Aljazeera: Was Taysir ever involved in legal problems in Spain or has he ever been previously arrested?

 

Fatima al-Zahra: No. This has never occurred.

 

A: But this was circulated by some in the media.

 

FZ: I assure you that Taysir has never been detained before. As for what has been circulated by the media, they have even mentioned that I was a Christian and converted to Islam after we were married and that I named myself Fatima al-Zahra. This is untrue since I originally belong to Muslim parents while my children bear Muslim names.

 

A: Have the Spanish security authorities permitted you to contact Taysir?

 

FZ: Since his detention and the beginning of investigations he was permitted only once to call me and the children. The next time he was permitted to make a recorded call for only two minutes. This call had only worried me more about his health.

 

You are aware that he suffers from backache besides his heart illness. The strain he felt was apparent in his voice when he talked to me.

 

A: How do you respond to the accusations levelled against Taysir? Had he really been close to the Taliban movement during his stay in Afghanistan?

 

FZ: Taysir only went to Afghanistan after he joined Aljazeera in 1999 as a correspondent and manager of the channel's office in Kabul. He reflected the suffering of the Afghani people to the world through Aljazeera.

 

I would like to state clearly here that Taysir has been a staff member at the Granada Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies since 1996 and up to today. This institute is mainly designated for preparing studies that help bridge the gaps between any conflicting parties in the world as well as preparing studies on Islamic fundamentalist movements.

 

His concern was focused on North African and Arab and Islamic regions since he is a Muslim Arab. He was then assigned by the institute to prepare studies on the Taliban movement in Afghanistan along with what they see as fundamentalism and extremism in order to reach a means for closing the gaps between conflicting parties. What I mean here is the conflict between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.

 

The institute had also planned to host a delegation from the Taliban to discuss with them ways of reaching a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan.

 

But some media organisations then accused Taysir of collaboration with the Taliban.

 

I do not like the accusation that Taysir collaborated with the Taliban or al-Qaida. I am challenging anyone who can give a single piece of evidence to support this accusation. He was deeply sympathetic to the Afghanis for what they have suffered from misery, subjugation and bitter internal conflict.

 

Taysir had repeatedly tried to contact some figures from the Northern Alliance but had no response from them. What he sought from his contacts was to convey the scene on the other side through Aljazeera Channel.

 

He also tried to mediate between the conflicting parties in the context of the role he played at the institute. That took place in the year 2000 before the resumption of hostilities and fighting between the two parties, as they usually begin fighting during the summer.

 

The greatest evidence of Aljazeera's impartiality on this matter, with Taysir being the channel's representative in Afghanistan, and an evident refutation of the accusations against Aljazeera of sympathising with the Taliban, was the channel's airing of an interview it had with the leader of the Northern Alliance, Ahmad Shah Masud.

 

Aljazeera had sent another reporter to conduct the long interview that took nearly two hours after Alluni advised them it was impossible for him to reach the other party despite his repeated attempts.

 

A: How did the Granada Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies react to the accusations levelled against your husband?

 

FZ: Its attitude was supportive to Taysir. Following the US war against Afghanistan in 2001 some Spanish papers blasted him, accusing him of supporting the Taliban and al-Qaida. The Spanish paper El Pais reported that the Spanish police had been tracking the Spanish journalist working for Aljazeera.

 

But the institute had published an article in which it expressed its views on Alluni saying he was a person of peaceful tendencies and that that tendency had marked all his work and actions.

 

The institute also said that, being an organisation that advocates humanitarian and cultural interaction and rejection of all forms of violence, it had discussed the possibility of designating Taysir as a diplomatic liaison man with the Taliban. The institute believes in dialogue as a means of resolving conflicts.

 

After the recent accusations, Ahmad Kamil of Aljazeera had a meeting with the director of the peace institute and conveyed his testimony which contained a similar evaluation (of his character and work) as recently aired by Aljazeera.