, the HI commanders agreed on the need to form a joint military command; however, they voiced their opposition to the policy of occupying a territory and burning down the schools therein, after the successful operation. They said that the matter would be further negotiated if the Taliban were willing to change their strategy on the two points mentioned above.
They also made HI's desire to have the command of resisting militants in the Eastern Afghanistan explicit, and suggested that the Taliban should be given the command the resisting militants in the South-Eastern and Western Afghanistan, leaving Laghman and Central Afghanistan under the command of the resistant fighters of the Hizb-e Islami-Khalis. The HI commanders have also made it clear to Sirajuddin that the condition made by some of the former Taliban leaders, demanding the chief and other commanders of the HI to commit themselves to Mulla Umar's leadership, will not be discussed.
To form a joint command, the militants need to concentrate on driving out the coalition forces from Afghanistan. A concrete strategy will be devised to achieve this end. The HI sources, when contacted, expressed the ignorance about such a meeting. However, other sources have confirmed it, and have said that it is about time that all mujahideen form a joint military command to carry out their operations under a mutually agreed strategy.

[Description of Source: Karachi Ummat in Urdu -- Sensationalist, pro-Usama Bin Ladin Urdu daily. Harshly critical of the US, Israel, and India. Propagates Muslim unity to counter US/Western influence. Circulation 20,000. Editor-publisher Rafiq Afghan is an Afghan war veteran.]

French Soldiers Describe Confusion, Friendly Fire in Afghanistan Ambush

EUP20080820177011 Paris LeMonde.fr in French 21 Aug 08
[Report by Jacques Follorou: "Wounded Soldiers Tell of Ambush, Combats, Mistakes"]
Kabul -- In the evening of Monday 18 August France experienced its first heavy losses in Afghanistan during an ambush that cost the lives of ten French soldiers and left 21 of their comrades wounded. According to a military source based in Kabul, the fighting lasted from 1330 until nightfall. The last wounded were evacuated at around two in the morning on Tuesday.
The ten soldiers who died were from the 8th RPIMa [Marine Infantry Paratroop Regiment], based in Castres (Tarn), the 2nd REP [Foreign Paratroop Regiment], based in Cali (Upper Corsica), and the RMT [Chad Regiment de marche], based in Noyon (Oise).
As soon as the deaths were announced officially, Nicolas Sarkozy sought to justify the presence and dispatch of French troops on Afghan soil. "The cause is just," declared the French president. "It is the honor of France and its armed forces to defend it. On behalf of all the French, I renew the trust of the nation in our armed forces to fulfill their mission." At the same time, when interviewed by Agence France-Presse, a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack. "This morning," declared Zabihullah Mujahed, "we set a trap for NATO troops in the Saroubi district with the aid of mines and rockets. We destroyed five vehicles and inflicted heavy losses."
The operation in which the soldiers were engaged was part of the extended mandate of French troops in Afghanistan, and in Kapisa Province in particular, a decision made by President Sarkozy following the NATO summit in Bucharest in early April. Soldiers from the 8th RPIMa, who arrived in Afghanistan on 23 July, were in the vanguard of a convoy, one that also included Afghan Army troops and US Army special forces, charged with regaining control of a zone abandoned to insurgents and lying between the provinces of Kabul and Kapisa.
Within the NATO command structure, in Kabul, it was confirmed Tuesday evening that the convoy's mission was to secure a road previously regarded as dangerous and little traveled between the districts of Saroubi, lying within a part of Kabul where French troops have been present since 2002, and Tag Ab, in the neighboring province of Kapisa to which the new contingent sent out by France this summer was dispatched.
This winding and endless road is ideal for ambushes and is in itself of little strategic interest as there are other roads into this region that is known as Kohistan. One can note simply the presence of a dam in the Saroubi district. This mission consisted of establishing a link between two provinces that are now under control of the French.
Speaking at a press conference in Paris, General Jean-Louis Goergelin, the army chief of staff, spoke of what he described as a "well organized trap." "When we arrived close to a pass, the section chief had the lead element of his section disembark to reconnoiter the site on foot." It was at that moment that "the sustained fire" of attackers surprised the patrol. "The section chief was immediately wounded in the shoulder, which contributed to the disorganization," added General Gerorgelin who described the attack as a "classic ambush plan." There then followed "a series of combats that lasted until late into the evening, on terrain that was extremely favorable to the enemy," said the general, while "air support was provided by the coalition."
This official account nevertheless seems very incomplete when compared with the accounts given by French soldiers wounded in the ambush who spoke with Le Monde Wednesday morning in Kabul.
These soldiers said the number of victims was due to the slow reaction by the command and serious coordination problems. The reconnaissance unit charged with approaching the pass on foot remained under enemy fire "for nearly four hours without reinforcements." "We had no more ammunition to defend ourselves with weapons other than our Famas [assault rifles]," said one of the wounded soldiers.
The wounded soldiers also claim that NATO air strikes supposed to enable the besieged soldiers to escape from the ambush missed their target and hit the French soldiers, as did shots fired by Afghan soldiers positioned further down. Radio communications were cut with the RMT, creating great frustration among the soldiers trapped on the pass.
"When we arrived at a distance of 50 meters from the line of peaks," explained one soldier, "the shooting began. It did not stop for six hours. The attackers included marksmen, they outnumbered us, and they were waiting for us. We heard them reloading their weapons."
The survivors of the attack also had questions regarding the absence of a rapid response force being placed on standby as is usual for this kind of risk mission. "It takes nearly three hours to reach the pass, enough time for the Taliban to be warned by their accomplices of our arrival."
Contrary to the official version, the victims were not all killed by the initial enemy fire but in the course of the clashes.
The area where the ambush took place, located north of Kabul, was long under the control of the Islamist movement Hezb-e-Islami, headed by warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. This organization is still present but the radical Islamist presence has become more diversified. Like Jalaluddin Haqqani in eastern Afghanistan, Hekmatyar moved from resistance to the Russian Army to fighting alongside Mullah Omar's Taliban movement.
It is this coalition of insurgents, Afghan Talibans and Hekmatyar fighters, allies of the Pakistani Taliban and of Al-Qa'ida that set the fatal trap for the French soldiers.
[Description of Source: Paris LeMonde.fr in French -- Website of Le Monde, leading center-left daily; URL: http://www.lemonde.fr]

Asia Times: 'Militants Ready for Pakistan's War'

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