Afghani Leader On Jihad Against US
- January 06, 2003 No.455
Interview With Afghan Islamist Leader On Jihad Against U.S.
On December 25, 2002, Afghan Islamist leader Gulboddin Hekmatyar
announced that his militia joined forces with the Taliban and Al-
Qa'ida in a "holy war" against all international and peacekeeping
forces in Afghanistan. (1) Hekmatyar, who lived in exile in Iran
during the Taliban's rule, returned after U.S.-led forces defeated
it. Hekmatyar stated on behalf of his group, Hezb-e-Islami, that
it "will fight [its] Jihad until foreign troops are gone from
Afghanistan and Afghans have set up an Islamic government." (2) The
following are excerpts from an interview with Hekmatyar that was
published in the November 2, 2002 edition of the London-based Arabic
daily Al-Hayat: (3)
Taliban Should Focus on the U.S. Military in Afghanistan
Question: "You have declared Jihad [holy war] against the American
and foreign forces in Afghanistan but not against the government
which the Americans have created. You were criticized by the Taliban
movement because of this stand."
Hekmatyar: "There were several reasons for this. The first is that
the Afghan government is insignificant. It has no importance to make
us pay any attention to it. It does not merit a declaration of Jihad
against it. I think that it would be unwise to waste our time on a
paper government. The main reason, however, is that we must, by
religion and rationale, distinguish between the main enemy and
others. We must classify the enemies and deal with them according to
their danger. No one should doubt that this government will
automatically end when its foreign masters are defeated. Therefore, I
advise the Taliban to stop making criticisms and objections and
exercise positive action against the enemy. I advise them to
concentrate their efforts against the American forces through
military operations instead of devoting themselves to blowing up
video stores and so forth. The battle is with the Americans. The
reason for what we are facing is the American presence in
Afghanistan. We must end this presence, and then its supporters will
On Osama bin Laden
Question: "Do you have any connection with the Al-Qa'ida
organization? Have you met Osama bin Laden since your return from
Tehran? How do you view the operations attributed to him in the
United States, Kuwait, Yemen and other places?"
Hekmatyar: "No organizational relationship exists between us and the
Taliban and Al-Qa'ida. We think it is wrong to attribute the
resistance in the Islamic countries and the opposition to the United
States to the person of Osama bin Laden. American leaders made a
mistake when they thought that killing bin Laden would end the
resistance against their country because the resistance is just a
reaction to the provocative, wrong and hostile policies of the United
States against Islam. These policies have aroused the anger of the
"The Americans can kill hundreds of figures like Osama bin Laden, but
they cannot extinguish the fire of the resistance. We declare our
support for every movement that works for Islam, struggles for the
restoration of independence and helps the oppressed and persecuted in
their wars against the occupiers."
Question: "Do you view the American presence in the Arab and Islamic
region in the same way as Osama bin Laden views it?"
Hekmatyar: "The nation, whether individuals or groups, has the same
view of the American military and political presence in the Arab and
Islamic countries. All want the United States to close its military
bases, withdraw its forces, stop interfering in the internal affairs
of other countries, cease its efforts to make the Islamic countries a
market for its weapons and goods, and abandon the idea of dominating
Question: "Is it true that [there is] cooperation between you, bin
Laden, and the Taliban? Are there efforts to form a United Front?"
Hekmatyar: "I have always supported the idea of unifying all the
Islamic movements and parties on state and world levels to form a
unified front. I hope that our dream will materialize in order for us
to achieve the desired goal. However, I say that regrettably no talks
have taken place on a high level between the Taliban movement and us.
I am confident that all faithful Mujahideen will unite in one rank to
defend their religion, honor, country and people."
"Shari'a Does Not Permit Cooperation with Occupiers"
Question: "Do you have contacts with the other Afghan forces,
particularly the forces represented in the government? How do you
explain the decision of militant figures which fought against the
Soviet presence to side with the Americans?"
