English translation of an Interview with 'Abd al-Sattār Maywand, the Administrator of the Islamic Emirate Website, from Issue #55 of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s al-Ṣomūd Magazine

NOTE: There is also an English translation of Ikrām Miyūndī’s “The Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan And Its Successful Administrative Policy” from issue fifty-five of al-Ṣomūd Magazine, which you can read here.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Dear Readers!

In the series of al-Somood interviews with officials of the Emirates, we present to you this time an exclusive interview about the Jihadist media activities of the Islamic Emirate with esteemed brother Abdul Sattar Maiwand, who is responsible for the al-Emarah website on the global internet. We invite you to read it.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful.

Al-Somood: To begin, we wish you to provide the readers of al-Somood with a summary of the media activities of the Islamic Emirate.

Maiwand: Praise be to Allah. Blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family, his companions and all those who followed him. Thereafter:

Among other committees, the Islamic Emirates established a special Media Committee to spread (news) about Jihadist activities in different fields and chase away the voice of the unjust enemy who, before the entire world, was distorting the image of the Jihad in Afghanistan and was claiming false victories here and there over the Mujahideen. Need called for the existence of a media agency to take responsibility for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan; speaking on behalf of the Islamic Emirate; delivering news of its victories on the battlefield to its friends and to the world; exposing the falsehood of its enemies and their media; responding to the claims and its daily changing deceptions; and delivering to the world the voice of truth and jihad and its point of view about current Jihadist events in the land of Afghanistan.

Wars today cannot be won without media. (Media) is directed to the heart rather than the body. The weapon is directed to the body. If the heart is defeated the battle is won and the body is defeated. In the beginning, with the fall of the Islamic Emirate, the enemy thought that the field was completely open before them, and they spread their lies and falsehoods that they had destroyed the Islamic Emirate and its Mujahideen and that their victory in the land of Afghanistan was complete. All of their resources, especially their media were directed towards changing the ideas of Afghans and injecting defeatist thought into them and instilling in them a petrifying fear of the new occupiers. First through the grace of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, then through the victories of the Mujahideen and their rightly guided leadership; and after defeats were inflicted on the enemy on the field of battle, a media committee was established to contest with the enemy in the (media) field.

Therefore, the media ranks of the Islamic Emirate were re-formed under a special committee that reflects the tangible reality on the ground in Afghanistan. Among its most important accomplishments in the beginning period was the inauguration of the Islamic Emirate website under the name “Voice of Jihad”.

The website specializes in conveying field reports from the combat zones and publishing the statements of the Ameer ul-Momineen and the statements of the Command Shura Council about different issues pertaining to Jihad, in addition to articles and official analysis. They have many sections: for example there’s an Islam page, a magazines page, and a page for films produced by official studios. We also print magazines and statements and distribute them in popular circles at home and abroad. Additionally, we produce different publications and regulations and distribute them among the Mujahideen. There is also a “Voice of Shari’ah” that broadcasts news and official statements day and night.

The Media Committee has also appointed official spokesmen to speak in the name of the Islamic Emirate to local and global media regarding the course of affairs.

Al-Somood: How do you gather news and field reports from Afghanistan and publish them on the website?

Yes, through the grace of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala the Committee employees correspondents in all the provinces of Afghanistan to cover news of events and prepare reports on them.

They make every effort to follow news of operations in detail and keep abreast of developing situations, and they send reliable and precise reports of ongoing operations immediately to the official spokesmen of the Emirate; Zabihullah Mujahid and Qari Yusuf, who review the news and then send it to the news department of the website after an in-depth scrutiny and examination.

Al-Somood: News, official statements and analysis are published simultaneously or in near time in five different languages. How is that so?

Maiwand: Yes, as you were so kind (to mention), news and other things are published in five different languages almost simultaneously. These include local languages such as Pashtu and Farsi as well as Urdu, Arabic and English. The website first publishes new and other media in Pashtu and after that, translates it directly into these other languages and publishes in their special sections.

Al-Somood: Are there ways to publish the news other than through the al-Emarah website?

Maiwand: Yes brother, we send the news to journalists and global news agencies immediately after it occurs and is posted on the website. We have many email lists to which we distribute news and official statements. These lists include journalists and others concerned with the issue of Afghanistan. We are also active on Facebook and Twitter where we publish the news every day and reach thousands of people. We also daily send news via cell phone text messages to many people.

Al-Somood: Could you please clarify that last sentence? How do you send news to many people via cell phone?

