The Guardian is publishing a series about the Taliban in Afghanistan and the upcoming elections by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad. The first article – which was posted yesterday – has Ghaith meeting with members of the Taliban and discussing Jalaluddin Haqqani:
“We are Afghans fighting the jihad and defending our country under the leadership of Jalaluddin Haqqani,” the commander said. He spoke in a schoolmasterly tone. As well as being a commander, Mawlawi Jalali is a teacher in Haqqani’s madrasa.
“The Americans toppled the emirate [of the Taliban] and we are fighting to bring it back. When the Taliban were here the jihad was only in Afghanistan. Now, thanks to the Americans, the jihad has spread to many other countries.”
How did he plan to pursue his holy war? “We use different tactics: mining the streets, fighting and direct attacks. Here in this camp we make all the preparations and have all the men we need for these different tactics.”
What about the new American surge, I asked. Did it concern him?
“We attack the towns, like in Wazi Zadran, where there is a strong American and Afghan garrison, and mine the streets every day. We average two or three attacks a day against the Americans and their allies. The more troops they send, the more targets we have, so it’s good.”
Allahu akbar, the men around him murmured in response.
He went on to explain the difference between his men and the average Taliban.
“We follow Haqqani. He was a smart mujahid against the Soviets and during all his wars he taught us how to focus on training and teaching. I was taught by him and most of our men were trained by him and his commanders. We have order, because we had good teaching and good training.”
The second – an insight into TehranBureau.com – the website that became synonymous with coverage of the Iran election – by its c0-founder Kelly Golnoush Niknejad for Foreign Policy.
Third off – the Foreign Policy debate on the Pakistani nuclear weapons story continues on the AfPak channel. Shuja Nawaz and Peter Bergen feature. The debate sparked from Shaun Gregory writing in the CTC Sentinel about the danger to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.