mullah-omar

In this photograph taken on December 11, 2014, a girl plays at a water pump in front of the mosque where Mullah Omar founded the Taliban movement 20 years ago in the village of Sangesar. At the mosque where Mullah Omar founded the Taliban movement 20 years ago, villagers are weighing up whether to side with the insurgents or the government as the United States ends its long war in Afghanistan. AFP PHOTO/Roberto SCHMIDT

Wahhabism, Deobandism, the Taliban and Al Qaeda

Mehdi Foundation International does not recognise Wahhabis and Deobandis as Muslims. Wahhabis and Deobandis do not follow the Prophet Muhammad SAW and they do not follow the teachings of the Quran. They pick things from Quran which go along with their agenda. Whatever is not in favour of their agenda, they call it ‘shirk’ and 'bid'ah.’

The Americans dealt with Afghanistan’s occupation with great superficiality. They seem to ignore everything regarding the country’s mentality, its values, its social relations, habits, traditions, and even of its history. What they have in mind – next to caring for their own business – is exporting democracy to the region; even more – pushed doing so by the outraged international feminism – forcing women to dismiss their burqas. They are victims of their own conceit…
— 

Massimo Fini, Il Mullah Omar (2011, p. 83) - my translation.

Very good book. Fini might be a bit too straightforward, but the out-of-placeness he speaks of is unfortunately true…

politico.com
How We Missed Mullah Omar: An inside account of America's botched first Predator mission

By the time President Bush announced the beginning of the war in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the United States’ new secret weapon, the Predator 3034, was already en route to the outskirts of Kandahar. It was 9:30 p.m. in Afghanistan, a clear, starry night, and U.S. intelligence officials had already tracked their target to his home…

Great article by Richard Whittle in Politico Magazine.

Talking With the Taliban

January 22, 2012

Did you know that for almost a year, the U.S. government has been secretly talking with representatives of the Afghan Taliban about a negotiated settlement of the war in Afghanistan? Well, we are. Here is some background information about Mullah Tayyab Agha, 36, the Taliban’s chief negotiator at these talks.

Tayyab Agha (his full name is Tayyab Syed Agha Popolzai Tayyeb Agha) was born in 1976 in the village of Jelahor in the Arghandab District of Kandahar Province. According to incomplete biographical data, Agha’s father, Maulavi Sadozai, was a prominent religious leader in Kandahar who also ran a network of religious schools (madrassa) throughout the province. There are unconfirmed rumors that one of Sadozai’s students in the 1980s was Mullah Mohammed Omar, who would later become the leader of the Taliban.

Unlike most of the Taliban’s senior leadership, Mullah Tayyab Agha did not ‘win his spurs’ as a mujahedeen fighters on the battlefield during the war with the Soviets between 1979 and 1989. At the height of the war in the late 1980s, Tayyab Agha’s parents did what many other prominent Afghan families were then doing - they sent their son, then a young teenager, to a religious school in the Pakistani city of Quetta to escape the fighting. Agha proved to be a gifted student, excelling at his studies, including learning English and Arabic.

Tayyab Agha turned 18 in the summer of 1994, just as his one of father’s former religious students, a 35-year old local mullah and a former low-level mujahedeen commander in Kandahar Province named Mullah Mohammed Omar, formed a militia group consisting of 53 religious students to combat the rampant corruption and endemic violence then being caused by groups of local Mujahedeen commanders, who were then fighting with one another for control of the lucrative businesses along the border with Pakistan. This was the genesis of what we now know as the Taliban.

Tayyab Agha left the Quetta madrassah and became one of the first of the Taliban’s recruits. Mullah Omar took full advantage of his education and linguistic talents, keeping the young man in Kandahar after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in the summer of 1998. Agha became Mullah Omar’s personal secretary, press spokesman, and personal translator. He also worked occasionally as a translator in the Taliban Foreign Ministry in Kabul, including a stint at the Taliban embassy in Pakistan.

After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, Tayyab Agha fled to Quetta, Pakistan with Mullah Omar. Once settled in the teeming Pashtun neighborhoods of Quetta, Agha resumed his position as Mullah Omar’s trusted personal secretary, which including serving as the Taliban leader’s liaison officer to the rest of the organization’s high command (or shura) located elsewhere in the city.

Because he spoke fluent Arabic and was computer literate, Agha became one of the Taliban’s principal fundraisers in the Persian Gulf states. Over the past decade he has frequently traveled to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states, such as Dubai, to raise money for the insurgents from friendly businessmen and arranged the clandestine transmission of this money to the Taliban’s bankers in Karachi, Pakistan.

He has also become Mullah Omar’s principal diplomat, traveling often to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere around the world to negotiate on behalf of the Taliban. Since the spring of 2010, Tayyab Agha has  been involved in secret discussions with high-ranking officials of the German government and its intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). Prior to Tayyab Agha’s arrival on the scene, the BND had tried to conduct backchannel negotiations with the Taliban since at least 2005, but without much success.

But the importance of the secret  backchannel communications link between Agha and the German government has blossomed over the past year. According to an article in the German magazine Der Spiegel, Mullah Tayyab Agha has been the Taliban’s lead negotiator in a series of secret meetings (the first of which was held in Munich in November 2010) with German government officials, with the discussions centering on the possibility of a peaceful settlement of the Afghan conflict.

Only in mid-2011 did U.S. officials apparently become directly involved in these meetings with Mullah Tayyab Agha. A key player in these now semi-overt discussions with the Taliban is U.S. State Department official Marc Grossman, who since February 2011 has held the position of U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, replacing the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

In the End

Mullah Omar could have turned over Osama Bin Laden, and very probably prevented a war. However:

“People who live close to the bone don’t have a choice other than to preserve their reputations. Call it honor, a culture of shame, or whatever you like. The point is, you don’t go around making empty threats, you don’t miss, you don’t kill the wrong person, and you don’t wander into quagmires you don’t know how to get out of. And God forbid, if you ever do, you never acknowledge the mistake.” – Robert Baer, The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins (p. 79)

Except

“Even in war there is almost always something to be gained from cooperation.” – Sylvia Nasar, A Beautiful Mind, (p. 96)