Hekmatyar: "We have avoided contacts with the groups that joined the
government because they sided with the United States. There was no
use in contacting them after they supported the American attack and
were now working within an Afghan administration formed by
"American forces are guarding the presidential palace and foreign
forces are in control of all the airports in the country. We think
that it is not permissible under the shari'a to cooperate with the
occupiers. It is also not permissible to join this government,
because it is an agent government. Islam does not permit a Muslim to
live in submission under infidels and aggressors. I think that
Afghanistan is currently categorized as a 'Domain of War' [Dar Al-
Harb]. All Afghans must remove the invading forces from their
country. It is not possible for us to reach a dialogue now with those
who supported the United States, because there will be no benefit in
establishing contact and dialogue with them. They sided with the
Russians in the past and received weapons and financial aid from
Message to the U.S. Congress
Question: "Do you think that your recent message to the U.S. Congress
Hekmatyar: "The purpose of that message was to expose the facts which
the American leaders have been hiding from their people and the
world... The leaders of the United States are aware of the Kremlin's
experience in Afghanistan, and they will face the same fate. They
have fallen in a swamp from which it will be difficult for them to
get out... The proof is that one year after their aggression they are
still facing attacks by the Mujahideen and counter-operations are
intensifying day after day."
Question: "What are the operations you have carried out until now?
What is the similarity between your operations and the operations
that you carried out against the Soviets in the past?"
Hekmatyar: "I pray to Allah to make my participation and share in the
Jihad against the Americans much greater than in the Jihad against
the Russians. I hope that Allah will consider me a participant in all
the operations that have been carried out and will be carried out
against the Americans. If we compare the number of operations that
took place in the first four months of the Soviet invasion of
Afghanistan with the number of operations that took place during the
same period after the American invasion, we can see that it was much
higher in terms of number and losses. The Mujahideen have applied all
the military experience and skill they learned in their war against
On Pakistan, Russia, Iran, and China's Support of the U.S.
Question: "How do you evaluate the Pakistani policy towards you? Are
you cooperating with the neighboring countries in your war against
Hekmatyar: "The Afghan people are bitter about all the states that
helped the United States in its aggression against Afghanistan.
Russia and China have problems because of the presence of Islamic
movements that oppose them. They viewed the Islamic government in
Afghanistan as the source of their problems. Therefore, they
cooperated with the United States. Iran did the same. As for
Pakistan, it is part of a competition game with India, Russia and
Iran. It found itself forced to stand with the United States on every
issue, whether small or large. It supported the United States in
forming the Northern Alliance government and did not object to the
destruction of a movement [the Taliban], which it created."
"In their struggle, the Afghan people are not hoping for any support
or aid from the neighboring countries or from the world. They will
continue the resistance, with Allah's help, depending on the weapons
and equipment they have. Perhaps after the resistance grows stronger
and our neighbors become confident that the United States was facing
imminent failure and had no other choice but to withdraw, some states
would support the resistance. This is what happened during the Soviet
invasion of our country."
Hekmatyar: Target of the U.S.
Question: "Do you regard yourself as an American target? What is your
opinion about the searching of the Shamshattoo camp in Pakistan,
where your followers are present, by the Pakistani and American
Hekmatyar: "... The United States is against every Muslim and every
Muslim power. It helped the Northern Alliance and then supported the
Taliban in its opposition to us. It forced the Iranian government to
decide to remove me from Iran. I asked it not to make a decision that
would let me fall into an American trap and be taken prisoner. I then
decided by myself to leave Iran without informing the Iranian
officials and returned to Afghanistan. The United States did not like
this. Zalmay Khalilzad, the representative of [President George] Bush
in Afghanistan, stated that the removal of Hekmatyar from Iran did
not reflect the good intentions of the Iranians. After my return to
the country, the American forces launched a surprise missile attack
on me. American intelligence chief CIA Director George Tenet stated
that a pilot-less aircraft carried out the attack, which killed four
of my followers. [U.S. Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld supported
the attack and so did Bush when he said that the United States does
not oppose attacking anyone that threatens its interests."
"The Americans thought that the attacks on their soldiers and centers
began after my return to the country and after I declared the Jihad
against the invading foreign forces. They attributed these attacks to
me because they thought that the Taliban and Al-Qa'ida were incapable
of carrying out such operations."
"Therefore, the American forces carried out a wide-scale search for
me in the various provinces. They searched Nurestan, Wardag, Ghazni
and some areas in Logar. They used to tell every province chief: 'We
know that Hekmatyar is here; we monitored his telephone calls, and we
are here looking for him...'"
On the Victory of Pakistani Islamist Parties
Question: "How do you view the victory of the Pakistani Islamic
Hekmatyar: "This is a positive development. We consider this victory
as a positive development. Therefore, we are happy that the Pakistani
people have voted for the Islamic parties. The statement issued by
the Afghan Foreign Ministry, in which it expressed its concern about
the success of what it described as 'extremist parties,' does not
represent the Afghan Muslim people. Such statements are just an
attempt to satisfy the United States. It should be noted that the
fall of the Taliban at the hands of the Americans had weakened the
morale of the believers. However, their morale has risen after the
resistance began. God willing, it will grow even stronger after the
defeat of the United States in Afghanistan."
"If the American Forces are Defeated in Afghanistan, the Islamic
World will be Safe"
Question: "What is your position regarding the American preparations
to attack Iraq?"
Hekmatyar: "We make no distinction between the attack on Afghanistan
and the attack on Iraq. We said before that the fate of the Islamic
world is directly linked to the war on Afghanistan. If the United
States succeeded, God forbid, in this war and was able to achieve its
goals, it would be difficult then to have another resistance against
the United States in any other country. If it succeeds in
Afghanistan, it will launch an all-out war against all the states it
described as 'the axis of evil' and 'the rogue states.' But, if the
American forces are defeated in Afghanistan, the Islamic world will
be safe and secure from Washington's evil and will not dare to launch
an attack on any other state. I would like to stress that the
resistance in Afghanistan has a greater chance to succeed than in any
other country. What is possible and available here is not possible in
another place. I am confident that if the Americans postponed the
attack on Iraq and did not carry it out in the coming months, they
would face a very bad situation in Afghanistan and would fall into a
swamp from which they would not be able to get out. Then, they would
not initiate an attack on any country."
The Clash of Civilizations has Begun and Will Continue
Question: "Do you think a 'clash of civilizations' has begun?"
Hekmatyar: "Yes, the war between the civilizations has indeed begun,
and this war will continue forever. I think that those who deny the
existence of this war and raise slogans for reconciliation,
understanding and dialogue between the civilizations are deceiving
the world and themselves. The slogans of reconciliation and
cooperation are Western slogans. They are being used to crush the
resistance. The Western civilization has launched a fierce war
against the other civilizations. The Westerners are calling on others
to surrender... They want their civilization to be the dominant one
in the world. Otherwise, what does reconciliation mean at a time when
the West is launching its war against us? How can understanding be
reached when the United States has established military bases in many
Islamic countries and occupied the most important strategic points in
the world by force? When Bush declared his crusader war, the Italian
Prime Minister [Silvio Berlusconi] announced that he defeated
communism and will defeat Islam, and the German foreign minister
stated that the West will not accept the shari'a authority in
Afghanistan. They are trying to impose their way of life on the poor
Question: "Do you agree with Osama bin Ladin that the current war is
a crusader war?"
Hekmatyar: "There is no doubt that this is a crusader war. What is
happening in Palestine, Afghanistan, Sudan and the possible war in
Iraq are all links in the chain of crusader wars declared by George
(1) Arabnews.com, December 26, 2002,
(3) Al-Hayat, November 2, 2002.