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[nebukhadhnasar@yahoo.com: Allahu Akbar]

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  • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
    ================= Begin forwarded message ================= From: nebukhadhnasar@yahoo.com (Abdallah Tahhan) To: thekoba@aztec.asu.edu Subject: Allahu Akbar
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 9, 2002
      ================= Begin forwarded message =================

      From: nebukhadhnasar@... (Abdallah Tahhan)
      To: thekoba@...
      Subject: Allahu Akbar
      Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2002 20:31:00 -0700 (PDT)


      Dear Kevin,

      Well, here's a nice report from the Christian Science
      Monitor.

      Comradely,

      Eric
      --------


      from the August 09, 2002 edition -
      http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0809/p01s01-wosc.html

      Al Qaeda massing for new fight
      Afghan spies say the group has two new bases in
      Pakistan and is acquiring missiles.
      By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian
      Science Monitor

      ASADABAD, AFGHANISTAN - Three separate clashes with Al
      Qaeda fighters this week, including Wednesday's foiled
      attack inside the city of Kabul, point to the
      terrorist organization's resurgence in Afghanistan.

      But there may be much more to come.

      According to exclusive interviews with Afghan military
      intelligence chiefs in the eastern Afghan province of
      Kunar, Al Qaeda has established two main bases inside
      Pakistan � hundreds of miles north of where US and
      Pakistani troops are now hunting � and is preparing
      for a massive strike against the Afghan government. To
      blunt US air superiority, Al Qaeda forces are
      attempting to acquire surface-to-air missiles in
      China.

      "Al Qaeda has regrouped, together with the Taliban,
      Kashmiri militants, and other radical Islamic parties,
      and they are just waiting for the command to start
      operations," says Brig. Rahmatullah Rawand, chief of
      military intelligence for the Afghan Ministry of
      Defense in Kunar Province. "Right now they are trying
      to find anti-aircraft missiles that are capable of
      hitting America's B-52 bombers. When they find those,
      they will bring them here."

      Spokesmen for the American military operations in
      Afghanistan say they are able to confirm parts of the
      Afghan intelligence reports, and add that they are
      prepared for any possible Al Qaeda military offensive
      in the next few weeks or months.

      "I can't say I have never heard these reports before
      about the areas you are mentioning," says Lt. Col.
      Roger King, spokesman for the US-led Operation
      Enduring Freedom at Bagram Air Base outside of Kabul.
      "Some parts of the intelligence reports and the
      locations you've described are similar to what we are
      hearing ourselves, and other parts are different." He
      declined to say which parts were similar and which
      parts were different.

      The US is currently making sure it has enough troop
      strength in areas where Al Qaeda is deemed to be most
      active, he says.

      "If you look back over time, you find there are two
      fighting seasons in this country," says Colonel King.
      "We're at the beginning of one, and the other ended in
      May."

      A US soldier on patrol near the Pakistan border in
      Paktika Province was wounded by a sniper Wednesday
      night, and airlifted to a medical facility in Germany
      yesterday.

      In Kunar Province, Afghan intelligence sources say
      that their reports were compiled this week, after
      Afghan spies, pretending to be Islamic radicals,
      infiltrated the two Al Qaeda camps in Pakistan. The
      report concludes that China itself may be involved in
      supporting the camps, either by tacitly allowing
      Islamic radicals of the ethnic Uighur minority in
      China's western Xinjiang Province to cross into
      Pakistan to join Al Qaeda, or overtly offering to
      provide Al Qaeda with antiaircraft missiles.

      "That area, even though it is in Pakistan, is
      basically under the government of China," says Afghan
      Brigadier Rawand. "There is a possibility that the
      Chinese are also involved in this, and they may give
      Al Qaeda the missiles."

      Military experts agree that the ability of Al Qaeda to
      shoot down American B-52 bombers would alter tactics
      and undermine US efforts in the Afghan war. It was the
      B-52s, together with precision-guided bombs and
      munitions, rather than troops on the ground, that
      destroyed the Taliban's defenses outside of Kabul and
      other strongholds and forced the Taliban and Al Qaeda
      to give up control of Afghanistan.

      "The Americans are proud of their control of the air,
      but they don't take care of the ground," says Brig.
      Ghulam Haider Chatak, chief of military intelligence
      for the eastern zone of Afghanistan, which includes
      Kunar, Laghman, and Nangarhar provinces. "Now they
      could lose both."

      Here in Kunar Province, a lush green region of fertile
      well watered valleys and tall forested mountains, US
      special forces carry out joint operations with local
      Afghan forces mainly along the major roads to Asadabad
      and within the capital itself.

      Local military commanders, who report to the Ministry
      of Defense, complain that the Americans are working
      only with one warlord, Commander Zarin, and not with
      the official military units of President Hamid
      Karzai's government.

      "Unfortunately, in the last six months, the
      international coalition forces haven't taken any bold
      steps against Al Qaeda," says Commander Mohammad
      Zaman, military chief of Kunar Province, under the
      command of the Afghan Ministry of Defense. "That's why
      Al Qaeda and the terrorists are all present here. They
      have only changed their outfits, from turbans to
      pukhols," floppy woolen hats favored by Afghan
      fighters in the Northern Alliance.

      Arab radicals and Taliban supporters walk the street
      of the capital here, apparently without fear of
      capture, preaching their harsh version of Islam and
      calling for an uprising against American and other
      foreign troops supporting the Karzai government.

      Bin Laden alive?
      Meanwhile, intelligence sources say that just over the
      border in Pakistan, most of the top Taliban and Al
      Qaeda leadership, including Osama bin Laden himself,
      have been seen moving into northern Pakistan from the
      tribal belt south of the Afghan town of Tora Bora. Mr.
      bin Laden, the top Al Qaeda leader, was last seen
      three weeks ago in the Pakistani tribal city of Dir,
      about 45 miles east-northeast of Asadabad.

      Osama's top lieutenant, Ayman Zawahiri, is now thought
      to be directing operations from Al Qaeda's newly built
      base in the village of Shah Salim, about 30 miles west
      of the Pakistani city of Chitral, near the border of
      Afghanistan's Kunar Province. The other base is in the
      Pakistani village of Murkushi on the Chinese border,
      about 90 miles north of the Pakistani city of Gilgit.

      To fight a new war against American forces, Al Qaeda
      is reportedly broadening its base of support to
      include new like-minded members, including the Afghan
      warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his Pashtun-dominated
      radical Islamist Hizb-I-Islami party.

      Mr. Hekmatyar's party, which received substantial
      Saudi funding, CIA training, and Pakistani military
      support during the war against the Soviet occupation
      of the 1980s, still enjoys support in Kunar and other
      Pashtun-dominated provinces and is also the closest in
      ideological terms to the Taliban.

      From exile in Iran last fall, Mr. Hekmatyar called on
      all Muslims to fight alongside the Taliban against any
      invasion of American forces.

      With its renewed mission, Al Qaeda has taken on a new
      name, Fateh Islam, or Islamic Victory. Their battle
      plan, Afghan intelligence sources say, is to launch a
      massive attack on eastern Afghanistan, by crossing
      along the poorly defended mountainous border of Kunar
      Province, where opium and timber smugglers take their
      products out of Afghanistan either undetected or with
      the compliance of corrupt Afghan border officials.

      On the streets of Asadabad itself, it's clear that Al
      Qaeda already has established a network of informers
      and preachers. In mosques and religious schools, Al
      Qaeda members have begun whipping up local anger
      against the US presence in Afghanistan, and the
      house-to-house searches in Kunar.

      One Arab man, dressed in Afghan salwar kameez, but
      wearing the traditional white headdress of a Saudi
      preacher, was seen this week standing in the center of
      the main square of Asadabad, before being led away by
      two young religious students toward a local mosque.

      Another man, who teaches primary school in Asadabad,
      told the Monitor there are plenty of Al Qaeda
      supporters in Kunar.

      "I'm proud to be Al Qaeda," says Abdur Rahim, a
      soft-voiced man who studied Islam for 16 years at a
      hard-line Islamic seminary in Peshawar, Pakistan. "I'm
      100 percent sure they will come back here. It will be
      very soon, and the Taliban were 100 times better than
      these warlords who rob us on the streets."

      "The jihad is compulsory against the kaffirs
      [unbelievers], but we cannot fight against their
      planes," he adds. Speaking of American special forces
      based in Asadabad, he says, "These are infidels and
      they have destroyed our religion. Jews and Christians,
      all of them, we want Muslim forces, we don't want
      infidels."

      As a crowd gathers, cautioning the Al Qaeda member to
      be quiet, Mr. Rahim becomes even more outspoken.
      "Everyone here feels like me, but some people have big
      hearts and others have little faith. These people are
      quiet because they have little faith."

      Other Afghans seem more pragmatic. Mohammad Malang, a
      timber merchant in Asadabad's massive lumber market,
      says hundreds of Arabs came through Kunar late last
      year, after the bombing campaign began on the mountain
      hideout of Tora Bora, south of Jalalabad. Now, when he
      carries wood to the border of Pakistan on his logging
      truck, he sees plenty of Al Qaeda fighters coming and
      going through the Afghan checkposts.

      "The Americans pay us money and we give them Al
      Qaeda," he says with a smile. "The Al Qaeda give us
      money and we give them shelter. Nowadays we are not
      giving them shelter because of the US troops here, but
      up there on the border, they are there right now up in
      the forests. They come and go and nobody stops them."

      Even some border security officials admit that it
      would be easy for Al Qaeda to enter Kunar Province.
      "This is a long border, and we don't have enough
      forces to patrol it," says Wazir Mohammad Sadiq,
      deputy commander of checkpoints for the Kunar Border
      Security Force. "We need the Americans there. They
      only come once a month, and they never stay long. They
      just have a cup of tea, chat, and leave."

      Haji Said Amin Khan, commander of a checkpost on the
      border, says that his men used to stop every car
      coming from Pakistan, but was ordered to stop this
      practice by Commander Jandad, the former governor of
      Kunar.

      "We were told not to stop certain people, like armed
      men, and even now, people can come and go without
      questions," says Mr. Khan.

      "But the problem is that we need thousands of men to
      patrol the border in Kunar. There are four main roads
      into Kunar, and we have checkposts on those roads, but
      there are lots of other smaller roads. Al Qaeda is not
      stupid enough to come on the main roads, so they take
      the other roads."

      Commander Zaman, the military chief, says that his men
      are preparing for a long war against Al Qaeda, even if
      they have to continue fighting without any salaries or
      coordination with US forces.

      "You can't defeat an ideology with a gun, so the best
      we can do is create a new ideology, and make people
      feel that we are making the situation better than
      before," he says. "If that works, that's great. But if
      not, then we already have our enemy and their guns
      here among us."

      Afghan plea to US: 'Listen to us'
      The vehicle was full of armed men who could have been
      friends, foes, or just another group of Afghan men out
      for a ride.

      But what is certain is that when the vehicle
      encountered a checkpoint manned by US special forces
      soldiers on Tuesday night, a gunbattle broke out. US
      forces say one of the Afghans aimed his Kalashnikov at
      a US soldier and pulled the trigger. The Afghan's gun
      jammed, but US soldiers opened fire, killing all four
      of the Afghan fighters. None of the American soldiers
      was injured.

      But the slain Afghans were friends, not foes. They
      were soldiers working for the Afghan military chief,
      the sons of a prominent tribal leader, and should
      never have been told by US soldiers to disarm, say
      local military commanders.

      Even before the gunfight, tempers in Asadabad were on
      edge. On Monday, soldiers killed two men who fired at
      them from a hilltop.

      And for the past two weeks, US special forces have
      been conducting house-to-house searches in this dusty
      frontier capital of Kunar Province near the Pakistan
      border, looking for heavy weapons and Al Qaeda
      supporters. According to top Afghan leaders here, the
      invasive procedures violate strong Pashtun traditions,
      which forbid outsiders to enter their homes and see
      their women.

      Afghan merchants, political leaders, and military
      commanders say that local sentiments are turning
      sharply against the US forces here.

      "So far the relationship with US forces here is just
      neutral, neither positive nor negative, but it's going
      in the negative direction," says Acting Gov. Haji Ali
      Rahman. "We hope the US forces will use their
      cleverness and change their tactics. But if they
      continue to search houses, even my own commanders will
      not work for me."

      He smiles through his long grey beard. "The first
      revolt of the villagers will be against us, because we
      are the ones who brought the US forces here."

      Public anger over the house searches has grown so much
      that Governor Rahman called an emergency meeting of
      tribal elders this week in Asadabad, where dozens of
      Pashtun leaders vented their anger at the Americans.
      Some leaders called for Afghan forces to stop
      cooperating with the US forces. This idea was quickly
      squelched, when the Afghan military chief of the
      province, Brig. Mohammad Zaman, pointed out that his
      troops � including the four men killed on Tuesday
      night � haven't even been asked to conduct joint
      operations with US forces in anti-Al Qaeda operations.

      "Right now they are working with just one warlord, and
      they aren't getting any results except angering the
      people," says Brigadier Zaman. "They don't have to pay
      us, we will fight with our own guns, our own rations.
      But at least they should listen to us."

      Instead, the US forces are working with Commander
      Zarin, a local warlord who was the first Afghan leader
      to help the US forces in Kunar Province in the buildup
      to the fall of the Taliban last November. US military
      spokesmen at Bagram airfield in Kabul say it is up to
      local US commanders to decide who to work with, and in
      many cases the US special forces continue to work with
      a local warlord they know rather than with leaders
      deployed by the Kabul government.

      "This is a common statement that you hear from local
      military chiefs, 'Why aren't you working with us?'"
      says Lt. Col. Roger King, spokesman for the US
      military at Bagram. "In some cases, our forces have
      been working with local commanders, or warlords, long
      before the Ministry of Defense in Kabul was formed.
      We're in a transitional phase, and you may see some of
      that coordination shifting over to more official channels."

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