Qari Muhammad Isma’il al-Sirajji has for a number of years led the Mujahideen in Jowzjan province in northern Afghanistan. He belongs to the Turkoman tribe and was born 45 years ago in the Aqcha district of Jowzjan province in a family known for its love of Deen and Jihad. He memorized the Book of Allah Almighty in his youth, then continued his Shari’ah studies later.
During the days of the rule of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, he held a number of important, military positions. After the American attack on Afghanistan, he was among the first to revive the Jihad and resistance against the aggressor Crusaders.
In the beginning, he undertook secret operations in the Aqcha district, then he expanded the scope of his operations. Finally, he was appointed by the Islamic Emirate to be the general official for Jihad affairs in Jowzjan province. Al-Somood has conducted an interview with him concerning the Jihadist situation in this province. We invite you to read it.
Question: To start, we would like for you to provide our readers with brief information about Jowzjan province.
Qari Muhammad Isma’il: Praise be to Allah alone. Prayers and peace upon the Seal of the Prophets.
First of all, I wish to thank you for you giving us this opportunity to share through the pages of your magazine our situation and our concern with our Faithful people and Muslims throughout the Islamic world. May Allah accept from you your good services.
To answer your question, Jowzjan province is a small province in the north of Afghanistan bordered by the Mazar-i-Sharif, Faryab and Sar-e-Pul. It is also adjacent to the Republic of Turkmenistan to the north.
The people of this province speak Uzbek, Pashtu and Farsi . It is, like other provinces, known in history as a center of knowledge and culture. This province is composed of eight districts with a population of half a million people.
Question: You mentioned that this province has eight districts. Do you have units in all districts of the province?
Qari Muhammad Isma’il: Our formations have not expanded to all districts of the province, but they have covered most of its areas. Its Jihadist capabilities now extend to five districts almost entirely with the exception of their district centers: Darzab, Qush Tepah, Khawajah Du Koh, Aqcha.
As for the other three districts, the Mujahideen there conduct a type of guerrilla warfare there and have great influence in the region and enjoy popular support by their side. For example, the districts situated 25km south of the province center of Shebergan like Jarqadaq, from Qush Tepah to Darzab, all of them fall under the control of the Mujahideen.
It is not possible for the enemy to enter these areas unless accompanied by a large escort of tanks and air support.
These areas are considered as permanently secure areas for the Mujahideen and the enemy has not been able to take control of them despite repeated operations.
Question: The local press recently reported talk of government attempts to regain this area. The lackey government has acknowledged Mujahideen control over this area. What were the results of those operations?
Qari Muhammad Isma’il: Those fronts which include the areas of Darzab, Qush Tepah and other mountain areas are located between the province center Shebergan and between the provinces of Sar-e-Pol and Faryab.
To its north are the central fronts of Jowzjan province. In its southwest is the Bilchiragh district of Faryab province. In the southeast is the Sayyad district of Sar-e-Pol province and these last two are under the control of the Mujahideen.
Thus these areas comprise a vast common area for the Mujahideen in these three northern provinces, from where they launch operations against the enemy.
In view of the strategic importance of this region, a month and half ago the enemy launched its attack on the area from Shebergan, Sar-e-Pul and Faryab. The goal of the attack was to clear the region of the Mujahideen or weaken their forces there. The Crusader enemy as well as the lackey army directed huge forces there of tanks and aircraft. Nonetheless, through the grace of Allah, they encountered a shocking defeat and fled from the region after sustaining huge losses.
The reason for the enemy’s defeat, after Allah’s support for the Mujahideen, was the solidarity of the people with the Mujahideen and the presence of a joint combat front for the Mujahideen in these three northern provinces. Beyond that, the area is remote and very large. The enemy was therefore unable to overcome the Mujahideen there.
During this operation, the enemy had created an air base in the al-Arab village in Qush Tepah district. A few days after the end of this large operation, the Mujahideen conducted attacks against it, burning an enemy “Ranger” troop transport and killing a number of soldiers on board. The result of this was that the enemy withdrew from the region and it reverted to Mujahideen control.
Question: Could you briefly mention to us the latest operations you have conducted in Jowzjan?
Qari Muhammad Isma’il: Thus far there have not been many operations conducted, because the operational season just began anew. The season and the weather conditions were not favorable for Mujahideen because of the snow and extreme cold. Nonetheless, the Mujahideen have recently conducted some operations. On one day the Mujahideen blew up two enemy transports using land mines in the area between Jarqadaq and Qush Tepah.
Likewise the Mujahideen attacked the district center of Jarqadaq, burned the district headquarters and inflicted losses on the soldiers. Moreover, I mentioned to you the large operation in which the enemy attacked our area a month and a half ago. During it, the Mujahideen destroyed enemy tanks and infantry with landmines planted on the roads. Perhaps you read about it on the al-Emarah website.
Also, the Mujahideen two days ago blew up a Ranger transport belonging to enemy security forces in the Darzab district. There are also other incidents which I cannot readily recall at this time.
Question: There are some questions which enemy rumors have planted in the minds of some people about the reality of the Jihad, to the effect that the fighting in Afghanistan is due to ethno-linguistic struggles rather than a religious obligation and national responsibility which every Muslim citizen must perform. You have assumed responsibility for a province in which there lives a mix of different ethnic groups, composed of a population that is 40% Uzbek, 28% Turkoman and 18% Pushtun and the rest are either Arab or Tajik and others. So what is your assessment of the participation in Jihad by the different ethnic groups indigenous to this province? What is your response to the claims of the enemy being disseminated by the media with the intention of the dividing our Faithful people?
Qari Muhammad Isma’il: This is a good question. I believe that our Jihad movement has sprung from the depths of our Faithful people and I have witnessed this in the different Afghan provinces. This represents the solidarity of our Faithful people in the matter of national unity towards a religious obligation. As for the number of Mujahideen, this is based on the majority living in any given area. In those areas with a Pushtun majority, there are a large number of Pushtun Mujahideen. In those areas with an Uzbek or Turkoman majority, there are a large number of Uzbek or Turkoman Mujahideen, and so forth.
For example, Jowzjan province has an Uzbek and Turkoman majority. I am a Turkoman and my deputy, brother Mullah Shamsullah, is an Uzbek. The officials for Qush Tepah and Darzab are also Uzbeks. The number of Pushtuns in this province are few, so naturally the number of Pushtun (Mujahideen) is also few. They have only one group in Qush Tepah.
This, however, does not imply the Mujahideen are divided by national or ethnic groups. We are all brothers in Allah. We live together and cooperate as affectionate brothers protected by Allah Almighty. Our grasp of the meaning of brotherhood in Islam prevents the Mujahideen from being motivated by ethnic chauvinism or affected by the toxic rumors of the enemy.
Question: There has been a big problem for some time against the Jihad and the Mujahideen in Jowzjan province with the former Communist General Dostum and his militias. How do you assess the situation now? Is it a situation that may constitute an obstacle to the Mujahideen?
Qari Muhammad Isma’il: General Dostum had influence and importance in the past. But his influence, both in the time of the Russians and in the time of the Americans, was dependent upon the enemy force. He had no acceptance among the people. Because of the vicious crimes committed by him, and by his leaders and his militias and because of his acceptance of servitude to the aggressor Americans , he lost his influence among the people and has been transformed into a hated person, loathed by the Faithful people in this province and its districts. This, however, does not mean that he does have supporters from among those like him in Shebergan.
He has no supporters in the provinces. Evidence of this is the fact that his birthplace of Khawajah Du Koh is among the areas where the Mujahideen have a presence, and the residents stand with them. As for (Dostum), he can’t even imagine to go there.
One of the most important commanders was this Communist general Haja Nakur, who was recently appointed by the lackey government as the official in charge of the new militia units in this province. The Mujahideen killed him and cleansed the area of his filth.
He has some other leaders there like Zahir Badashah, Naseem and Faqeer, but they live as refugees in the Shebergan and they cannot go to their (appointed) areas.
The people of Jowzjan have become familiar with those traitors and they understand who are sincere and who are the liars, the lackeys and the ones who have sold their conscience for money.
Therefore they are not deceived now by the lies of the atheists and murderers of Dostum and his like. The proof that the general public is aware of those traitors is that the regions of Darzab and Kohistan and neighboring districts did not submit to the Islamic Emirate in the days of its rule, and the Mujahideen of the Emirate could not cleanse those regions from the control of Dostum, because the people were deceived by the lies of Dostum and his swindlers. But now they understand the truth of those traitors and criminals and they stand with the Mujahideen to aid and support them. They realize that in the past they had been duped by the false claims of Dostum’s group.
As for now, the infidels have attacked Afghanistan and the calamity has occurred. This has distinguished to them the ranks of the sincere Mujahideen from the thieves and criminals.
Question: To conclude this interview, what is your message to the readers of al-Somood magazine?
Qari Muhammad Isma’il: My message to them is to exert all that is in their capability in the cause of Allah Almighty to defend the Deen of Allah Almighty and elevate His Word. My message to the residents of northern Afghanistan is to continue their support for the Mujahideen like the residents of the rest of Afghanistan’s provinces, especially in this period during which the enemy has reached his weakest condition.
They should not be deceived by the rumors of the enemy which aims at dividing the Word of the Muslims. The day on which the Americans will be defeated is approaching, Allah Almighty willing. Their fate will be no different from that of the Russians who were defeated before them.
Al-Somood: We thank you for making it possible for us to meet with you. We beseech Allah Almighty to accept from you all your Jihadist services in His cause.
Qari Muhammad Isma’il: We also thank you. We beseech Allah Almighty to keep you in His care. Asalaamu alaikum warahamutullah wabarakatuh.