Taleban Government Appoints Two New Ministers

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[Correspondent]: Mr Haqqani! Nowadays, a variety of solutions are presented on a national and international level for establishing peace in Afghanistan by solving the Afghan conflict. There are discussions about this issue in meetings inside the country, as well as outside in neighboring countries. How much effect do you consider these steps will have on this part of the world?
[Haqqani]: In my view, I do not agree with the use of the word conflict for the present issue in Afghanistan. Or, in other words, I do not consider it appropriate to use the word conflict for the present situation in Afghanistan because according to the actual meaning of this word, conflict stands for a dispute among several countries, where everyone claims ownership, considers its claim as real, and gives arguments... But, there is no such issue in Afghanistan as everything is as clear as the day. Afghanistan belongs to the Afghans. It is the country of Muslims, which has been invaded by the foreign American Crusaders and their allies. They have spread insecurity in the country. They martyr dozens of innocent Afghans on a daily basis. They destroy their houses... The only way towards a solution is that these invaders should pull out from Afghanistan with honor, and they should leave this Islamic country to its real owners. If they do not follow this, then many such scoundrels in history have been forced to flee Afghanistan by the Afghans, with the power of their swords. The British and Russians are the living examples of such occurrences.
[Correspondent]: Mr Haqqani! Many people think that after the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan, there would be bloodshed in the country for political authority, as was the case at the time of the withdrawal of the Russian troops from the country. What is your view about that?
[Haqqani]: There were 15 different political organizations at the time of the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan. And all of them had the desire for political authority in the country due to a variety of political reasons. They had forgotten the sacred purpose of Jihad. But that is not the case today, as the present scenario is different from that situation in two ways:
Firstly: In the present situation, there exists only one Islamic Emirate as compared to the 15 different organizations at that time. According to followers of Jihad and the government, it [Islamic Emirate] has been successful in the country as compared to the past.
Secondly: The present Afghans have learnt a lot from their bitter experiences in the past. I can say with surety that the unpleasant incidents of the past will not be repeated this time (God willing).
[Correspondent]: Mr Haqqani! How do you rate the success of the resistance against the invaders?
[Haqqani]: Praise be to God. The resistance of the Mujahidin, against the invaders, has been going on with great pace. As a result, they have been forced to leave many parts of the country. All parts in the southwest, except the capital of Helmand province, have been freed from the occupation of the NATO and its allied forces. Americans have been forced to think about v acating most of the areas in Nuristan province, located in the east. Most parts of the southern province of Khost have been evacuated from the Americans, during the last 10 or 11 months. Besides, the media in the west and the rest of the world have been acknowledging the defeats of the American forces on daily basis, which is itself a proof of the complete defeat of the Americans, and the victory of the Mujahidin fighting against them.
[Correspondent]: How do you see the situation in Afghanistan if the foreign invaders pull out from the country?
[Haqqani]: Sovereignty and steadfastness are the great gifts of God. Sovereignty is of great value for everyone, but it is of greater worth for the Afghans, who have sacrificed their lives for achieving it, and are giving sacrifices, even now. At the moment, when the sacred entity of our country is under the foreign invasion, it is a great trouble on us. The believers always pray: "Our Lord! Make us not a trial for those who practice oppression." [Koranic verse, Yunus, 10:85] "And deliver us by Thy Mercy from those who reject (Thee)." [Koranic verse, Yunus, 10:86]
The only way to get out of this trouble is Jihad. This trouble can be eliminated with Jihad only. Not only the Afghans, but the Muslims around the whole world can get rid of this trouble by means of Jihad. May God remove this trouble from our country. May the whole Muslim nation of this country get freedom as a result of their sacrifices, so that they may make a system, in accordance with the orders of the sacred book of God almighty, which would guarantee peace, prosperity, and honor. Then Afghanistan would become a long-lasting, independent and sovereign state of the world, while the Afghans would work for the reconstruction of their country under the shadow of independence (According to the orders of God).
[Correspondent]: Mr Haqqani! In this last question, what message would you give to the Muslims around the world?
[Haqqani]: According to the saying of God, "And what happened to you that you do not fight in the way of God." I remind all the Muslims that it is a very big achievement that the proudest of the world is almost on its knees due to the resistance of the Mujahidin of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, and Somalia. Collective effort on the part of the Muslims around the world is required to complete this grand deed. This is required for the Jihad. This is required for sacrifices and martyrdom. And this is the only way for the Muslims of the whole world to get rid of the hold of the Crusaders of the world. That is all. "And say: Work (righteousness): Soon will Allah observe your work, and His Messenger, and the Believers: Soon will ye be brought back to the knower of what is hidden and what is open: then will He show you the truth of all that ye did." [Koranic verse, At-Tauba, 9:105]
And may God's peace and mercy be upon you

[Description of Source: Taliban Voice of Jihad Online in Pashto -- presents the anti-Western, anti-Afghan government views of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban umbrella organization under Mullah Omar. Principally directed toward the Afghan diaspora, foreign readers, and the small Afghan elite with access to the Internet]

Pakistan: Report Discusses Impact of Haqqanis Brokering Kurram Agency Peace Deal

SAP20110219118020 Karachi Dawn Online in English 19 Feb 11
[Report by staff correspondent: "Kurram deal  Haqqanis' Afghan insurance policy"]
ISLAMABAD, Feb 18: No doubt, the Kurram peace deal, which has eased tension in the valley and ended the four-year blockade of the main Thall-Parachinar road and caused jubilation among tribesmen, but it is yet to be seen how long the pact holds ground and helps to maintain normalcy in the region.
It is an open secret that the Haqqani group, one of the outfits on the most wanted list of the US government, brokered the deal between sectarian factions. Commander Jalaluddin Haqqani's younger brothers - Ibrahim and Khalil - played a key role in brokering the agreement.
While Haqqani's efforts for restoration of peace in this strategically important part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) have amazed local population, it has worried the Afghan government.
When Haqqani group's contacts with the dominant Turi tribe in Kurram Agency were reported in the national and international media, senior officials of the Afghan government contacted elders and expressed concerns over the possibility of 'some concessions' being given to the group for strategic purposes in return for lifting the blockade of the area.
Before the deal was announced, the Afghan authorities invited local elders for talks which were held in Afghanistan's Paktia province. A senior Afghan official conveyed the concerns about the Haqqani group being provided some space in Kurram. "We dismissed Afghan government's apprehensions," said a source privy to the meeting. The Afghan official was told that the Haqqani group neither demanded any facilities nor the Turis were willing to give their territory to be used for launching activities across the border.
Background interviews and information gathered from various sources reveal that the Haqqani network is the main guarantor of the deal. The security establishment was on board and facilitated the process. In fact the six-point peace agreement was signed in Murree in October 2008, but its implementation was withheld for some unknown reasons.
Two parliamentarians from Kurram deposited Rs40 million with the Haqqanis as surety, according to the sources. Under the deal, the government also pledged a compensation package to win over the local people.
The banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), one of the major actors in the three-year bloodshed, has accepted the deal, reportedly half-heartedly.
The sources said the TTP was not in favour of the agreement, but Commander Fazal Saeed, in-charge of the banned group, finally bowed to pressure and announced support for the deal at a press conference.
According to one source, Commander Fazal, who carries a head money of Rs5 million, was given a stern warning - "Either you are with us or with the other side (TTP)."
Kurram has been returning to normality since the announcement of the agreement. People have started travelling on the Thall-Parachinar Road without security convoys. Members of the tribal jirga headed by former federal minister Waris Khan Afridi are shuttling between Parachinar and Sadda discussing modalities for the complete implementation of the deal. But long-term prospects of the deal are still unclear. The return of the internally displaced families, their rehabilitation and compensation to be paid to them are major issues which require lots of patience and resources.
Haqqanis' expectations
What can be the motives of the Haqqani group in reaching the peace deal? Sources said that during negotiations the Haqqani brothers never demanded any concession in return for opening the main road.
"Sure, Haqqanis have admitted that situation in Kurram had affected their cause in Afghanistan, but never sought route or passage through Upper Kurram," said one source involved in the talks.
The Haqqani group started mediation between the elders of Turi and Bangash tribes in early 2009 when militants lost Bagzai, their main stronghold in Lower Kurram. Negotiations, however, remained inconclusive.
Residents of Upper and Lower Kurram were given some con cessions, including a partial opening of the main highway and resumption of chartered flights between Peshawar and Parachinar.
But at the same time, the border with Afghanistan in Upper and Lower Kurram was sealed and supply of food items, fuel and other essential goods was stopped. Convoys were attacked on the Thall-Parachinar Road.
The sources said that clashes in Shalozan Tungi area near the Afghan border in September 2010 was the turning point.
"Shalozan was their (militants) last hope, which they thought could put them into a bargaining position," they said, "but they failed again," adding that when all options of subduing the local population failed the strategy was changed.
An elder who is familiar with recent arrangements said that the Haqqani network undertook initiatives for restoration of peace in Kurram Agency against the backdrop of growing understanding between President Hamid Karzai and those who had influence over Pakistan's Afghan policy.
Now, an option for securing stakes for the Haqqani network in Afghanistan's future political settlement is being reviewed at the highest level. The option is to give the group some share in power in Afghanistan's southern provinces, which will end violence in the volatile Kurram Agency.
About the Haqqani network's offers, the elder said that even its affiliates would help the government in maintaining peace in Hangu and Dera Ismail Khan districts, which are facing the worst type of sectarian violence.
To that end, the Haqqani network will use its influence over rouge sectarian elements, which are part of their operations, to end attacking innocent civilians. "If the formula works in Kurram then it can be replicated in other troubled areas," he remarked.

