Taliban commanders watching
Knows Where the Terrorists Are, But
September 3: When former US Under Secretary of Defense Jed Babben
asked on Fox News last week the key question: “Where
are the terrorists and where does the war of terror stand,”
he was only seeking the official answer from the Bush Administration.
But Babben, and all others, know the answer. It is not even kept
a secret by the terrorists themselves.
have recently received a number of audio and video CDs here in
Washington which, by the way, are also available on every grocery
store in the troubled Waziristan tribal areas. These CDs not just
show where the terrorists are they also show what they have been
doing and how and what they intend to do.
The Communication Cell of Al-Qaeda and Taliban not only distributes
the messages of their top brass to the media but their VCDs about
their operations circulate freely. One such CD was circulated
last month showing the images of ID cards of US soldiers killed
in Afghanistan’s province of Kunar, bordering Pakistan.
The video was first aired on al-Arabia TV recently. Earlier, the
world saw Ayman Al-Zawahiri speaking on London bombings in another
video depiction. The ABC a few weeks ago played parts of these
freely available CDs.
Filmed footage of the Summer-2004
Operation of the Pakistan Army against Al-Qaeda fighters and their
local supporters in South Waziristan Agency, a part of the tribal
strip between Pakistan and Afghanistan, is now available in all
Pakistan Army had imposed restrictions
on the media to report on the military operation against local
extremists and their foreign guests. But the purpose behind the
restrictions was badly frustrated, as Ummat Studio, apparently
a secret production house of Taliban fighters, kept spreading
video CDs among local communities showing how devastating the
operation was for the Army.
It tells the visual story of fearless
retaliation by local religious militia against the troops. According
to the official records, the Army lost 232 men during the operation
while militants received more than 270 causalities, but the militants
doubt the official figures. The CDs also showed extremely gory
scenes of burnt bodies and amputated organs of civilians killed
in the military offensive.
background commentary on the images touches sympathetic hearts,
enough to motivate an ordinary Muslim tribesman to join hands
with the militants, portrayed as freedom fighters, Mujahideen
and heroes, fighting for the great causes of Islam and tribal
Professionally filmed and edited,
the CDs narrate the stories of militants’ victories over
the Pakistan Army. Details of preparations and attacks can be
seen in step-by-step sequences.
impressive part of these CDs is the filming of the attacks itself.
All the videos have uncovered faces of militants, attacking convoys
and positions of the Army with rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47
rifles and light machine guns. Some heavy arms like multi-rocket
launchers and missile batteries can also be seen. Militants using
donkeys and mules for the transportation of arms and ammunition,
communicating on walkie-talkies and reporting on the movements
of troops give a clear picture of the communication resources
used by them during the conflict. Anyone familiar with the terrain
can exactly pinpoint where the videos were shot.
One CD covers a training camp run by Shaikh Abul Lait Al Libbi,
a name on the most wanted list of FBI. Ten members of the camp
are neither Afghans nor Pakistanis. They belong to different parts
of the Arabic-speaking world, including one from Xingjian province
But the surprising aspect of the
film is the freedom with which the training is held. It is a day-long
training exercise including physical work and use of weapons with
live ammunition. The film ends on scenes of attacks on the coalition
forces in Afghanistan in mid of 2004 at a place called Shinkai
in Zabul Province of Afghanistan.
According to credible sources
in South Waziristan, hosts of Al-Qaeda terrorists established
a communication facility in Shagai, a village close to Wana, which
kept working till mid-2004. Almost all film productions now available
on CDs had taken place in the same facility in Shagai. Later,
it was moved closer to Razmak in North Waziristan.
sources are confident that at present the production center is
working in Tanak, a city adjacent to South Waziristan. The question
is: if an ordinary tribesmen can have the knowledge of Al-Qaeda
production centers, how come the intelligence agencies with all
their sophisticated gear and hardware be unaware?
The truth is that intelligence
officials deliberately keep their eyes and ears closed to the
activities of these communication cells. They know who is filming,
recording and distributing the CDs. It would certainly not be
a great operation to find out from the retail stores who was supplying
them the stuff.
Part of the mainstream Pakistani
media has also been pointing out to the locations of terrorists.
Reports on reopening of a well-known terrorist camp in Mansehra,
a district of NWFP province in Pakistan, recently surfaced when
Monthly Herald reported that eight camps were working freely in
that district. Some diplomatic sources are of the opinion that
the number of camps in Mansehra is between eight and 15. The camps
reopened in Kashmir are separate.
all this confusing state of affairs, the statement of Opposition
Leader in the National Assembly of Pakistan and Secretary General
of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, added further
fuel. The Maulana, in an angry mood, asked pointed questions from
the authorities with the purpose to seriously embarrass them.
asked the government about the nationalities of the individuals
sent to Mansehra for training. The statement was published on
August 8 in the Lahore Daily Times which read in part:
“The Pakistani Government is deceiving the US and the West
by helping militants freely enter Afghanistan from Waziristan.
We ask the rulers to reveal the identity of the people being transported
to Afghanistan from Waziristan via Kaali Sarak in private vehicles;
reveal who is supervising their trouble-free entry into Afghanistan
and reasons for their infiltration.”
further demanded: “The Government must also give the nation
the identities of the men being moved from Waziristan to militant
camps in Mansehra.”
Maulana accused Islamabad of hypocrisy, saying the rulers are
not only trying to deceive the US and the West but also hoodwinking
the entire nation.
is not surprising if Iraq is swarmed by terrorist groups for obvious
reasons but the freedom they are enjoying under Musharraf regime
in the region has no logic, though the General claims to be at
the forefront of the US alliance against ‘war on terror’
and the US government endorses it too.
So when Mr. Babben expressed his
disappointment over the failure of Bush administration in telling
the American people about the whereabouts of terrorists, he was
only implicitly attacking Musharraf and Company.
Washington and Islamabad want to find out where the terrorists
are, they need to look no further than some of the grocery stores
writer is a Pakistani journalist who was arrested by the Army
along with two French journalists for filming a Taliban training
camp. He later arrived in Washington.