We had an opportunity to talk with a Taliban military commander while he was visiting his village. He said he was willing to answer all our questions provided we did not edit anything .
We agreed to do so and we also agreed not to divulge his identity or location or which group or geographical area he came from or belonged to.
In return he agreed to answer all our questions regardless of the topic.
Here is the entire interview. The only inadvertant editing that might have taken place in this piece is due to the translation from Pushto to English in paraphrasing.
No attempt has been made either to soften or harden the views expressed.
The answers are being presented “as is.”
The letter Q- is being used for the questioner and the letters TC- is being used for the Taliban commander.
How old are you?
TC: I am 27 year old.
Q – Are you in good health? I ask this because you look a lot older than that
TC: I am diabetic and have to take insulin for it. Other than that I am in good health.
Q- you do not seem to be the typical Talib that we are used to hearing about.
TC- What do you mean ?
Q- Well , usually we think of Talibs as sort of un-sophisticated…..
TC- You mean a Jahil, uneducated, violent peasents and labourers and so on.
Is that what you are trying to say ?
Q- Well , not exactly but I think you are close to it.
TC- Well , how do I differ from your stereotype.
Q- You seem to be an educated and intelligent person and your physical appearance is not that of a peasent.
TC- Yes I am educated.
I thought you wanted to talk to me about the events and our view of the military events.
Q Please explain to us what is the reason as to why you are fighting against the Govt of Pakistan?
TC- You are wrong.
It is not we who are fighting agaisnt them but it they who have attacked us on behalf of the Americans.
We have an illigitimate and illegal usurper group of thieves and crooks which is occupying our country . And they have rented the army to the Americans to control their people.
If I told you that the Martians had come to Pakistan and caused some politicians to mutate and become their mutant human beings- YOU would say that it was science fiction.
But that is exactly what has occurred in Pakistan- the only difference is that instead of the Martians the Americans are here having created their mutant “pseudo-American agents” to rule and control Pakistan.
Q- How can you say that. The present Govt. has been elected by the people of Pakistan on 18th of Feb 2008 in a general election.
TC- And YOU believe that !.
You take a group of people who would not have been able to stand for election anywhere because of their crimes against the country.
Then American Govt buys the murderer Musharraf-( their agent) with the promise of saving his dictatorship – and his rubber stamp parliament passes an ordinance washing them clean of all their crimes including murder.
Wallah ! Now they are clean. So these people run for election and are able to fool the people of Pakistan into putting them incharge.
And you think that is representative Govt.
It is as though all the people of Pakistan were thieves and crooks and murderers and THEY elected crooks and thieves as their leaders !
Well , they might be YOUR leaders but we have different point of view about your fair elections of Feb 18th 2008.
Q- Well , let us leave that aside.
Pakistan came into being when Jinnah claimed that the Muslims of Indian sub-continent were a separate and distinct nation with a different way of life based on their faith Islam and that they wished to live by that.
To day -after 60 plus years-
– is there a place in Pakistan that you see anywhere that people are living by the Islamic Sharia ?
Go ANYwhere, in any big or small city – all you see is cheap third-rate clones of the West and they live by and for the immoral ways of the West.
When you drive in Lahore or Karachi don’t you see the giant bill boards with pictures of women wearing skin tight clothes which are designed in order to sell this product or that product .
This is all being done to make big profits for the politicians or their friends.
Even in the villages and I mean our villages in the Pukhtoon areas, the spread of continuous moral and ethical degeneration is visible every where. The CD shops are renting out pornographic DVDs which are being watched by the people in the villages.
And you mentioned the army of Pakistan- the same army which has been rented to the Americans.
Recently the elite of Pakistan who live in their air conditioned palaces in the big cities have been and are banging their war drums for more and more military operations in areas where they see the people who oppose their imported way of life .
We would like to live by the rules of Islam-( which was the reason for this country to come into being in the first place ) – and the large majority of the people of Pakistan want to do that- BUT
those in power are only interested in promoting corruption and debauchery-
-who have become slaves of the West both in a political and cultural sense –
-and all our attempts at dialogue and discusion having been rejected-
well ! we have been left no alternative but to continue to struggle and fight.
I wasn’t quite ready for that severe of an attack- but go on.
You have had defeat after defeat in your military struggle against the army. The latest defeat is in Swat.
How do you propose to continue your failing struggle?
I can only comment on the military matters as I know nothing about politics..
Q- Go ahead.
TC- Let me give you my answers about the military matters.
Q- No. If you do not mind let us pospone the military aspect of things a bit later .
TC- No . You asked the question about the military matters and I will answer that.
We had a meeting of the senior military commanders after the Swat situation developed.
The field commanders and the leadership was present for dealing with the current fluid military and political developments in Malakand Agency.
It came down to two ideas which were discussed at length .
The first group of commanders felt we should stop our actions in Swat and negotiate some form of settlement with the ANP administration in the Frontier, as this was the best possible group of Politicians since they were Pukhtoon.
The second group which consisted of the younger people felt that we ought to withdraw to the mountains and then activate the secret operational cells in the Big cities and carry out a full, aggressive military operation against the centers of our enemies.
Commander Z discussed his ideas on the situation
We are facing 50,000 army soldiers with 3,000 fighters.
We do not have the numbers nor do we have the modern weapons to match the fire power of those that are fighting against us.
In this situation if we wish to continue our struggle – extreme measures are needed.
Our aim should be make it very painful for them to do so in both political and military terms.
We should try to carry out our military operations in the non-Pukhtoon cities of Pakistan as the population in those areas lacks the audacity and toughness of the Pukhtoon race.
The public in the cities is used to the western luxuries of life.
We should carry out our operations in a decisive and devastating manner.
Once we do that they will themselves ask for getting rid of the politicians in power today to replace them with those that can stop the war and let them get back to their normal lives.
We should use the two weapons that we still have.
The first is the use of remote controlled explosive devices placed in key locations such as the supply of gas and electricity and esp.: petrol stations at a time when very few people are around.
This timing is essential for improving our political capital amongst the common people. We need to send the message but should try to avoid casualties of the common man as much as possible.
The other option we still have is the very selective use of the Kamikaze operation which should be carried out in areas such as the big hotels frequented by westerner and the rich elite of Pakistan, cinemas and gold jewelry bazaars.
These should be carried out when the minimum number of people is around these areas. The purpose of this plan would be to show that we could be anywhere and everywhere. The use of this method will bring the entire country to a halt from a business standpoint.
Our objective should be to carry out such operations in a TIME concentrated mode- meaning that the operations are carried out in a TIME concentrated mode- meaning that the operations are carried out at once or simultaneously in multiple locations in a very short space of time.
This will have effect of complete logistical paralysis of the Govt ‘s power to react or function and a realization by the common man that their leaders are powerless against us.
It will create panic in the enemy and will give us confidence to continue our struggle to establish our ultimate goal of an Islamic State in Pakistan. “
Next Commander Mohammad J asked to speak.. Here is what he said-
“We simply do not have enough explosives to do the bombings in more than two places at one time.
The donations have dried up being insufficient to support anything but a token struggle.
To carry out any ambitious plan would not be possible if we are to continue and plan for a long term struggle which is a must since our organsiation must first survive if it is to fight another day.
I would suggest that we lie low and pretend to be completely defeated till the military onslaught against is over and then later start again in a planned manner while not making the political and military mistakes that we have made “
Majority declined to accept Commander Z ‘s recommendations .
Most members cited the comments of commander J as the lack of adequate resources –(both in personnel and materiale) as the reasons. “
Q- A lot of your military commanders have been killed accoridng to the official circles. How are you going to deal with that loss of leadership.
TC- Some commanders have been killed but you must keep in mind this a very young organisation, continuing to evolve. There are many battle tested indivisuals ready to take over any position if someone is killed.
Q- what are your own opinions about those discussions on this military defeat in Swat ? How would you react .
Could you share your own views about this?
First let me try to explain Z ’s Plan of action.
Let us suppose there is a fort to be attacked.
We can take 10 pick up trucks with 10 mortars – and fire the mortars fired one after another –
What Commander Z. was saying -was to fire all the mortars at once at one traget- the effect will be devastating.
So what Z was suggesting was that we should have one hundred attacks in one hundred different places without warning -at the same time- say at 11 PM.
If this was to be done- and I do not know if that is even possible- but just IF –then this would place the Govt under insurmountable pressure just to manage the logistics of rescue and management.
And we already know incompetence, corruption and lack of resources –the govt will not be able to provide the emergency services that will be needed. The net political effect would be catastrophic .
Now as to my own views.
I would consider an even more ruthless plan of action if we are defeated in Swat.
We should attack each every power center of the our enemies and do it at one time.
First we should make a list of all those politicians who are supporters of the policies being perused against us.
And once this is done- we should make an all out effort to carry out targeted assassinations against these people.
Second even if our attempts for the above are only partly successful-
– we should use mortars and grenade launchers on pick up trucks to attack their homes, their cars and their places of work .
– For this we will require precise intelligence information as to whose wedding they might go to or whose funeral they will go to . How do we get this info ? We send our people to get hired in key positions as guards, cooks, servants, malees etc etc. Believe me we will have the capacity to get that information.
This will help us in two ways.
First we will eliminate our targets but even if we do not- we will start sending letters to those people who are inviting them that they should not since we are coming and thus people will stop inviting these people in order to have a safe wedding or such gatherings.
Q- Sorry for the interruption but we must ask you about the lack of resources.
There is a resources problem but this is a struggle for our very survival.
Wars are fought with what you have and not with what you may be able to get in the future and our struggle has always been with very limited resources.
I think we can spread panic even with firing one bullet or exploding one bomb.
Q- How do you do that?
We simply tell people one day in 100 different market places that there will be a bomb blast at 8.30 PM .
No bomb blast takes place.
Then we tell them again.
No bomb blast.
Third time we tell them again. No one believes.
Bomb Blast right on time in one hundred places at the same time.
Now we have established credibility.
Next time we create panic by just saying that there will be a bomb blast. And we will do that in multiple places at times which will be utterly unpredictable(for our enemies). So we have used one-tenth resources to achieve our objective and thus the problem of resources is solved
Q- Don’t you think that the Govt’s intelligence agencies will discover this and your whole plan will fizzle out.
TC- I do not think so . This is going to be a bit technical -we have in place a cellular- multi-compartment Rhomboid- square structure in place already where each compartment is independent and un-aware of any other cell or compartment ; connected by a few special key indivisuals each of whom only know of two cells.
If and I say if there is a security breach in one cell- the connecting link will be removed at once and so the whole structure still remains secure.
Besides we can assure mobility for each cell which can be moved from one place to another and replaced by another cell or compartment.
Q- Ok get back your own views.
Oh yes- MY aim would be the complete isolation and insulation of the present group of politicians from the people in the country where no one believes anything these people say and increase the level of hatred against them to the point that they are kicked out and are replaced by a more thoughtful and patriotic group of people at the top.
I would attack the elite schools when there are no children present- say at night. We should try to completely destroy all those schools that educate the children of the elite in western style of life and thinking.
We can send a message to the teachers and parents that we can do that during the day too next time if you like.
You appear to be a soft, thoughtful sort of person but I am astonished to hear such cruel ,callous and chilling staements from you.
And what is even more disturbing to me is that there appears to be a strange sort of detachment and serenity on your face when you are talking about such matters .
Can you please explain any reasons for that.
The answer is very simple.
I started by being a employed as a rescues worker where I was one of those who evacuated the dead bodies after the bombings, first by the Americans, then their Drones and then by the Pakistani Air force.
As you know they attacked the wedding processions and the funereal processions. And there were dead bodies to be picked up and burried and the area cleaned and that is what I did when I was a teenager.
Slowly, very slowly those dead bodies started having an impact on me.
At first when I saw all of that – I did cry when I was alone.
I read about atrocities done against the Muslims such as the invasion of the Muslim lands by the Mongols. I read about Karbala .
Then I stopped crying and came to the conclusion that I should do something rather than crying about this as a helpless human being .
I have not talked about this problem of mine with anyone.
Once I decided then I took the only action I had available to me
I went and joined the military wing of the Taliban.
I feel that the evil that has been brought to us by Musharraf and the Americans —must be eradicated.
It can only be eradicated by changing the thought process which brought it here in the first place.
We simply cannot go and have political meetings and give speeches and get it done.
If it could be done by speeches and political meetings – then all the Muslims to-day would be Shia since the Shia Mullahs have been giving speeches for 1300 years about injustice and ZULM at Karbala that was done to the Grandson of the Prophet(PBUH).
We do not have the luxury of time.
We cannot wait for 1300 years .
We want to get it done in our lifetime.
So we are going to be using force to compress time and make the events move at a much faster pace. We will control as to what happens.
We are setting the agenda and the only option our enemies have is to react .
But by the time they react- we should move on in time and in space .This is what Commander Z’s idea is all about.
We are trying to define the good and the evil in a fashion that no one can dilly-dally or be ambivalent about this struggle when we are done.
Q- Don’t you think you have failed in doing that . And do you ever think about failure?
TC- I will answer your last question first .
Question of failiur .
Yes. We deal with it every moment of every day of our lives
What would have been success for us.
We had hoped that when Musharraf sold Pakistan to the Americans in 2001 – the people of Pakistan would have all come into the streets and said that we won’t have this.
We had hoped that the Patriotic army of Pakistan would have toppled Musharraf and replaced him with someone who loved Pakistan more than himself or America.
We had hoped that when the American started bombing Afghanistan- the whole Muslim world would have risen as one and stopped the supply of oil to them.
We had hoped that Qatar and Kuwait and Pakistan would have refused to allow the Americans to fly their bombers from their lands to bomb and kill the Afghans.
And we had hoped that the people of Pakistan would have chosen NOT to put in place a person who is a known Heroin Drug Lord purcahsed by the Americans as president of Pakistan.
We had hoped and wished that all those self proclaimed supporters of Benazir would have come out in the streets and toppled Musharraf and established a Govt that would be for Pakistan and not a slave of America
All our hopes have been dashed.
So yes we deal with failure a lot and perhaps this is God’s way of testing and strengthening our resolve in this struggle.
I feel that we will not fail because we are on the right path.
Q- Are you afraid of dying?
What about the whippings, lashings and be-headings that have been done.
How can you justify that.
Lots of our leaders have been killed in targeted assasinations.
That was made possible by the information provided to our enemies by spies.
We decided to make SPYING against us very expensive for those who might do it themselves or who might try to recruit others to do it.
It is true that some spies have been be-headed and I think that has achieved our goal where no one is even thinking of spying against us anymore.
We have also be-headed murderers and rapists.
All of Pakistan except for a few elites would like to have the same form of justice applied in their lives to muderers and rapists.
We are trying to remove immorality and corruption and for those crimes of immorality lashings have been carried out but they have been few as everyone knows and understands the tough rules.
But the lies and fabrications that the TV and the Westernized Elite have tried to spread as propaganda are not true.
We are not lashing 1500 people every day or be-heading 100 men or women every other day.
Let me ask YOU a question.
The Govt of Pakistan rules and controls the big cities with their administration their police and their judiciary, their rangers and their SWAT and Commando forces. They have their Intelligence agencies.
Do you hold them responsible for all the murders, robberies and rapes that take place in Karachi, Lahore and other cities? And I am only talking about the cities.
Does the newsmedia show the video –(every ½ hour on the hour)- show the murdered victim’s bodies or the raped women for days on end.
No you do not. Imagine what will happen if you did.
Oh! I see that you do not hold the Govt accountable for the crimes committed by the criminals. OK.
But then why do hold us responsible for the crimes that happen in the areas that we are supposedly controlling.
As yet you appear to hold us responsible for everything that happens in the areas that YOU say we control. You assume that just because we are there – the criminals just leave. There ARE criminals everywhere and we can only deal with those that we can catch. Our resources are very limited. We do not have the police, we do not have the IB or FIA or CID or the ISI.
Q- What about all the kidnappings in the cities of the NWFP ?
We do not kidnap . None of our people do that sort of thing.
But sometimes we are contacted by the kidnappers who have got a certain person that might interest our organsiation and then we purchase that indivisual from them so that we can use that person for the purpose of exchange to win freedom of our own people who are in the custody of the Govt.
Q – What about this closure and bombings of Girl’s schools. ?
This is another illustration of the deceit, disinformation and lies of the Govt Pakistan.
The truth is that when the Army and the Frontier force moved into Swat- they would use the girl’s schools to house their soldiers and to store their ammunitions. Once we found that out- we attacked the buildings and destroyed them. I think it was a good military approach even though we knew that politically it would not make us look good on TV.
Q- You have been described as barbarians? Would you like to comment on that?
TC- those that describe us as such do not know the meaning of the word barbarian. This word was invented by the ancient Greeks to describe those that could not speak GREEK! I guess in a sense we are barbarians since we speak Pashto and not English or URDU.
Q- Well, I think what they meant by the word barbarians was not what you have said. They were talking more of the cruelty, animals and in Urdu “WEH SHEES”, murderers etc.
You who are an educated and intelligent person and YOU are asking these rather silly question.
I understood very well what they mean when they call us barbarians.
Pray tell me how often have they called George Bush a Barbarian?
Or perhaps they have called him a killer, a murderer
Or an animal- have they?
Or have you called Musharraf a killer of his own people or an animal or a PIMP for selling his own people for dollars to the Americans.
I am sorry to say you have not.
In the whole of Muslim world there is only one man who can claim the honor to call Bush a killer and murderer to his face.
And that is the journalist who threw his shoe at Bush!
And the only place where he is being called a hero is India- (Luckhnow) and in Iran.
We did not expect any different from these Black Sahibs of Pakistan.
We are very harsh with murderers. Yes we are. If you call us animals for that – then you should be calling your friends the Saudis also the same.
But you do not because they have a lot of money and they support you with petrol when you have no money to buy it.
BUT at least we do not elect MURDERERS to be president of Pakistan.
Now that you have been defeated in Swat and the operations are going on in Mohamed, Bajaur, Orakzai Tirah, Khyber and now the Govt is planning to attack Waziristan- it does not look very good for your struggle as you describe it.
Can you share with us your thoughts?
TC- I do not know if you have the patience or the time to listen to what I have to say.
Q- Go ahead. We have the time but your answers might bring more questions and do YOU have the time to answer any questions than might arise from your answer.
TC- When I agreed to answer all your questions- I agreed and a
Pukhtoon’s word is always good .
So I will answer your questions whatever they might be
Militarily we have had a set back but only a setback.
Most of our leadership is intact and has gone to safer grounds. Our people and the organisational infrastructure is in place and will remain in place to be activated when the time is ripe.
What you fail to understand is that our people are dedicated and have faith in their goal.
The Govt has will lose credibility as they are seen as agents of the USA.
We have been successful in convincing the common man of that.
When we come back next time and we will come back- we will be smarter, wiser and we will be stronger and we will use more political methods to get our goal.
Mohmand and Bajaur.
Yes we have had a very severe set back but again in military terms only. As long as the Americans continue in Kunar and other areas- we will continue to grow and resist there and the sympathy for us and animosity for the Govt will continue to grow in Moahmand and Bajaur.
Orakazia and Tirah.
The problems we face in Khyber and Tirah are in one word division and lack of unity of the people.
Part of the reasons are that there are a substantial number of people there who have great commercial interests in the supply line to the forces in Afghanistan. A lot of people who support us own the trucking industry and they make a lot of money that way .At this time the decision has been made at the highest level not to attack those interests as of yet. But let me tell you the plans have been made and are in place and will be activated at the appropriate time.
The planned operation/ attack on the Mehsud will fail. Attempts to divide the Mesud and Wazir will fail . History tells us that NO ONE can control the Mehsud. The Wazir will not sit idle. And anyone who will join or appear to join the Govt will be taken care of. I know that the Govt will try to split the Taliban organisation- but mark my words. Anyone who joins the Govt. will be treated as a traitor and taken care of.
Q- What does that mean “ taken care of “
TC- They will be no more.
It will be a very long conflict and will slowly spread to the rest of Pakistan. It is a very bad decision on the part of the slaves of the USA in Pakistan. The Commander Z. operation will be activated and only God knows what will happen.
Q- But you have merely described events or as events might unfold. You have not told us YOUR thoughts. Let me ask my question in a different manner.
Let us suppose YOU were the man making the decisions or your decisions were to be put into action. What would you do taking into account the situation visible to us to day.
I would immediately start the Commander Z Operation with some modifications.
First I would design a plan where I will divide the country into four operational areas .
Then I would collect 50 % of all the resources available to me and plan to carry out 50 IED explosions in one operational area at 9.30 PM in all the Jewelry Bazaars and their electric supply. -(Transformers etc)- at one time.
After that I would ruthlessly attack all those individuals- (politicians and TV commentators etc) who support this policy of the GOVTagainst us.
I would refrain from attacking the military because that will appear to show that the military is somehow aligned with us in a secret fashion and that will sow seeds of dissention between them and the politicians.
I have been immunized by the deaths of all the innocent people whose dead bodies I was burying when I was a
I have been immunized by the killings of all the men, women , children and infants that I have buried with my own hands and whose blood has stained my heart and my soul forever.
The screams of those children for their fathers and mothers who lay dead next to them have immunized me for times immemorial to come.
I wish to communicate my pain to the oppressors and tormentors and their collaborators in the only language they understand and will understand. And that is to make them feel what I felt and what a lot of people felt in the FATA and Afghansitan and Swat etc when their dear ones were blasted into smitherines by the American Bomber aeroplanes and drones flying from the Pakistani Airport. And mind you the Pakistani Govt was getting paid for allowing the Americans to do that.
That is my answer to you when you talk of humanity and fairness and justification !
Q- But wait a minute isn’t that vengeance?
TC- Yes you can call it what you wish.
I will continue to collect resources and repeat the same in other operational areas but with the same proviso. All the bombs would be timed to go off at once in the same locations.
Then next time- once again without warning in a different location and at a different time.
Q- How long will you do this?
Till the Govt changes and the policy to allow the Americans to fly from Pakistan and bomb FAT and Afghanistan is stopped.
Establishment of an Islamic State based on Islamic Sharia and egalitarian principles and total abrogation of the Laws put in place by the British Indian Govt. Elimination of the unfair distribution of land and wealth
Q- Would you like to say anything else?
TC- No matter what happens in Swat or Waziristan – we are here to stay .
We will evolve.
We are not going to disappear.
You can see some of us but you do not know a lot of us.
We are present near you and far away from you.
When the times comes and that time will come- we will be like a tseunami and there will an Islamic Pakistan.
Get used to the idea.
Q- Is there a way to avoid all of this?
Rise like you did in bringing back the Chief Justice.
Rise to get back your country from thieves who are owned by the Americans.
Rise and get rid of the thieves, robbers and crooks and pimps who are to-day ruling you.
Rise to get rid of the modern day Yazids and Shimmers.
Rise to stop the modern day Karbala.
Q- I forgot to ask you and you have not mentioned one word on suicide bombers. Could you tell us something about who is brain washing those young boys and young men to do this horrendous cowardly act ?
TC- I was afraid that you would ask me something about that.
The honest answer is that I do not know and am not aware of that aspect of the military operations and I know your face shows that you do not believe me. In my own view this is a very complex issue for a military person like me. But I would like to say one thing to you.
Anyone who calls the suicide bomber cowardly is a liar and a coward himself.
Just try to imagine that YOU are going to do it yourself and the question that should at once come to your mind will be WHY ?
When life has lost all it’s meaning due to what you have been subjected to- death as a part of vengeance does not appear too dismal.
If the question of the suicide bomber bothers you then stop doing what YOU are doing which is driving them to give the ultimate scarifice for their cause.
Give them HOPE and a reason to live and reason to believe in their future life where their dear ones are allowed to live their normal and natural lives .
I do not expect that from a Govt of criminals hired and paid by foriegners .
Q- I would like to ask one final question.
You sit here and speak in the most chilling manner -yet on the other hand your face and body language shows that you are completely at peace and in a tranquil state of mind ?
The time of doubt is over for me.
I AM at peace with myself and with my maker.
I have faith in my cause and my struggle.
Often in the past when I had doubts- and I had many doubts-
I used to think about what thoughts Imam Hussain may have had in his mind at Karbala on the 10th of Muharram when he was alone facing certain death at the hands of the 10,000 soldiers of Yazid .
That thought has brought me great peace of mind.
And as a person I am at peace.
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