|Before embarking on the journey that culminated on his tragic martyrdom on 24 March 2010, Col Imam and Khalid Khawaja met with General Mirza Aslam Beg at his residence and spent ample time with him. After his abduction while heading to North Waziristan from Bannu on 26 March, Col Imam was in the custody of an organization namely Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which is also known as Asian Tigers, Islamic Tigers and Punjabi Taliban until 30 September. Three video footages of Col Imam were released on different occasions when he was in custody of this group. The group has been contacting his family via telephone and email with intervals and has been threatening of the Khalid Khawaja-type consequences in case their demands were not met at the earliest. This group demanded release of 160 people from different jails of Pakistan in exchange for freedom of Col Imam and also threat that "Col Imam will be handed over to the country, which wanted him." And also, "our neighboring country has offered to purchase Col Imam in dollars." Now it is not difficult to judge as to why Hakeemullah Mahsud attended the jirgas, held after martyrdom of Khalid Khawaja, to seek guarantee of not harming Col Imam?
When differences cropped up within Lashkar-e-Jhangvi over d istribution of huge ransom amount received for release of British journalist Asad Qureshi, Sabir Mahsud killed Usman Punjabi and his colleagues while Hakeemullah Mahsud took Col Imam into custody after killing Sabir Mahsud and his colleagues on 30 September after which he remained in their custody until his martyrdom. During this period, neither this group released any video nor did set any deadline and also did not make any contact or demand to his family. This group remained silent about Col Imam for almost initial two months and did not consider it appropriate to respond to any contact whereas four videos of University of Peshawar Vice Chancellor Professor Ajmal, who is also being held by the same group, have so far been released.
According to reports, Col Imam made his first and last telephone call to his family in the last week of October. In fact, he wanted telephone number of General Beg. He talked to his son and said: "General Beg should talk to Haji Ibrahim, brother of Jalaluddin Haqqani, and he should advise them [Col Imam's captors] that I had not come here as a foe and I should not be released against any ransom or on any other condition." Col Imam also talked to General Beg and a report about Col Imam's call to his family appeared in a Karachi daily, 'Ummat', quoting General Beg.
The family members of Col Imam remained in constant contact with all the people, including the national security agencies, they thought could help them. They also talked to the people for whose independence and sovereignty Col Imam had put his life on stake for the last 30 years and they also approached those with whose efforts deal was struck for release of Asad Qureshi. The kidnappers had no contact with the family of Col Imam. According to some other reports, however, talks on payment of huge ransom and other demands for his release were going on when first report about Col Imam's murder besides his death because of cardiac arrest appeared on media on 23 January 2010. The independent sources were not confirming this report and reports about doubts and suspicions were appearing on media when the video of Col Imam's murder was released to media on 19 February.
It one has a look at the martyrdom of Col Imam and its motives, very surprising things come to fore. It never happened that the kidnappers would have killed a hostage during talks. A deadline is always set through any message, new report or video. The monthly journal of Darul Uloom Haqqani, 'Al-Haq' has rightly written: "The heirs of Col Imam were unable to pay huge ransom because their father was a man of modest means and could not accumulate wealth through corruption and illegal means as well as billions of dollars of Aghan jihad." The kidnappers may have definitely got something as ransom against his release because the extended family members of Col Imam were, according to some reports, ready to sell their each and every belonging. Then, why this happened?
The way Hakeemullah Mahsud considered it necessary to be present in person on the occasion of Col Imam's martyrdom, himself read the charge sheet containing self-crafted allegations, chanted slogans after getting 67-year-old unarmed and hapless captive brutally killed with his own weapon and after filming the whole incident released its video to the global media and not only this but did not hand over the dead body and demanded Rs20 million and release of his men in exchange for it, all this is extraordinary as well as surprising. Apparently, it seemed revengeful act of extreme proportion committed against Col Imam, who looked like an Afghan mujahid, spoke and understood Pashto, had expertise in using all types of arms, having leadership qualities of high standard and a hero of Afghan jihad. Why and how the matter took such a turn and reached such an extreme? Whether Col Imam, who held many important national secrets, was compelled to do something against Pakistan but he refused or Col Imam refused to accept the false and baseless charge sh eet against him despite extreme pressure and torture just like confessional statement of Khalid Khawaja was recorded.