Maiwand: The news that is posted on the website is converted to SMS messages and sent to a number of people, who send it to other people. Each of them sends it to his acquaintances inside and outside Afghanistan and so a chain of dissemination begins. Each ones tries to spread the news more and more. We have seen many people requesting their friends and relatives to forward the news they receive to at least 20 other people, etc…and so this news becomes widely circulated in popular circles. Through the grace of Allah, we have seen many among the general populace rejoice when news reaches them of the victories of the Mujahideen over their enemies.

Al-Somood: Could you please explain for us some of the other activities of the Media Committee beyond the Islamic Emirate website?

Maiwand: The Media Committee has other media pulpits including: the Jihadi Studio which publishes Mujahideen operations in live video. Through the grace of Allah Almighty it has created some good products in this field.

In addition to publishing live images of Jihad and battles, the Jihadi Studio also produces films to preach (da’wa) and reform with the goal of illuminating the minds of the Mujahideen and making them ideologically aware. These films have so far had a good impact in Mujahideen circles.

There is also a Pashtu-language radio broadcast called “Voice of Shari’ah”, which is transmitted via the internet. It broadcasts daily news and reports, political commentary, Islamic and Jihadi nasheeds which have a direct impact in raising the morale of the Mujahideen. The Voice of Shari’ah programs are broadcast during morning and evening periods. In addition to audio and video information there is print information in Arabic, Pashtu and Farsi languages. The print media is represented by the monthly magazine al-Somood (Steadfastness) in Arabic; and theShahamat (Gallantry), Sarrak (Gleam of Light) and Morgil (The Trench) magazines in Pashtu and Farsi languages, also published monthly. The al-Somood magazine, of which staff you are a member has for five years provided a true picture of the Islamic Jihad and hot events occurring on the Afghan battlefield to the Islamic and Arab world. It is concerned with publishing articles, political analysis and news reports, in addition to comprehensive statistics of monthly Mujahideen operations and their impact, in addition to the series “Our Heroic Martyrs” to introduce people to the Mujahideen military commanders who were killed fi sabeel Allah ta’ala.

As for the magazines, Shahamat and Sharrak, they have been published for seven years in the local languages Pashtu and Farsi. They have many readers in educated circles, especially among madrassa and university students. The Jihadist articles published in those magazines have had a tangible impact within these circles.

As for the Morgil magazine, it is dedicated to publishing news of the battles, reports of enemy crimes, statistics of enemy losses in lives and equipment and related issues. Its annual archive is considered the most reliable Jihadist source to determine enemy losses.

All of these media capabilities are presented via the Islamic Emirate website on the worldwide web and everyone can view them on the website.

Al-Somood: How do you find specialized staff to carry out these media activities?

Maiwand: When the Mujahideen enjoy the presence of people among them whom, first through the grace of Allah Almighty then through their capability and military experience, have been able to defeat NATO generals of great experience and expertise, it also is easy for them to conduct these media activities with their proficiency in the media field.

Since the Media Jihad has today become one of its most important responsibilities, the Islamic Emirate has not neglected to prepare specialized media cadres. Rather it has, in the fields of Jihad, prepared Mujahideen media workers who resist the enemy in the media field just like their brother fighters resists them in the military field.

Yes, I say with full confidence that with our simple and limited means, we have, through the grace of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, defeated the enemy in the media field. The enemy has been unable to redress this defeat despite the existence of their advanced means and specialist cadre and their vast expenditure of funds in this field.

It is possible for everyone throughout the world to view all of our publications on the internet. Indeed, all the workers in the Karzai government who have internet access in their offices, universities and government administrations and even those who work in the American military and political administration view our publications and are affected by them.

There are many residents of Kabul city who listen to the Voice of Shari’ah programs via the internet and inform us by email of how they were favorably impressed by those programs. They tell us that hearing the nasheed la Allah ila Allah recalls to their minds memories of the rule of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Even though the Americans, NATO troops and the security forces of the lackey government all exert great efforts to impede the activities of the Islamic Emirate, it frequently occurs that members of families from the upper class in the Karzai administration display their sympathy with the Mujahideen.

The Americans also admit that the Islamic Emirate has defeated them in the media field. This confession was made in an article published on the 22nd of May last year in the well-known American magazine Foreign Policy entitled Losing the Media War to the Taliban”. The author of the article was the well-known American writer Robert Haddick who mentioned details of Taliban media activities and their media superiority over the Americans. The author advised his people, saying “In their media battle against the Taliban, the Americans must use more effective methods and tactics, because the Taliban have won the media war using existing methods”.

A report by the American Council of Foreign Relations corroborated Taliban media superiority over the Americans in the media field. The report mentioned one reason the Taliban have moved ahead of the Americans in the media field is that they do not wait for appointed dates to publish news of events, but publish them as soon as they occur.

The progress of the Islamic Emirate and its media superiority over the Americans has become today’s news to the Western press, which has begun to write articles and commentary about it everywhere.

Regarding Taliban excellence in this field, Michael Doran, the former American deputy secretary of defense, said that “The Taliban have great skill in directing their media activities and are very quick to publish news: if any attack is conducted against our forces news is being published 26 minutes later on the global satellite networks, taking its place in the breaking news tickers for most of the global satellite networks like al-Jazeera, B.B.C. and C.N.N.”.

He added, saying: “The Taliban are not only quick to publish news, rather they are also fortunate in the precision and organization in their media work. They translate news of all their military operations as soon as it comes in from Pashtu and Farsi to Arabic and English and it is immediately published on their websites and their online radio ‘Voice of Shari’ah’.”

Michael Doran continues by advising the Americans “It is necessary for the Americans to increase the capabilities of their soldiers in blocking Taliban media activities by granting them more authorities and limiting Taliban media activities by strengthening their (own) media channels. They must also close down all Taliban websites on the internet.” [The Council of Foreign Relations, May 2009]

General Azimi, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense in the Karzai administration, acknowledged in an interview with Radio Free Europe last year during the battle of Marjah that the Mujahideen media activities were stronger and more successful than those of the government.

Al-Somood: How do you explain the media superiority of the Mujahideen?

Maiwand: The sole factor in the media superiority of the Mujahideen is that they perform this work as undertaking a Jihadist responsibility and not as a job performed in return for a salary like others do. According to the moral contract to which they have committed themselves, they make sacrifices to the point of death for the sake of the success of this Jihadist labor. They endure hardships and regard success in performing this responsibility as a wish of their worldly life. Because of the sincerity, sacrifice and zeal of the Mujahideen, Allah blesses their efforts and grants them success. This blessing and success granted by Allah is acknowledged by the enemy also, and this grace has been witnessed by the enemies.

Al-Somood: What are the problems you encounter in performing your media responsibilities?

Maiwand: The path of Jihad is full of trials and difficulties, but the Mujahid accepts them with good will to please Allah Almighty and elevate His Word. These hardships are born fi sabeel Allah ta’ala are a source of pride and a sign of the righteousness of His path. We face many material problems and problems with media mean; and there are security problems; and there is a scarcity of material resources. They are, however, easy to bear for the sake of achieving a noble goal and we are proud of this.
The means we possess are very paltry when compared to the means of the enemy. Moreover, we also face in this field a shameless enemy who is not by bound by any humane or moral obligations. They speak excessively about slogans of freedom of expression and speech, but they do not recognize freedom of speech which runs contrary to their colonialist interests. In addition to that, they lie prolifically in their media. If 20 of their soldiers are killed, they announce the death of only one and only if they are unable to hide the news. If 20 of their people are wounded, they admit that only one was wounded and say the wounds are slight and that he returned to his job after his wounds were bandaged and treated. If one of their aircraft is shot down by the fire of Mujahideen or is set alight in the air, they hide the news if they can. If they can’t hide the news, they state that it was an emergency landing. When they arrest local citizens during night raids they claim that they have seized armed Mujahideen. This is their custom in all their media publications.

As for our media, despite our commitment to publishing the truth, the enemy attacks our websites on the internet, and closes or sabotages them. They threaten the companies which host our websites and send them warnings. “Their intention is to extinguish Allah’s light (by blowing) with their mouths: But Allah will complete (the revelation of) His light, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).” (Al-Saff: 8)

Even though they commit all of these crimes, we are, through the grace of Allah Almighty, able to continue our Jihadist publications. We present to the world the victories of the Mujahideen and the defeats of the enemy. We show the world documented evidence of the defeats of the Americans and their allies in Afghanistan. We have had good successes in this field despite the many problems we face. Praise be to Allah for that.

Al-Somood: We thank you for giving us this opportunity and for answering our questions. We beseech Allah Almighty to grant you more success in all your Jihadist activities. Ameen.

Maiwand: A hundred thanks to you as well.

Translated From The Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan: Al-Somood Monthly Magazine Issue 55

The Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan