Interview: Mullah Dadullah

Al Jazeera's exclusive interview with Taliban spokesman Mullah Dadullah.

    Dadullah accused Western journalists
    captured by the Taliban of spying
    Mullah Dadullah, the Afghan Taliban's military commander, is believed to have been killed during a battle with Afghan and Western forces in the southern province of Helmand.

    Ahmed Zaidan, Al Jazeera's Islamabad bureau chief, interviewed Dadullah in April, shortly before the release of one of two French aid workers.

    Australia is to send more troops to Afghanistan. How do you assess this announcement? What does it mean for you in the Taliban movement?

    In the name of God, most compassionate, most merciful. We are not concerned by the arrival of the Australian troops. On the contrary, we welcome their arrival and the arrival of the world's infidels to Afghanistan so that they die here.

    This does not bother us at all. Let them come here so that we can fight them. It is a joyful event, especially if they will come in big groups: this means more of them will die.

    How do you in the Afghan Taliban movement look at the arrival of more troops from Western countries? Does it mean for you a military failure, or a military escalation against you and against your operations?

    The project that was implemented here, and according to which the administration of each Afghani province would be mandated to a specific country of the coalition. This project was a complete failure.

    Afghanistan's provinces turned into a real burden on the countries of the coalition. The solution would be either to stop this project, or to provide it with additional support from the Americans.

    This is the failure that was obvious to the whole world. The project has failed. The relevant stakeholders should find an alternative.

    Recently, the Taliban started abducting journalists and the staff of western companies. How do you explain this new military tendency inside the Taliban movement? Why are you kidnapping foreigners?

    None of the 38 coalition countries can protect its citizens or troops from our prowess

    When we abduct foreigners, we aim at harming the government of Kabul and Karzai and, precisely, the American government that is occupying our country and disseminating wrong information all over the world, just because they own some media institutions.

    We are putting the matter to the attention of the world and our people. We are asking: does the American control mean that we can kidnap foreigners and foreign workers, namely in the provinces they claim to control, keep them there, in the same city, and in Afghanistan, and then we ask for the swap in the same city?

    Karzai troops and the coalition troops cannot come here, release the hostages, or even ask us for their release. None of the 38 coalition countries can protect its citizens or troops from our prowess.

    Let us tackle the case of journalists. This is the first time we see the Taliban movement targeting foreign journalists. They have also killed one Afghan journalist. As journalists, how can we know what are the boundaries between security and fear, especially for journalists who are covering the war in Afghanistan?

    We do not have any hostile position vis-a-vis any journalist. We target and kidnap the journalists who represent the government and express its opinions. I listened for instance to the statement of Rahimullah Samandar when he said that Kabul's government is legitimate, and that the Taliban movement is not recognised by the international community nor by the Afghan government.

    Thus, we should obey Karzai's government, and not the Taliban. Whether the Taliban movement is legitimate or not, Rahimullah Samandar does not have the right to appoint himself a judge and determine the status of the Taliban movement.

    He is the least person to have the right to do so. His job is to be a spokesperson of the government if he wants to, and to mention the losses we have caused them, or vice-versa. Thus, we target those representing the Americans or Karzai; as to journalists, we do not hurt them.

    But you have kidnapped an Italian journalist, and swapped him with five Taliban hostages. However, you killed the Afghan journalist. How do you explain releasing the Italian journalist, and killing the Afghan journalist?

    It would be better of you would ask this question to Karzai. These three are linked to Karzai, to the foreigners, and some agents among the local populations as well.

    Dadullah said Hamid Karzai is not able to
    govern Afghanistan effectively [AFP]
    We have kidnapped these three agents because they were spies working for Karzai, the US, Great Britain and Italy.

    They claimed they were journalists, but in fact they are spies.

    That is why we kidnapped them. In the beginning, we slew Sayyed Agha, and the one who killed him was kidnapped by him in the past.

    Sayyed Agha himself had interrogated his killer in the past, and tortured him. As to the other Afghan journalist who was accompanying Agha, he was also working for the government, and was also a relative of the minister of information.

    This journalist was working in the ministry of information, however he claimed to be a journalist. That is why you have to ask your question to Karzai, and tell him: "Karzai, you consider yourself a president elected by the Afghan people. Why do not you take care of the Afghan people, instead of taking care of the foreign hostage, and swap him with five Afghans? You do not care about the Afghan people."
    I consider these three as my enemies, whether they are foreigners or Afghans.

    Why do not you ask Karzai why he released five Afghans in return of the release of the foreigner, while he was neglecting the lives of the Afghans? I do not care about the Afghans who collaborate with our enemies.

    Now, you have two French hostages. What are your conditions? Why haven't you announced your conditions for the swap and release of the two French hostages?

    We shall announce our requests and the conditions for the swap of our hostages with the two French hostages.

    These two French hostages were not journalists. They were working for a foreign missionary organisation seeking the Christianisation of Muslims. They did not come here in vain. Some might say they are unarmed civilians.

    According to them, anyone who supports the occupation is an unarmed civilian for them. In fact, any foreigner who comes to Afghanistan is according to us an armed fighter, and not a civilian.

    What is your message to the French people with regard to the abduction of the two French citizens? Are they in good health?

    We are adamant in targeting all the UN agencies and bodies, and for us, they are similar to the US institutions

    Yes, of course, both of them are in good health. Our message to the French people is that you have occupied many Arab countries for a long period of time, and you know very well what are the consequences of colonialism and the ensuing failures. I ask you to withdraw from Afghanistan, and to withdraw all your troops from here.

    A few days ago, you attacked a United Nations vehicle and killed four Nepali soldiers. Is this a new escalation by the Taliban movement to target the UN?

    Undoubtedly, we target all those working for the United Nations, the USA and Karzai. We are trying to target all those working for the UN. We are adamant about targeting all the UN agencies and bodies, and for us, they are similar to the US institutions.

    Recently, we have heard statements from the UN envoy to Afghanistan calling for negotiations between the government, the Americans and other factions that he did not describe as the Taliban - even though he meant them. If they offer you such negotiations, what would be your reply?

    We do not see any need to negotiate with the foreigners. As to their agents in Afghanistan, they do not have any other choice. Karzai is a puppet. He does not even have the freedom to decide when to leave home and return to it.

    In the last swap deal, the government could not swap any hostage without the approval of the US embassy.

    Karzai cannot negotiate with us. Of course, we do not negotiate with the Americans. We ask every foreigner occupying our country and turning it into a colony to return to his own. We do not want to negotiate with him.

    If Karzai can be ready for negotiations, we will think about it.

    What do you want?

    We want the USA to withdraw from our country, as well as the foreign troops. If Karzai will remain in power after that, we shall negotiate with him. If he is not in power, we shall fight him.

    If the foreign troops will withdraw, Karzai will immediately run away, simply because the Americans will not transfer power to him. Karzai wants us to negotiate with the Americans, but we will never negotiate with them.

    Regarding the spring attack that the Taliban movement was threatening to launch, you told us in a previous interview that you were trying to control a major city. What happened to the spring attack? Why wasn't it as powerful as we expected?

    With God's help, our attacks grew stronger since the beginning of the spring. You might know about some of these attacks, and ignore others. Attacks are now at their peak. In about 45 days, you will hear about more attacks and fiercer ones.               
    Thank God that our attacks have grown intense since this spring. You may heard about some of them, others you may not.

    Now, our raids are intense, you will hear about fierce ones in due time.

    At the current time, we will seize several main roads which used to be open during last year but not any more.

    Kandahar road is completely closed, Helmund-Orazgun road is also closed. Herat Kandahar is half closed, it is open in times and in others it is closed.

    We dominate many territories which cause distress to the government and to the Americans.

    Now, American losses are ten times more than before, and whenever they tried to come into a region they fail and they regress.

    We start in annoying them and sooner you will hear about big operations in large and different regions.

    A 'national front' has been established in Afghanistan. Do you have any comments?

    This front includes former communists and others who call themselves jihadists. They are obliged to form this group. What is noticeable to all, is the fact that during the Russian war there were too many allies to Russia and to communism - however, they were not slaves as in the case of Karzai, who is a slave to Americans.

    The inspection operations during the Russian era were different. The Russian military was not able to invade any house so easily and without the permission of their owners. They did not investigate Afghan women.

    The Afghan communists tried to avoid all that. They would capture combatants or else they would not intrude upon any one else.

    They all remember the famous war story between the Pashtun and Persians which happened at that time causing 70 casualties. The reason was that a Persian molested a women from the Pashtuns. The communists were unbelievers but they were not mean.
    This incident shows that unbelievers or Muslims are vigilant in guarding honour of their family members.

    You see what the Americans did with the professor El Saief's house, when they came in and kidnapped his wives? He could not even know where they displaced them.

    The Americans burst into high ranking officials' houses and molest women, which led people to oppose Karzai who is able even to bargain with his countrywomen.

    We will unite in order to face Karzai and the Americans if such infringements happen again.

    Clashes have occurred between Uzbek fighters and some Pakistani tribes. We heard that the Taliban movement asked the Uzbeks to come to Afghanistan - could you tell me the real and actual reasons behind that and your role within it?

    The whole world knows that Pakistan failed in Waziristan and it will not choose the military operation once again. It tries now to sow dissension among people.

    Dadullah said Muslims were opposed to Pervez
    Musharraf, Pakistan's president [AP]
    It was Pakistani propaganda saying that this war is between the Uzbek and Waziristan tribes. In real fact, the war was between the Pakistani government and the Uzbeks.

    The government tried to involve some militants in Taliban rows for spying purposes.

    The Pakistani government formed groups under the cover of Uzbek tribes. They used to storm Muslim houses and steal their properties. However, the government pretends that these actions are made by Uzbeks.

