09 Oct 2009 @ 8:35 AM 

Indian Embassy Again


I heard the blast.

And again, the Taliban take credit, and again, they were probably not the drivers for the attack. LeT, with probable involvement from the ISI, are the ones with the gripes and concerns about the Indians in Afghanistan. Why would the Taliban care about Indian involvement in Afghanistan?

Because Pakistan cares.

Why would the Taliban claim responsibility? Because it makes them look powerful. Perhaps they were involved… and if they were, then the ties between the Taliban and external groups, under question at the moment, are still vibrant. Those of us here in country really don’t doubt that. It’s others, for whom the argument that the Taliban are really a single-issue organization, who would benefit from wide acceptance of the idea that the Taliban really only exist because we are here, or because they are only interested in Afghanistan.

Try this on from the Summer of 2001:

Usama bin Ladin’s Role

The Taliban’s increasing internationalism is particularly exemplified by its grant of safe haven to Usama bin Ladin. Bin Ladin had been active in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation but left after the Red Army’s withdrawal. When he returned to the country in 1996, he first settled in an area neutral in the war between the United Front and the Taliban, though he and the Taliban quickly developed a mutual affinity, prompting bin Ladin to establish a new base for himself at the movement’s headquarters in Kandahar. The Taliban have claimed that they have prevented him from playing any role in terrorism. (Contrarily, the U.S. government holds him responsible for the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa and likely the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.)

Yet it is certain that bin Ladin himself has become increasingly radicalized while with the Taliban. He issued his most notorious anti-American fatwa (decree) in 1998, calling on his followers to kill any American—civilian or military, adults or children—anywhere in the world. Also in 1998, it became known through an intercept of bin Ladin’s satellite telephone calls, that he was linked to the embassy bombings in East Africa. The Taliban responded that they had taken away his communications equipment.

Apart from this, much has been rumored but little proven about bin Ladin’s activities inside Afghanistan and the exact nature of his relationship with the Taliban. Taliban leader Mullah ‘Umar may have married one of bin Ladin’s daughters. Pakistani papers at times have reported that bin Ladin visits Taliban troops on the front lines and the wounded in hospitals. He is also believed to have given money directly to the Taliban for their war and to have financed a so-called “bin Ladin brigade” of at least several hundred foreign fighters.25 He has also aided these fighters through the distribution of his “terrorist encyclopedia,” which has been found on some of the Taliban killed or captured by the United Front.26 United Front military leaders claim that bin Ladin has offered rewards for their assassination.27

Bin Ladin’s links also help the Taliban in other ways. For instance, it is conceivable that as Taliban leaders have become increasingly involved in the drug trade, bin Ladin’s international network may have helped them in distributing these narcotics. Numerous terrorist-affiliated websites are certainly active in soliciting funds for the Taliban.28 As a symbol of defiance toward the United States and of adherence toward the cause of militant Islam, bin Ladin is also valuable to the Taliban as a source of donations from abroad, particularly from the wealthy Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.

Where the Taliban end and bin Ladin’s Al-Qa‘ida organization begins is difficult to determine. Both the Taliban and Al-Qa‘ida are perhaps best viewed as links in the same chain of the international terrorist network. The Taliban have created an indispensable haven in Afghanistan, a base where extremists like bin Ladin and others can meet and plan future attacks in relative safety. The paramount importance of the Taliban’s connection with bin Ladin is best described by the bin Ladin-affiliated website Azzam.com, which argues in a Taliban fundraising appeal that “the fall of an Islamic Afghanistan … will be a calamity that will make other Muslim calamities look like nothing in comparison.”29

It’s amazing how a linkage that was only too clear to some prior to 9/11 is somehow now an absurdity. Has al Qaeda been disrupted? Clearly, yes. Have they been destroyed? Clearly, no. For linkage, just wondering here, if the Afghan in Colorado who has admitted to a terror plot inside the United States would be working completely alone and without any support, training, assistance, organizational or information support, or if there is some kind of distributed support network that he has some access to. Just wondering. Also wondering why this doesn’t bring home the concept that Afghanistan and those who it can harbor are and can be a threat to the internal security of the United States.

