UPDATE: To read the second part click here.

NOTE: This interview is from the Afghan Ṭālibān and unedited below.

Zul Qadah 18, 1431 A.H, Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

As the readers of Alemarah website might know, a major enemy offensive has been ongoing in Kandahar province for the last one and a half months. Lately the enemy, through its biased media, claims to have rid the surrounding districts of Mujahideen, and to have gained substantial ground against Mujahideen in these areas. Alemarah recently had the opportunity to interview the district commander of Dand district, Mullah Abdullah Mubarak and ask him questions regarding the reality of the situation.

Alemarah: Firstly, could you tell us about the ongoing enemy operations in Dand district and how they came about?

Mullah Abdullah Mubarak: Dand district is located close to Kandahar city, and has a large number of Mujahideen operating inside it. The enemy became frightened that they might, just like Dand, lose Kandahar city to the Mujahideen and started preparatory operations in this district in the month of Ramadan. Enemy soldiers entered Mahlajat, Chalghor, Nakhoni, Khanjakak, Zila Khan and Salawat areas by helicopter and in huge numbers. The Mujahideen, decided to use guerrilla warfare tactics to cause them maximum damage.

We decided to mine all the main roads. When the enemy could not make any inroads, they bulldozed local’s farms and fields so as to gain at least some ground. These attempts proved futile and they suffered massive casualties when the Mujahideen mined there too, and conducted ambushes and missile attacks also. To put it bluntly, a day hasn’t passed, that at least 4 to 10 blasts haven’t detonated their patrols. The enemy then decided to randomly bomb the area using cruise and other missiles which killed civilians and destroyed their homes and fields. Many were forced to flee the district. After these criminal attacks, the enemy took local houses for their military barracks. The enemy has now abandoned most of these barracks. But in the areas they still occupy, they have neither come out, nor can they come out, due to heavy mining and Mujahideen ambushes. But even these bases are located in places where logistics and supply will be a big problem.

Alemarah: It is said that the civilians are the only ones who have been affected by this operation. Could you elaborate on this?

Mullah Abdullah Mubarak: To sum up the genocidal behavior of the enemy in one sentence: These kinds of crimes against civilians have not been seen before in history. I swear by Allah that so far only 5 of our Mujahideen have been Martyred, 3 have been injured and none have been captured. But the prison of Kandahar has been filled with civilians. I would like to summarize these crimes against the civilians of Dand by giving a few examples:

1. When the enemy came to Mahlajat in the morning, they blocked all the roads and blindfolded all who came their way. Nearly all the locals of Dand have shops in the city where they sell fruits and vegetables. Throughout the day the barbarians handcuffed and imprisoned around 300 civilians they called Taliban.

2. A few days earlier, the American invaders besieged Ghra and Mahi Village located in Zila Khan area of Dand district. Most people had left these villages. Ninety-seven people mostly village elders and children remained. Even these were not spared – they were stripped, blind folded, imprisoned, then released after 12 days of enduring many hardships.

3. All the new enemy barracks are in civilian houses and on their lands. They have bulldozed locals’ lands, fields, farms and houses as they try to make inroads against the Mujahideen. Some 500 homes and shops have been bulldozed in Nakhoni area alone. Similar crimes has been carried out in Khanjakak, Chalghor and all the other areas. They recently blew up local raisin houses in Chalghor. Nearly all incidents involve the demolition of homes with everything inside it.

Alemarah: The enemy says that they have killed and captured many Mujahideen and their leaders and destroyed many of their bases. How much of this is true?

Mullah Abdullah Mubarak: The American invaders decided that they would make check points in close proximity by destroying the homes and fields of civilians and this would rid the area of Mujahideen. They did not count on the Mujahideen’s guerrilla tactics. Now the enemy is trapped in barracks in various areas, with no control beyond 50 meters of their posts, and thus cannot come out. As for our casualties, only 5 Martyred, 3 wounded and no leaders killed or captured.

Alemarah: How has this operation affected the Mujahideen and what do you say about the claims of Ahmad Wali Karzai that Mujahideen bases have been destroyed throughout Dand and Kandahar?