    The war is between the government and the Uzbeks. However, the government claims that the war is between the Uzbek and the tribes under the leadership of Allmullah Naddir, who is an agent to the government.

    The injured casualties caused by these operations are transferred to hospitals by helicopters.

    Waziristan tribes are honorable ones, they will defend combatants until the last breath.

    These tribes never wish to fight Islam or the Mujahideen.

    We will behead traitors and we will excoriate tribes from these operations.

    How many were killed in the clashes? The government said about 200. Is this true?         

    This is a big lie. The government increased the number in order to satisfy the Americans.
    Our informed sources says that the victims are 16 from the Uzbek and 6 of the tribes, the total then is 22, however there are 75 victims belonging the army allies.

    The Pakistani president, Pervez Musharraf, has threatened to withdraw from the international 'war on terror' unless criticism of Pakistan's commitment to fight terror ends. What do you think about this?

    These people will regret and they will lose trust, then they will be hated by both Muslims and unbelievers.        

    Osama bin Laden is still alive and commanding
    operations, according to Dadullah
    Muslims hate him and at the end, America will turn against him. Then, Pervez Musharraf will say that he abandons his war against al-Qaeda.

    Many journalists question why the Taliban has only one figure to deal with the press. Why they don't have any one else to appear on media? 

    Some of them can not make it and arrive on time for security reasons.

    You know that we deal with different security problems and you know that we move from an area to another to serve our mujahidin and the jihad.

    Some, including me, do not have such problems and he can appear on media serving jihad and the Mujahideen.

    This is my duty; I live in mountains and never leave Afghanistan. If I decide to go to any other country, I do not care if I get captured or die. It is up to each individual to appear on media, tolerate the difficulties or not.

    Some describe you as a Zarqawian-Afghan (in reference to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the late leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq). How do you describe yourself?

    Thank God, there are hundreds of people who are like me in Afghanistan. They participate in battles and fight the infidels. They preceded us in jihad. I don't think I'm like Al-Zarqawi, but I wish every Talibani in Afghanistan could be an unprecedented mujahid.

    Let us move on to Bin Laden, he has not appeared in the media for more than a year now. What do you say, as a member of the Taliban, about his absence? Could he be dead as adopted by some reports? Or do you have other resources saying he is still alive?

    We thank God that he is still alive, we know that he is, he puts the plans for both Iraq and Afghanistan. You may recall the operation of Bagram base, in which a senior American leader was targeted.

    This base can not be violated by any Afghani individual. He put the detailed plan for this blessed attack and guided us. And the attack succeeded.

    Insh'allah you will listen to his speech and with the increasing number of operations; there will be a videoed speech for him. He is alive and he is always on contact with the mujahidin.   

    In Helmand province, the Taliban is not seen by people as being as strict (socially) as when they were in power. What measures you will take in order to prevent any Taliban individuals being strict and tough with people if you take power again?

    The Islamic emirate of Taliban was a blessing, though it looked small to others, but when Allah takes a blessing from a human being, only then we appreciate it and see the real size of it.

    At that time, the people used to see every single issue and appreciate it. These days, when the people experienced the bitterness of the Americans and western powers, they feel proud to see and help a Taliban member as they believe they get closer to God when they serve the Taliban and they compete on this.

    America and Britain scream and ask for help and the whole world is demanding their troops withdraw from Iraq. Both Iraqi and British people are demanding a schedule for this withdrawal

    This is of course because the people suffer from the problems brought by the Westerners. The people realise now that the Taliban emirate was better for them. We still follow the same agenda - in the past, we applied the Islamic Sharia, and now we follow it. In the past, we used to punish thieves and killers according to the Islam fixed principles which will never change.

    Now we move to your relations with the resistance in Iraq, what relations do you have with them? And how do evaluate their performance?

    We are in touch with the mujahidin in Iraq, they are our brothers.

    We have the same goal. We contact them through the internet sometimes, thanks to God; their victories against the enemy bring more and more good news.

    America and Britain scream and ask for help and the whole world is demanding their troops withdraw from Iraq. Both Iraqi and British people are demanding a schedule for this withdrawal.

    Yet, we want to tell the mujahidin that the infidels will try to seize all possible opportunities and they use different techniques.

    They want to start the strife between Sunnis and Shiites and sow the seeds of discord among the jihadi movements. My message to the mujahidin is to step over any differences the infidels are trying to found between mujahidin movements.
    The infidels are now exposed to the world. They have very low morals and they are defeated. The only remaining trick for them is to sow dissension between the mujahidin themselves and to recruit spies inside these movements.

    All of them are mujahidin but the infidels are trying to separate them from the jihadi movements.

    They exchange accusations. The mujahidin should be careful and check on every announcement made by any movement, whether it was made by an individual belongs to it or by a leader. This is my urge to the mujahidin and this is the only way that infidels could follow. At the end we will have the victory if God wills.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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