Could this guy just be a terrorist mastermind working alone and without a net? Could he be a Wallenda of terror? Yes, I suppose it is possible, but that’s not the greatest possibility now, is it?

So, while we have some who are assuring us that al Qaeda has been whittled down to perhaps… and this seems to be the consensus… about 100 people, we have two little items of note in the very recent past that bring that contention into a bit of doubt. What would be the purpose, I wonder? Who would benefit from the public somehow buying into the myth of al Qaeda irrelevance?

Tags Tags: , , , ,
Categories: Afghanistan, AfPak, analysis
Posted By: Old Blue
Last Edit: 09 Oct 2009 @ 08 35 AM


Responses to this post » (8 Total)

  1. dennis says:

    a good read. it’s true the Taliban would say they did it.( makes for good PR. ) as for the part on al Qaeda, there still a threat. i see the Taliban as a loose military, al Qaeda as a SFOP,CIA, type forces. but ithink there numbers are much larger tho.

  2. OldSoldier54 says:

    “So, while we have some who are assuring us that al Qaeda has been whittled down to perhaps…”

    Chief among them, the Sun Tsu of our time, Vice President Joe “Belisarius” Biden.

  3. coffeypot says:

    Blue, as an aside, take a look at this. Not all Amercians are confused about what is going on over there.

  4. anan says:

    Afghan Blue, was it Haqqani who hit the embassy? Haqqani has long had close ties to Lashkar e Taiba (and the other major Pakistan HQed terrorist groups: Jaish e Mohammed, Harakat al Mujahadeen, Lashkar e Jhanvi (anti Shiite), Sipah al Sahaba (anti Shiite).) Haqqani and his “Punjabi Taliban” allies might have been involved in the 2008 attack on Mumbai.

    Is there any evidence implying that Lashkar e Taiba (LeT) operates in Afghanistan independently of Haqqani? For example LeT has long had a presence in Nuristan (where the Wanaat attack recently took place.) Is LeT operating through Haqqani (don’t know of evidence that Haqqani is a big factor up there)? Or is it operating through HiG/Hekmatyur, the Quetta Shura Taliban, or someone else? Any evidence that LeT is working with the Quetta Shura or Hekmatyur would significantly enhance the position of those that argue that the Taliban is linked to international terrorism.

    Haqqani is linked to many international terrorists, including Chechens, and The Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) (releases regular propaganda statements and videos encouraging Central Asians and Turks to join the fighting. Had a European terrorist plot in September 2007 http://ctc.usma.edu/sentinel/CTCSentinel-Vol2Iss8.pdf) Doesn’t this make Haqqani an international terrorist? Haqqani might be more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden. So why are so many insisting that the Afghan war isn’t linked to international terrorism?

    Al Qaeda was one of 15 or more organizations that declared Osama Bin Laden to be their emir in 1998. Why the obsessive focus on “Al Qaeda” versus other Takfiri extremist groups?

    What is it that I am not getting that the “Taliban are not terrorist” people are getting?

  5. Madhu says:


    I used to read an Indian American blog and one of the commenters mentioned doing development work in Afghanistan. It’s tough to get much information, as a member of the general public, about those sorts of development efforts. Anan – do you know? The Indian press doesn’t seem to have much, either.

  6. anan says:

    Not sure I understand your question Madhu. This is a good summary of international aid to Afghanistan by country:

    Old Blue, India’s $1.2 billion pledge is no longer the third biggest pledge. India remains one of the largest providers of foreign aid to Afghanistan. India needs to give much more than $1.2 billion in aid to significantly change the momentum in Afghanistan.

  7. Madhu says:

    Thanks for the link, anan. I didn’t ask my question properly. I meant something like the PRT-Kunar blog, where you can visualize, on a sort of ‘digestible’ human scale, the things depicted in your link.

    Not all of us think in terms of excel spread sheets :) Joke, anan, only joking!

  8. David Sutton says:

    Anan – Jason Burkes book Al Qeada the True story of Radical Islam is a book worth reading. Burke offers a good assessment of the net work of networks that actually make up both the Taliban and AQ.

    He offers a 3 tiered view – AQ Hardcore – USB etc, the network of networks and lastly the ideology that now needs no physical base nor a physical figure head.

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