Because of his rightful thinking and strongly good character, Col Imam had, in fact, become intolerable for some forces that chalked out an elaborate plane to eliminate him. The KGB had old wounds while now KHAD too had jumped into arena because US stooge Hamid Karzai was seriously opposed to Col Imam for knowing him very well. But the Indian "RAW"[Research and Analysis Wing] and US "CIA" were the most perturbed by the thoughts and acts of Col Imam. Col Imam was seriously opposed to the growing Indian activities and US interference in the tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The role of Col Imam with regard to Afghanistan was extremely important in the days to come. He was a big hurdle in the achievement of objectives of "RAW" and "CIA". The same forces struck a big deal to remove Col Imam from the way and put a huge price while the detail video is part of this package deal as well as a strong message for lovers of Islam's philosophy of jihad and those fighting for the independence and sovereignty of Afghanistan for whom Col Imam was a symbol and torchbearer.
The video of Col Imam's martyrdom, despite having terrible and frightening scenes, has conveyed a faithful message to the Muslim mujahidin across the world that when the time comes, how death is faced. When chained Col Imam is brought to the place of his killing at an extremely frightening location and environment in the mountainous terrain of North Waziristan, he first makes ablution with extreme confidence and peace. Now an extremely false and self-framed charge sheet against him is being read, sitting in his specific style on snowy and thorny stones, Col Imam is busy in remembrance [of God] with his eyes closed. His lips were lightly moving with the remembrance of God. In this open mountainous area, Col Imam, who was a man of deserts and mountains, was alone while around 10-15 people are there to kill him and encourage the killers. Now the stage of his martyrdom is closer. Col Imam stands up with courage and commitment. Three people, Hakeemullah Mahsud, one with blurred face and the third with covered face, were standing beside him. When Hakeemullah Mahsud addresses the masked man, Col looks towards him. Hakeemullah Mahsud hands over his weapon to the masked man, who is standing at around 4-5 feet from Col Imam. While standing on bumpy ground barefooted, Col Imam goes in upright position after leaning to his left for a moment. Straightening the sleeves of his shirt in an extremely graceful manner, Col Imam looks in the eyes of the killer and the masked killer opens fire on him. According to an Internet report, "brave Col Imam receives two bullets with his chest stretched and standing like a mountain and falls with the third bullet that hit him in the forehead. At the moment when death was staring him in the face, this true Muslim did not beg the savages for his life rather embraced martyrdom while reciting Kalima [the declaration of Islamic faith in single God] and chanting God is Great. His martyrdom has warmed up many hearts ∧ has created a desire for living like mujahidin and embracing the death like braves."
Without difference of nationality and religion, whoever saw this video could not desist from pay tribute to Col Imam's style of facing death. When a violent opponent of the philosophy of jihad watched this video in a gathering at Rawalpindi, he said: "I have been reading, writing and reciting a verse of Faiz Ahmed Faiz but could understand its practical interpretation on watching this video. Despite having serious difference with the thoughts and acts of Col Imam, I am saying with certainty that Faiz had stated about Col Imam that the dignity with which one went to the gallows lives forever while the life comes and goes, it has no worth."
An intellectual present in the gathering swore that in spite of Faiz being a big poet, he never wro te any of his verse in any of his writings, recited or read in any lecture but after watching this video, he is saying that "Col Imam! More caravans of lovers would emerge after collecting your standards from the battlefield." With this, he lost his balance and fell on the ground and repeatedly recited the same verse of Faiz.
The holy Koran says: "God never burdens anyone more than his capacity." Col Imam was a great human being and God passed him through a big examination. The bravery with which 67-year young hearted Col Imam all alone embraced death in a terrifying environment after passing through very difficult and tough examination during his detention in caves and basements, this beautiful fictional style of extraordinary steadfastness and young heartedness has now become a topic of folklore and fairytales. Col Imam had desired at any moment of acceptance that "may God grant me martyrdom and that too with courage." God accepted his plea and granted him martyrdom in such a manner that it was seen by the entire world through media. He often used to say that people would not know even about my grave and God also accepted his this saying.
[Description of Source: Rawalpindi Nawa-e Waqt in Urdu -- Privately owned, widely read, conservative Islamic daily, with circulation around 125,000. Harshly critical of the US and India.]
Pakistan: Haqqani Network Reportedly Decides To Suspend Talks With Afghan Govt
SAP20110505115009 Karachi Ummat in Urdu 05 May 11
[Unattributed report: "Taliban Leaders Become Cautious; Sever Contacts With Couriers"]
Peshawar -- After the killing of Al-Qaida leader, Usama bin Ladin [UBL], in a US attack, the Taliban leaders have become cautious and they have ordered all of their couriers not to contact them. The comrades of Jalaluddin Haqqani and Mullah Omar have also directed the tribesmen, working as interlocutors for talks with the Afghan Government, not to contact them.
After the Al-Qaida chief's killing in a US military operation in Abbottabad, it was said that the United States succeeded to reach Usama through a courier. Following that report, the Taliban have not only ordered all the couriers to suspend links, but all the leaders have also been advised to change their residences and not to contact the old couriers until further instructions.
Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the media that the killing of UBL will not have any impact on them. However, the Afghan nation would remember him for waging jihad against the Soviet Union and then the United States, devoting his life for this purpose.
According to the Taliban spokesman, the Taliban have set rules for the war, and under the rules, they have to change their strategy. However, all the important Taliban leaders have ordered all the couriers to suspend their activities, and the leaders have been directed not to contact the couriers so that any big loss could be averted.
Meanwhile, reliable sources told daily Ummat that the Jalaluddin Haqqani Network has prevented some tribal elders of Khost, who would facilitate talks between him and Karzai, from making any further contacts, and said that the interlocutors should not try to make any contacts with the Taliban until further orders for talks between the Taliban and the government because for the time being, the Taliban cannot continue talks with the Afghan Government and a strategy will be devised after some weeks.
[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 Intelligence Report Cites Pakistani ISI Cooperation with Afghan Taliban
EUP20110510029004 Paris LeMonde.fr in French 10 May 11
[Report by Jacques Follorou: "Pakistan: Secret Services' Murky Dealings with Taliban"]
Enjoined, following Usama Bin Ladin's death, to account for its links with jihadist groups but also with the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani authorities could feel and that their sovereignty is being threatened more than ever.
This, because relations between these groups and Pakistan, and particularly its military authorities and its intelligence services -- the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) -- are not confined to isolated lapses. The Afghan Taliban and the clan led by warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani are regarded by Islamabad as channels for Pakistan's foreign policy.
Le Monde has had access to confidential French intelligence documents but also UN documents and US and Taliban military sources in Afghanistan, which make it possible to illustrate the nature of the ISI's ties with the Afghan insurgents.
At a meeting with Le Monde in Kandahar at the beginning of December 2010, a former local Taliban chief of this province described the profound interaction between the ISI and his movement. According to "Mokhless," a pseudonym, ISI agents "finance and control" the Taliban movement's activities in Quetta "via the major commanders who live off the Pakistanis' money."
Quetta, a Pakistani city south of the country, along the border with Afghanistan, not far from Kandahar, is the headquarters of Mullah Omar, the Afghan Taliban leader. "Mokhless" also said -- as do the new generation of young Taliban living in Afghanistan -- that he was "shocked" by the "the omnipresence of ISI agents, even within the Taliban shuras (councils.")
An official of the UN High Commission for Refugees in Afghanistan confirmed in April that his organization was being denied access to the Afghan refugee camps in Quetta. "These camps are controlled by the ISI and Taliban stay there using refugee cards, which enable them to cross both borders as they please."
Following the Afghan Taliban's recovery in Afghanistan in 2005-2006, the ISI's murky role began to be noted. In December 2006 an ISI officer, Syed Akbar, was arrested by Afghan intelligence (NDS.) According to NDS, "in 2005, Akbar escorted Usama Bin Ladin from the Afghan province of Nuristan to the Pakistani district of Chitral." Agents of the United States' FBI visited this part of Pakistan at the beginning of 2006 to verify its claims, in vain.
In 2008 the ISI's presence clearly emerged from reports published by UN security in Afghanistan. According to a 13 August note, "every province in the southeast of the country has contact with the ISI. Ghazni is under the responsibility of Colonel Salim, who visits every two months to assess the status of the insurgency and to set new targets."
Based at Miram Shah, the administrative headquarters of the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan, and travelling to Dubai, he was in touch with Syed Yasir, a Talib released from prison in exchange for the release of hostages. "Yasir," the United Nations added, "is involved in drug trafficking in league with Afghan parliamentarians."
This policy is steered from the very highest political and military level in Pakistan. Matt Waldman, research fellow at the London School of Economics, says in a report published in 2010, with regard to relations between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan, that Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and one of the ISI's leaders met in April 2010 with some 50 Taliban chiefs in a secret prison in the country. Blaming their detention pressure from the United States, Mr Zardari apparently added: "You are part of our people, and we are friends; when you are released, we will support you in your operations."
When asked, the Pakistani military authorities attribute these ties to the fact that the Afghan Taliban do not pose a threat to Pakistan and that they are legitimate interlocutors, not jihadis, who are part of the regional political landsc ape. "They are part of our country's future in the region," Gen Athar Abbas told Le Monde, for instance.
However, it is more difficult for Islamabad to justify its ongoing relations with the clan led by Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani. This symbolic mojahedin figure during the war against the Soviet occupation, then minister of tribal affairs under the Taliban regime, from 1996 to 2001, is now, together with his sons, an autonomous chief ruling over an area covering eastern Afghanistan and the tribal area of North Waziristan.
Combating the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan, they are behind most of the attacks perpetrated in Kabul and are portrayed by NATO as "an enemy as dangerous as Mollah Omar."
This clan, very closely associated with the ISI and loyal to Mollah Omar, is, unlike the Afghan Taliban, linked to jihadist groups, and particularly to Al-Qa'ida, hosting its members and supporting its activities. Since then the father has handed over to his sons, and particularly to Sirajuddin and Badruddin Haqqani. "The ISI has led us to believe on several occasions that the father was dead so that we would leave him in peace," a US officer posted to Kabul said. There brother, Nasiruddin, born of an Arab mother, acts as interpreter in talks with Al-Qa'ida members.
The Haqqani network has several command centers, often close to the clan's villages, such as Zambar, in Sarabi District, Khost Province, in Afghanistan, and the village of Dande Darba Khel, near Miran Shah, the only tribal area that the Pakistani Army has refused to attack, to Washington's great displeasure.
According to a 2009 French intelligence report, "the ISI intervened in 2003 to help to reorganize the Haqqani group's fighting capabilities." According to this source, ISI posts along the border area between the tribal zones and Afghanistan and in the cities of Mir Ali and Miram Shah "make it possible to protect the Haqqani network."
French intelligence believes that Sirajuddin has maintained the "special relations" that his father forged with Col Sultan Amir, aka Colonel Imamr, during the anti-Soviet jihad. In 2009, his half-brother and deputy, Sangin Zadran, was put in charge of ties with the ISI post at Miram Shah. The ISI's Col Mobin-ur-Rehman maintained contact with the network from his post at Bannu, east of North Waziristan.
"Thanks to this collusion with the ISI," the report says, leaders of the Haqqani network have escaped Pakistani Army operations outside North Waziristan and the US drone strikes, 60 percent of which now target members of this clan.
[Description of Source: Paris LeMonde.fr in French -- Website of Le Monde, leading center-left daily; URL: http://www.lemonde.fr]
Pakistan: Taliban Factions Reportedly Adopt New Strategy After Bin Ladin's Death
SAP20110510115002 Rawalpindi Jang in Urdu 10 May 11 p 8
[Report by Jamshed Bukhari: "All Three Taliban Factions Evolve New Strategy Against NATO Forces"]
Karachi -- According to highly reliable sources, in the wake of death of Al-Qa'ida Chief Usama Bin Ladin, three Taliban factions have devised new strategy for the ongoing Badr war against the NATO forces and Afghan National Army in Afghanistan.
According to sources, the Taliban have advised Mullah Omar that he should not maintain more contacts. Accordingly, Mullah Omar has advised that all contacts regarding the war, codenamed Badr, should be established with former Kandahar Governor Maulvi Hassan Rahmani and Abdul Qayyum Zakir.
According to the new strategy, the Taliban have requested the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan [TTP] leaders, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, Maulvi Nazir, and Mullah Nur Tufan, to send more contingents of fighters. However, the TTP has not made any progress on the request.
According to sources, under the new strategy, the Taliban will target military sites of NATO and Afghanistan in Khost, Kandahar, and Nangarhar. In this connection, three Taliban groups, including those of Mullah Omar, Jalaluddin Haqqani network, and Hekmatyar network, have agreed to carry out joint operations. The aim of recent battle Badr is to inflict more human loss on foreign forces.
[Description of Source: Rawalpindi Jang in Urdu The War, an influential, largest circulation newspaper in Pakistan, circulation of 300,000. One of the moderate Urdu newspapers, pro-free enterprise, politically neutral, supports improvement in Pakistan-India relations]
Pakistan: Hezb-e-Eslami Ready To Join Hands With Taliban
SAP20110515109008 Karachi Ummat Online in Urdu 15 May 11 p net
[Report by Muhammad Qasim: "Jalaluddin Haqqani Trying for Patch Up Between Taliban and Hezb-e-Eslami"]
Peshawar -- The Hezb-e-Eslami has dropped hint for an agreement with the Taliban. The message of Golboddin Hekmatyar has been conveyed to the Taliban. Sources are of the view that the Taliban and the Hezb-e-Eslami has started discussion to draw out a future line of action after the killing of Usama Bin Ladin in a US operation. According to sources, a very important meeting between Hezb commanders and the Taliban took place in the Afghan province of Paktia through Mawlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani's representatives.
Later, Hezb's representatives informed their chief Golboddin Hekmatyar about the details of the meeting. He said to his representatives that he was ready to sign a deal for the present as well as for the future. According to sources, the Taliban and the Hezb-e-Eslami will join hands for actions against the United States according to this two-point agreement. They will also adopt a common strategy in this connection in the future.
Sources said that the Taliban had sought time in this connection. However, it has been agreed upon in the preliminary talks that the Taliban and the Hezb-e-Eslami will not allow permanent bases to the United States in Afghanistan whether the deal moves forward or not.
[Description of Source: Karachi Ummat Online in Urdu -- Website of the 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; URL: http://www.ummatpublication.com]
Asia Times: 'Trouble Ahead in Pakistan's New US Phase'
CPP20110518715045 Hong Kong Asia Times Online in English 0202 GMT 18 May 11
[Report by Syed Saleem Shahzad: "Trouble Ahead in Pakistan's New US Phase"; headline as provided by source]
ISLAMABAD - Relations between the United States and Pakistan are at a "make or break" stage, John Kerry, chairman of the US Senate foreign relations committee, said during his fence-mending trip to Pakistan on Monday.
For now, a break appears to have been averted with the opening of a "new phase" of American operations in the region under a fresh agreement between Washington and Islamabad for the routing of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. In a joint statement issued in Islamabad, the countries agreed on Monday to work together in any future actions against "high-value targets" in Pakistan.