The Taliban And Al Qaeda Are The Same

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 2 months ago

The National Interest has an important account from the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The money quotes follow.

November 11, 2007—Veteran’s Day. I was a veteran waiting to meet the Taliban. I hated this, but I was here now. A young man, called Abu Hamza, a nom de guerre, entered the room and sat down, pointing his rifle low, but at me. He wore an infrared light on his turban. Someone was backing him. Why was he fighting? “We are fighting jihad,” he said. Who supported him? “Elders,” he replied. “Pakistan. We live in the mountains, but for training we go to Pakistan. Sometimes the army comes and trains us. “We know they are in the army, but they have gray beards, like you.”

[ ... ]

A month later, at midnight, I sat in the mountains south of Tora Bora. A Predator buzzed above us and I shivered in the cold. A Taliban commander, about forty years of age, quoted from the Koran before he answered each of my questions. Their support came from God, from the tribes and religious parties in Pakistan, he said. Jihad was jihad. They didn’t care about or look for support from the Pakistani army. He was from Waziristan. I asked about al-Qaeda. “The Taliban and al-Qaeda are the same,” he responded. “We fight under Mullah Muhammad Omar. He started on the mountain tops as we do now.” A dozen teenagers and young men in their early twenties sat with us. I asked how they trained. “They are the sons of the mujahideen,” he said proudly. “Fighting is in their blood, as it was in the blood of their ancestors.”

[ ... ]

The more the U.S. pushes into the east near the Pakistani border, where there are mountains and forests, places to hide and where men have been fighting outsiders for centuries, the more that Pakistan, and its proxy army, the Taliban, will fight back. “Not a shot would be fired in Afghanistan,” my jailer said, “without Pakistan’s approval.” It knows that the U.S. is pulling out of Afghanistan and is desperate to regain its influence there—and to sit at the negotiating table.

Encapsulated in this one account of a man who was kidnapped by the Taliban are two themes I have pressed before: the ideological alignment of the Taliban and AQ, and the duplicity and in fact even role of direct opposition that Pakistan plays in Afghanistan.

Can we please end the juvenile pretensions that we can play nice with the Taliban and re-engage them in the government?  The Taliban and al Qaeda are the same.  Those aren’t my words.  I just quoted them.



  • davod

    It should mean something that, even though Ayman al-Zawahiri was the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda, Bin Laden declared his allegiance to Mullah Omar, who is the spiritual leader of the Taliban.

    Will Ayman al-Zawahiri’s leadership of Al Qaeda signal a change in the relationship with the Mullah Omar and the Taliban?

  • davod

    PS. The Clippings link to Victor Davis Hanson on whether Afghanistan is really the “graveyard of empires …” is not working.

    Hanson’s November 5, 2009 “Afghan Mythologies” can be found here http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/11/05/afghan_mythologies_99028.html

  • okiquit

    “A Predator buzzed above us …”

    It was my understanding that Predators fly so high and quietly that they cannot be heard on the ground?

  • Pingback: JOHN BERNARD: THE ARAB SPRING THAT WASN’T | RUTHFULLY YOURS

  • http://umc-unofficiallaymanopenforum.ning.com/ Warbucks

    John Bernard’s, well reasoned “The Arab Spring That Wasn’t”, as well as Victor Davis Hanson’s 2009 column’s conclusion on Obama, both leave out reference to one other scenario on why we are there in the first place, the Forbidden Topic.

    As all good Marines, we fight the wars we are dealt. And John Bernard, Hanson, and Herschel are tops in that regard. And maybe that’s enough. But not for me. I want to know the “why,” and that seems to require membership in Skull & Bones.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    But that’s part of the debate, and my web site is chock full of pages and pages debating that very point. “Why” is a question that has occupied this blog for the duration of its existence.

    If you believe that we are simply colonizing far away places because we are an imperial power and Afghanistan is susceptible to our bullying, then we should come home. Or, if you believe that there was adequate reason for launching the operation at the beginning, but that the Taliban aren’t idologically aligned enough with AQ that they wouldn’t give them safe haven today and thus let them rebuild and launch further attacks against the American homeland, then we should come home.

    But also remember, we have discussed this before. Be careful what you wish for and advocate.

    http://www.captainsjournal.com/2010/09/28/a-terrorist-attack-that-america-cannot-absorb/

    I like Ron Paul’s fiscal policies, but I still believe that the young ones who advocate isolationism viz. Ron Paul simply do not know what they are advocating. It may take a rude awakening for then to see the protection that America’s “imperialism” provides. You know … an Iranian nuclear bomb exploding in Haifa aboard a vessel taken there by its proxy forces, Hezbollah … a NK missile headed for California … a reasserting of Russian hegemony in its “near abroad” and all the trappings associated with that (including higher gas and oil prices) … an Iranian takeover of the gulf region … Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, UAE, etc., all going nuclear because Iran did … cartel wars coming to your hometown … Los Zetas and MS-13 gang members roaming the streets of El Pasa, Austin and Houston … suicide bombers in U.S. cities (recall that at least 25% of young Muslims condone suicide bombings … right?):

    http://www.investigativeproject.org/377/new-poll-on-us-muslim-youth

  • Pingback: Re-Analyzing the ‘World Saving’ Arab Spring…That Wasn’t!


You are currently reading "The Taliban And Al Qaeda Are The Same", entry #7390 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,al Qaeda,Pakistan,Taliban and was published August 16th, 2011 by Herschel Smith.

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