Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 4 Issue: 12


On April 28, al-Sahab Productions, which is the media wing of al-Qaeda, released a video of an extensive interview with al-Qaeda’s commander in Afghanistan, Abu al-Layth al-Libi. As part of the interview, al-Libi responds to a variety of questions, covering Afghanistan, Iraq, the state of the jihad, among other concerns. Speaking about Afghanistan, al-Libi explains how the mujahideen have gained the upper-hand in the conflict. “Immediately after the collapse [of the Taliban], gloomy events hindered the people and prevented the movement of the mujahideen,” he said. “Everyone was shocked and overwhelmed waiting to see what the West, which was coming with its military machine, would do.” Due to the patience of the mujahideen, however, “today we are experiencing mountains of realistic and true hopes [in Afghanistan], while our enemy is experiencing mountains of weakness, fear and apprehension…[We will] finish off the remnants of the enemy’s force and completely crush it.” Al-Libi also speaks of the sectarian fighting in Iraq, asserting that the current intra-religious violence is a result of the Shiites “killing the oppressed Sunnis….We beseech Almighty God to bless the strength of the mujahideen and place their hands on the throats of the infidels and apostates, particularly the renegade ones of the Shiites in Iraq. Everyone knows and has seen for himself that were it not for the Shiites revealing their ugly face and making themselves shields for the U.S. troops, the Americans would not have stayed in Iraq for such a long time.” Al-Libi spoke highly of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, putting him third on a list of great jihadi leaders of this era, behind Abdullah Azzam and Osama bin Laden, saying that al-Zarqawi “took the jihad from the edges of the place of the real conflict to the focal point of the conflict, which is Iraq.” Al-Libi also spoke of how the jihad has been spreading throughout the Islamic world, noting that “the mujahideen have come out of the bottleneck and now the fields of jihad are experiencing organized, advanced military action…Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, Afghanistan…Algeria, Somalia, and God willing, in Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and all Islamic countries and wherever Muslims are found, show that…they are now in the stage of establishing and laying the foundations of the Islamic state.”


In response to the increasing number of suicide attacks in Afghanistan, religious scholars from Helmand and Ghazni provinces in the southern part of the country have labeled such attacks as un-Islamic (Pajhwak Afghan News, April 26). Mawlawi Muhammad Rasul, a Muslim scholar from Nad Ali district in Helmand, said, “In Islam, there is no room for such assaults,” while Helmand Ulema Council Chief Haji Mawlawi Ahmad asked, “Which face of Islam are the Taliban projecting to the world by killing innocent civilians in the name of jihad?” Nevertheless, the Taliban argue that the practice of suicide attacks is in accordance with Islam, in addition to the practice of beheadings. Previously unknown to Afghanistan, suicide attacks have become an increasingly common tactic of the Taliban and other Islamist insurgents. Suicide attacks have also been occurring in Pakistan, with one of the latest incidents on April 29 in which Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao was injured (Dawn, April 28).