Mullah Abdullah Mubarak: I don’t know how Ahmad Wali can make such claims. He cannot sleep in his own house due to constant Mujahideen attacks on it. If he was really honest in his claims then let him just once walk freely in Kandahar city let alone Dand and Panjwaee districts. All these claims are false. And the number of our groups and bases have not decreased compared to spring and summer time. Initially, due to the enemy operation, we decreased the number of Mujahideen but now that the enemy has tired and lost morale, these Mujahideen are returning because enemy numbers have become vast and much easier to target. I want to congratulate the nation for this victory. Our Mujahideen have not suffered any serious damage and the enemy cannot sustain this large force for long – especially with logistics of their newly built bases and barracks becoming harder to supply.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

UPDATE 4: Here is a German translation:

Von Osama bin Laden an das französische Volk:

Frieden sei mit denen, die den Rechtleitung folgen.

Das Thema meiner Rede ist über die Gründe für die Bedrohung eurer Sicherheit und die Entführung eurer Söhne.

Die Entführung von euer Experten in Niger, während eure Offiziere sie bewacht haben, ist eine Reaktion auf das Unrecht, das ihr den islamischen Nation zufügt.

Ist es fair, dass sie in dem Besatzung unseren Landes teilgenommen haben und neben den Amerikanern stehen wenn sie Kinder und Frauen töten, und danach wollen sie in Frieden und Sicherheit leben?

Wie könnt ihr euch vorstellen, dass ihr euch in den Sachen der Muslimen einmischt, besonders in Nord- und Westafrika, ihre Offiziere gegen uns unterstützt, und viel aus unseren Reichtum nimmt in verdächtigen Geschäften, während unser Volk unter Armut und Elend leidet?

Wenn ihr zu Unrecht denkt, dass es euer Recht ist, freien muslimischen Frauen das Tragen des Gesichtsschleiers zu verbieten, ist es dann nicht auch unser Recht, eure eindringenden Männer rauszuwerfen und ihnen die Kehle durchzuschneiden? Natürlich tun wir das.

Die Gleichung ist einfach: Wenn ihr tötet, werdet auch ihr getötet werden; wenn ihr Geiseln nimmt, werdet ihr selbst als Geisel genommen, wenn ihr unsere Sicherheit bedroht, werden wir eure Sicherheit zerstören; die Schuld lastet auf den, der anfingt.

Das einzige Mittel, eure Sicherheit zu bewahren, ist all das Unrecht und seine Wirkungen auf unseren Volk zu stoppen und am wichtigsten, eure Kräfte aus den bösen Krieg von Bush in Afghanistan zurückzuziehen. Es ist Zeit, dass die sogenannte direkte und indirekte Kolonisation beendet wird.

Ihr solltet Konsekvenzen daraus ziehen, wie tief Amerika gefallen ist wegen diesen unrechten Krieg, es ist am Rande der Kollaps an allen wichtigen Fronten und wird bald an die andere Seite der Atlantik zurückfallen, wenn Allah es so will.

Glücklich ist, wer von den Fehler von anderen lernt, und Frieden sei mit denen, die den Rechtleitung folgen.

UPDATE 3: Check out Andrew Lebovich’s thoughts on why UBL was targeting France.

UPDATE 2: Here is the English translation:

English translation of audio message from Usāmah Bin Lāden- “A Letter for the People of France”

UPDATE: Check out Leah Farrall’s take on the UBL audio.

NOTE: The main highlights of this video include Usāmah Bin Lāden discussing France’s ḥijāb ban that he states should be cancelled. In addition, the hostage taking by al-Qā’idah in the Islamic Maghreb in Niger is a justifiable act due to France’s transgressions and support for the American-led Afghan war, which he says they should withdraw from. Most importantly, Bin Lāden affirms, France should stop interfering in Muslim-related issues or affairs.

Nothing of significance here, just typical rhetoric. Previously, Dr. Ayman aẓ-Ẓawāhirī also discussed the issue of the ḥijāb on July 27, 2010 in a video statement eulogizing the death of Shaykh Muṣṭafā Abū al-Yazīd who was killed in a U.S. drone strike on May 21, 2010. He stated:

What France is waging … must push us to tightly hold onto our truthful faith to counter their deviational doctrines. We must call our daughters and sisters and mothers to wear ḥijāb and to support them and defend them. As every ḥijāb-wearing and niqāb-wearing female Muslim, who defends her ḥijāb, is a mujahid who defends the rulings of Sharia against the Crusade, secular, Western invasion.

Other than that, the only thing one can take away from this video is that As-Saḥāb Media is in a fairly safe area and has not been disrupted by the droning campaign since As-Saḥāb has released many videos in the past month.