[Description of Source: Karachi Dawn Online in English -- Website of Pakistan's first and most widely read English-language daily promoting progressive views. Generally critical of military rule; URL: http://www.dawn.com]

Pakistan: Article Lauds Army Officer Col Imam for Role in Afghan Jihad
SAP20110222109004 Islamabad Jinnah in Urdu 22 Feb 11 p 3
[Article by Hafiz Tahir Mahmud Ashrafi: "Why Silence on Col Imam's Killing"]
I am sorry to say that whatever has happened regarding the issue of Colonel Imam, it should not have happened. Although I am not certain about it, the evidences are clarifying that Col Imam has passed away. I have nothing to say about who was Col Imam, what he did, and what his mission was, if he had one. I am only interested in the fact that he was associated with the Afghan jihad since his youth to old age.
Several Taliban leaders, including Mullah Omar, paid homage to him more than their mentors. Khalid Khawaja who took Col Imam to the tribal regions has also died and now Col Imam has also died. This hardihood [author] had been silent on the issue of Col Imam for the past one month. My heart did not accept that Col Imam would have been killed, and despite all of these reports, I did not have the courage to write about Col Imam's killing. I had no relation with Col Imam except that he opposed the United States and supported the Afghan Taliban. I am also of the same opinion. However, whatever that has happened is unacceptable.
Darul Uloom Haqqani, which is called the school of the Taliban, where there is Maulana Samiul Haq, who is called the Taliban godfather by the Westerners, to whom I talked on the night of 21 February about this incident. He is also sorrowful about this tragedy. The journal Majallatul Haq [Right Journal], a monthly published from Darul Haqqania, has published a full page on this tragedy. I present some lines to the readers.
Although several chapters and fronts of the jihad fought against the Russian imperialism are memorable and several of them are just planted, some people are there who remained associated with the Afghan jihad and the Taliban movement for several years because of their strong determination, jihadist spirit, and sacrificing character. It is hard to find their examples in the history.
Col Imam was the same figure who practically did a lot for the Afghan jihad. He was at the forefront of all movements, whether there were political, military, or other issues. At every front, every turn, and every critical juncture, he performed services for the public of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he could not get the fame and status that he deserved. He was a simple and humble man. He was a great man, saint, mujahidin, and saintly figure. He was abducted by an unidentified group in Waziristan for ransom. The Pakistani Government and particularly Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] did not make serious and sincere efforts for his release. Therefore, he remained in their custody for two years. His family was also unable to pay the ransom, as he left nothing for them.
He could not get his share from corruption, illegitimate earning, and particularly billions of dollars from the Afghan jihad. Therefore, he was killed. Moreover, he was also the "most hated" person for the United States. Therefore, his agency did not make efforts or paid ransom, nor appropriate efforts are being seen for the recovery of his body.
Col Imam's martyrdom and the helplessness of his agency are regrettable and condemnable. Had somebody else served some other country in such a way, what would his government and agency have not done? Most of the outfits associated with Afghanistan have announced their disassociation from his abduction and martyrdom. It is not unknown as to what type of treatment was meted out to him and at whose behest. However, all Muslims of Pakistan and Afghanistan associated with the Afghan jihad are sad about this tragedy and pray for his lofty status in the life hereafter. It was his strong desire to embrace martyrdom and remain at the front and that was fulfilled.
The Afghan Taliban would also have to break their silence on the issue of Col Imam. Maulana Jalaluddin Haqqani and Khalifa Sirajuddin Haqqani, who live in the hearts of the jihadists, should also adopt a clear stance on this issue. I want to convey this to Mullah Omar and Usama Bin Ladin for the first time with my broken heart as what is this a ll. People who love the jihadists are being put to test. Are people fulfilling this wish to further weaken Pakistan by paving the way for operation in North Waziristan? Are people engaged in this are hell-bent on isolating the mujahidin in Afghanistan?
I do not make tall claims, nor do I think my articles are important. However, when a blast occurred in Meena Bazar, Peshawar, from Mustafa Abu Yazi to Azam Tariq, spokesman of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan [TTP], announced their disassociation in response to my article. Is it possible that that the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qa'ida should take a clear position and cheer up people harboring love with the jihad and jihadists? If it is not possible, I will have to say that this incident has grieved the Muslims.
Muslims' hearts are in grief because of this accident with Col Imam. They did not get encouragement from this incident; however, they have got discouraged. They are now thinking whether the position they adopted after 9/11 is wrong. To conclude, to clear the position of Col Imam, I want to say that had he been benefiting from the ISI, it would have seriously deliberated on his release. He used to speak against the policies of the government and Army after 9/11 day in and day out. He used to call himself a sinner and the pious and angels to the Taliban. Has Col Imam been punished for this?
The issue of Col Imam is serious and sorrowful. May God bless his family with patience and raise his status. I request to the Taliban leaders, who love jihad and jihadists, to immediately hand over the body of Col Imam to his family. They should at least reduce their pain of the martyrdom of Col Imam by acting on it without any further delay. May God bless Col Imam with high status in paradise and bless us with true understanding of Islam. It is possible that had he died a natural death, there would not have been anyone to remember him. However, now his own people and others all are grieved over his death. His killers are happy. People who used to tell him not to support them are saying that he was to meet this end. I request to all readers at this stage that they should pray to God to bless us with patience to write true and say the truth.
The state of helplessness and fear is that just Darul Uloom Haqqania has thought it appropriate to write on the issue of Col Imam. May God have mercy on us.

[Description of Source: Islamabad Jinnah in Urdu -- Daily owned by a prominent businessman who is mainly involved in real estate business and said to be close to military high-ups. Carries good investigative reports and conducts surveys on relevant issues. Editorials are harshly critical of US policies. Recently Jinnah has adopted sensationalist reporting and tends to splash corruption stories out of proportion. Editor Khushnood Ali Khan strongly criticizes Musharraf in his daily columns.]

Al Jazeera.net: Background: Who Are the Taliban?
GMP20110309966105 Doha Al Jazeera.net in English 1631 GMT 09 Mar 11
["Background: Who Are the Taliban?" -- Al Jazeera net Headline]
[ Computer selected and disseminated without OSC editorial intervention ]


With Afghan president Hamid Karzai pushing a reconciliation program that would bring elements of the Afghan insurgency into the government, there is a lot of talk about "the Taliban" - its motivations and goals.
But there are actually several main groups that comprise the Afghan insurgency, only one of which calls itself "the Taliban". All three share a hostility to the US and Nato presence in Afghanistan, but they have differing leadership and goals, and exercise varying degrees of co-operation. A brief primer: Quetta Shura TalibanNamed after the Pakistani city where it is believed to be headquartered, the Quetta Shura consists of much of the senior leadership from the Taliban movement, which ruled Afghanistan until 2001.

Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders are believed to be in Pakistan [Al Jazeera]

Mullah Mohammed Omar - the Taliban's "commander of the faithful" - heads the organisation, which routinely stages attacks against Nato forces in Afghanistan.
The Quetta Shura also runs a "shadow government" in Afghanistan. High-level members of the group serve as "governors" in 33 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, according to US intelligence officials; Taliban fighters collect taxes, operate a parallel judicial system, and man checkpoints along the roads.
The Taliban has shown slight interest in dialogue with Kabul, and several high-ranking members were reportedly holding quiet talks with the Karzai government last year. But the February arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Omar's deputy, has sparked a leadership crisis within the organisation and stalled that dialogue. Kai Eide, the former head of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan, has said that Baradar's arrest hurt the prospect of talks with the Taliban. Hezb-i-Islami
Hezb-i-Islami ("Islamic Party") is often called a "Taliban" group, but it actually predates the latter by more than a decade. The party was founded in 1975 by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who would later serve a brief stint as prime minister of Afghanistan; it played a key role in helping to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan.
The movement eventually split in two. One branch, a non-violent political party, now controls more than a dozen seats in the Afghan parliament and claims to be independent from Hekmatyar. The other remained loyal to Hekmatyar; it's often referred to as the Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin (or HiG, for short), and claims to command several thousand fighters in eastern Afghanistan.
Of the three insurgent groups, HiG is the one most willing to publicly talk about negotiations with Kabul. Representatives of Hekmatyar's movement met with Afghan officials in March and presented a 15-point "peace plan", which calls for the withdrawal of foreign forces, a cease-fire and a prisoner release. General Michael Flynn, the head of US intelligence in Afghanistan, has called Hekmatyar "absolutely salvageable".
But HiG leaders have been talking for years about reconciliation with Kabul, with little to show for it. Hekmatyar publicly spurned last week's peace jirga, and members of his organisation tell Al Jazeera they won't negotiate until foreign forces leave. And any talk of rehabiliating Hekmatyar is deeply unwelcome to many Afghan citizens who suffered through decades of human rights abuses committed by Hekmatyar's militia, most notably his incessant rocketing of Kabul in 1994.
Haqqani network
Finally there is the so-called Haqqani network, the eponymous organisation named after its leader, Jalaluddin Haqqani.
Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son run the network from Pakistan [GALLO/GETTY]
Jalaluddin and his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, are believed to live in Pakistan's North Waziristan province. They operate mostly in eastern Afghanistan, particularly in the provinces of Paktia, Paktika, Khost and Ghazni.
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