UPDATE: See Farrall’s clarification below in the comments regarding the nature of this endeavor in comparison to past efforts.

NOTE: Though this is not the first time a forum has created an online college, according to Leah Farrall, I thought it would be worthwhile to mention this. Here is a paraphrased translation of the nine conditions and regulations for joining the college:

  1. The language of instruction is only in Arabic.
  2. The study period is over a two years and divided into four semesters.
  3. Each semester will last five months with thirty lectures per semester.
  4. A specialty teacher will conduct a class every five days and it is incumbent on the student to be prepared and ready for each lesson and not to be absent without telling the college’s management.
  5. A student that does not participate in class or raise any questions is considered absent.
  6. Any student that does not attend a lecture three times or more without having permission from the college will be terminated from the program.
  7. Students are evaluated based on participation and interaction in the class.
  8. One can enroll up until October 31, 2010.
  9. The first day of class will begin November 2, 2010.

The same post also stated that one should let the administrators know if they were interested in attending by responding in the same thread or contacting the Office of Student Affairs. In another thread, the Office of Student Affairs is allowing interested individuals to ask questions about the program through the enrollment date mentioned above.

Below is the statement announcing the establishment of Shamūkh College of Islamic Sciences.

“The young often realize the truth before the old and that laymen often recognize the truth ahead of the scholars.” – Adam Gadahn

For the second time in three weeks, Adam Gadahn has released a video message, this one titled “The Arabs And Muslims: between the Conferences of Desertion .. and the individual Duty of Jihād.” In it he uses the Mardin Conference, which was held this past March as a springboard to discuss the importance of jihād as being an individual duty (farḍ al-‘ayn) upon Muslims. I would like to highlight a few points:

From the Ashes of Iraq

Gadahn first directs his attention toward Arabs. Gadahn is trying to refocus Arabs and show them what is at stake: “Return once again to the call … and finish what you started.” Further, he argues that the possibility of mistakes and transgressions by the mujāhidīn is not an excuse to abandon the individual obligation of jihād: “A mistake isn’t treated by an even bigger mistake.” He affirms that these mistakes are not even close to the level of the transgression of the Crusaders and its proxies. This further reiterates the idea that following Abū Muṣ’ab al-Zarqāwī’s bloodlust in Iraq most Arabs were completely revulsed by AQ and they are still digging their way out of that mess.

‘Awlakī and “Lone-Wolfism”

Footage of Anwar al-‘Awlakī from a previous AQAP video release appears interspersed with Gadahn’s message. This could suggest that AQSL believes ‘Awlakī has become an asset to their cause. If this is the case, then one has to only look at ourselves, specifically the mainstream media and non-expert pundits who have hyped him up to the point where he could be seen by AQSL as an important tactical tool in their arsenal. It is a sad state of affairs that a guy who was mid-level AQAP at best has in only eleven months become so much more than his actual worth or standing in the wider AQ movement. One should look to J.M. Berger’s take on ‘Awlakī’s appearance in the video, which is a valid counterpoint to my above statement.

Gadahn also endorses the “lone-wolf” model that ‘Awlakī and his American pal Samīr Khān, the creator of Inspire Magazine, have called for recently, which was originally postulated by Abū Muṣ’ab al-Sūrī. Gadahn stated: “Don’t wait for some else, to do what you can do yourself.” To embolden potential recruits further, Gadahn continued:  “Here you are in the battlefield.” Gadahn also provided examples of who “lone-wolf’s” should take as an example: Muḥammad Aṭā (9/11), Ṣidīque Khān (7/7), Muḥammad Būyīrī (Theo Van Gogh), Niḍāl Ḥassān (Fort Hood), ‘Umar Fārūq ‘Abd al-Muṭallib (Christmas Day), and Faiṣal Shahzād (Times Square).

Veiled Snipe at Recanters

Toward the end of Gadahn’s statement he directs a message to those who have recanted. He does not directly say anyone or a particular group, but one could infer he was speaking to Sayyid ‘Imām ash-Sharīf (Dr. Fadl), the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), or others. He argues that the movement still is in need of their expertise and efforts. He tries to remind them of the good old days by articulating that those involved now are the sons of the second and new generation, which are indebted to their previous efforts. Gadahn concludes: “Finish what you started, and aid your religion and ummah.”

Mardin and Ibn Taymīyyah

Fundamentally, the thing that should be taken away from this video is that the Mardin conference is a thorn in the side of AQ since it delegitimizes the foundation of much their theoretical work and raison d’être. This is the epitomy of the so-called “war of ideas.” Since AQSL is taking this message on they most likely feel threatened by its message and clarification of Taqī ad-Dīn Ibn Taymīyyah’s fatwā (legal opinion/decree) at Mardin (see first conclusions 1-7 here).

As is highlighted by the quote at the top of this analysis, Gadahn and AQ are in an uphill battle since they do not have classically trained religious and scholarly credentials. Gadahn also undermines his argument when he discusses the importance of Ibn Taymīyyah to the AQ movement. He states that those who are carrying out the obligation of jihād are not relying or following Ibn Taymīyyah in the first place in issues of jihād or other things. Instead, they have their own fiqh (jurisprudence), ‘ulamā’ (religious scholars), and books, which they abide by far away from the Ḥanbalī legal school (there are four Sunnī legal schools). For example, Gadahn says the commanders and scholars of the Ṭālibān in AfPak are from the Ḥanafī legal school and would therefore not take their ideas from Ibn Taymīyyah. That is a slight of hand, though. To those who have no background in the madhhab’s (legal schools) then one might take Gadahn’s statement at face value. As the well respected Islamic scholar Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hakīm Murād explained:

It was at that time [circa 11th century], too, that the attitude of toleration and good opinion between the Schools became universally accepted. This was formulated by Imām al-Ghazālī, himself the author of four textbooks of Shāfi‘ī fiqh, and also of Al-Mustasfa, widely acclaimed as the most advanced and careful of all works on uṣūl,uṣūl al-fiqh fīl madhhab. With his well-known concern for sincerity, and his dislike of ostentatious scholarly rivalry, he strongly condemned what he falled ‘fanatical attachment to a madhhab’. While it was necessary for the Muslim to follow a recognised madhhab in order to avert the lethal danger of misinterpreting the sources, he must never fall into the trap of considering his own school categorically superior to the others. With a few insignificant exceptions in the late Ottoman period, the great scholars of Sunnī Islam have followed the ethos outlined by Imām al-Ghazālī, and have been conspicuously respectful of each others madhhab. Anyone who has studied under traditional ‘ulamā’ will be well-aware of this fact.

As such, Gadahn is either way out of his league or he does not recognize this precedent since he articulated that AQ has in effect their own legal school above. From this, one can see that the Mardin Conference caused Gadahn to enumerate apologética for his and AQ’s understanding of Islām. The question is who is winning this battle of ideas, the classically trained ‘ulamā’ or the global jihadist ‘ulamā’? I will have more to say about this at a later date.

Sunday October 17:

Top “Ten” Jihadi Forums 17 October 2010 – Aaron Weisburd, Internet Haganah: http://bit.ly/9yeXg1

Review of Contemporary Arab Thought: Cultural Critique In Comparative Perspective – Yoav Di-Capua, Current Intelligence: http://bit.ly/cRiG6i

Monday October 18:

Radicalisation on British University Campuses: a case study – Quilliam Foundation: http://bit.ly/bMFxJz

Saudi Disinformation? – Gregory D. Johnsen, Waq al-Waq: http://bit.ly/c6OAmC

Umarov Again Lambastes Dissident Field Commanders – Liz Full, The Caucasus Report: http://bit.ly/c257kq

Tuesday October 19:

Writings of Saeed Obeid al-Jamhi: A Fresh Yemeni Attack on al-Qaida Ideology – Youssef Aboul-Enein, Small Wars Journal: http://bit.ly/9vIsit

Prominent European Islamic Terrorist Renounces Extremism – Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, The Atlantic: http://bit.ly/93u7ET

Why U.S. Can’t Find Osama Bin Laden – Peter Bergen, CNN: http://bit.ly/bvaNUt

Thursday October 21:

Somalia: The Ethiopian Factor – Mogadishu Man Blog: http://bit.ly/aTnsNX

Nigerian Authorities Escalate Fight with Boko Haram – Alex Thurston, Sahel Blog: http://bit.ly/ag6BJT

AQAP’s Former Foreign Fighters – Clint Watts, Selected Wisdom: http://bit.ly/d3f8xB

Somalia: The Ethiopian Factor II – Mogadishu Man Blog: http://bit.ly/aK3ynB

The New Ideologues of the North Caucasus Jihadists – Murad Batal al-Shishani, Terrorism Monitor: http://bit.ly/9TrD6S

Analysis: Anwar Awlaki’s message to Inspire readers – Thomas Joscelyn, The Long War Journal: http://bit.ly/aY9ky0

Friday October 22:

Demilitarizing Jihad – J.M. Berger, Veterans Vision: http://bit.ly/acN5I9

Intelligence is Cramping al Qaeda’s Style – Mark Stout, Spy Blog: http://bit.ly/92xWEl

Somalia: The Ethiopian Factor III – Mogadishu Man Blog: http://bit.ly/drZ4HC

Is It Islamic or Islamist?: The West’s confusion spells trouble – Hayri Abaza & Soner Cagaptay, Newsweek: http://bit.ly/93jD8J

I have been reading the abridged version of Abū Muṣ’ab al-Sūrī’s book The Global Islamic Resistance Call (Da’wat al-Muqāwamah al-Islāmīyyah al-’Alāmīyyah) edited by Jim Lacey and came across an interesting passage when discussing the history of the Tunisian jihadist movement:

They did not have much interest in the battle of the Taliban and the Muslim principality, and they were hesitant to get involved with the Taliban government or to consider it a religious legal leader in Afghanistan … They were also not convinced of the attempts bin Laden and al Qaida were making, nor of the latter’s military unidirectional penchant. Indeed, this was the case with the majority of the organizations and the Arab groups in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, despite all of these facts, when the American attacks occurred, every one of them got involved in that battle.

This reminded me of a recent tweet from Leah Farrall:

I wonder when, if ever, we’ll start talking about how we made AQ’s day, with Afghanistan, then Iraq.

I’m not sure whether Farrall is referencing al-Sūrī’s observation that the American invasion brought together a bunch of disparate nationalist-jihadist movements into al-Qā’idah’s global jihadist mold or that it led the United States into an economically bloodletting war. Either way, it raises an interesting question that has not been discussed much: what role the invasion of Afghanistan had on bringing many of the nationalist-jihadist groups — that were solely training in Afghanistan during the Ṭālibān’s rule to overthrow their own local regimes — over to al-Qā’idah’s side.

Addendum: It should be noted that I am not necessarily saying that we should not have invaded Afghanistan, rather it is just something to think about.

NOTE: This message is from the Afghan Ṭālibān and unedited below.

Zul Qadah 12, 1431 A.H, Thursday, October 21, 2010

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

The NATO forces in Afghanistan, in collaboration with their Afghan puppets and western media outlets under the leadership of U.S have been trying by diplomatic maneuver and organized propaganda to make it appear as though Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate were ready for negotiations and that they have made progress in this regard.

Although the Islamic Emirate has previously issued a number statements regarding this subject, in which it clearly rejects such false claims and calls it a failed last ditch effort by the enemy but the impudent enemy persistently keeps putting forward such mind boggling lies through its propaganda channels and through the bought out leaders of the so called Peace Council without presenting any kind of credible proof whatsoever.

Once again, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants to remind the world and its countrymen its stance on the issue. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan refutes outright these false claims neither has it sent any delegations for talks and neither does it intend to negotiate at a time when the country is under occupation.

In this regard, we must say to Burhanuddin Rabbani and the other degraded faces not to revive old enmities by promoting these false allegations nor should they run the propaganda campaigns to please America. As Afghans, they should not aid General Petreaus’s strategy (bullets and negotiations) developed by the Pentagon because the General wants to have this strategy worked through your hands in such a wicked way that Afghanistan may permanently become a colony of America.

From our point of view, another reason for this intense fabricated propaganda by Karzai and General Petreaus is also likely to win the confidence of the people by making it seem as if Kabul administration (the crooked and corrupt regime) could bring forth a solution to the problems of Afghanistan.

The Islamic Emirate irrefutably believes that in the presence of foreign invaders, peace talks and any kinds of negotiation deals will be futile as they will not yield a positive outcome for the Momin people and nation. For this reason, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan once again calls on the invaders to stop wasting their time on failed propaganda and military campaigns instead leave Afghanistan so it can enjoy a few years in peace and independence.

Insisting on continuing your crimes may get you noting but lose political and economical credibility in the eyes of the world which is likely to end up bringing about far more fatal casualties on your part.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan