Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 12


A 29-page Arabic-language book entitled Sharpening the Blades in the Battle Against the Government and Army of Pakistan was released by al-Fajr Media Center on April 30. The author is Abu Yahya al-Libi, a leading al-Qaeda ideologue and Pakistan-based member of al-Qaeda’s core leadership.

Most of Abu Yahya’s work is dedicated to vilification of Pakistan’s security services, and condemning the army, intelligence agencies and police as collaborators in “the non-believer alliance that is waging war on the religion of Islam”, saying “They have established military bases and private air spaces for the various types of aircrafts of the disbelievers. They have facilitated and protected their supply lines and set up prisons to detain the monotheist believers…There is no doubt after this that this criminal army is an accomplice to the Christian armies in the crimes they carry out. They are their accomplices, and the punishment will be jihad against them.”

Abu Yahya calls on scholars of religion to promote jihad in preparation for a decisive battle against the disbelievers. “This is an invitation for the virtuous scholars of Pakistan and their righteous proselytizers to recognize the responsibility they have in inciting the believers to fight, and that the day of epic and dire meeting is coming, regardless of how hard we try to postpone or avoid it.”

The al-Qaeda leader outlines three reasons to fight the Pakistani military and “the rest of the institutions that are considered the pillars of their tyranny”:

1. Islamic scholars are agreed that non-believing rulers must be removed from power. “The non-believer (whether he is a non-believer to begin with or an apostate) is an object of humiliation and contempt, inferiority and lowliness.” Abu Yahya insists that Salafists have always taken the lead in preventing non-believers from assuming power in Muslim communities. Abu Yahya takes care to present the arguments made by famous religious scholars in support of overthrowing non-believers, relying heavily on the works of Hanafi scholars (the dominant school of Islamic jurisprudence in Pakistan) such as Abu Bakr al-Jassas al-Hanafi (d.961), Imam Ja’afar Al-Tahawi (d.935) and Ali ibn Sultan al-Qari (d.1605).

According to Abu Yahya, the president of Pakistan is just another in the line of non-believers, arguing, “If Muslims in Pakistan are ordered by the Shari’a to remove those non-believing and corrupt rulers, it will be achieved only through fighting their army and intelligence services that defend and protect them, strengthen their power, stand in the path of Muslims, and prevent them from fulfilling their duty.” Abu Yahya dismisses the idea that the army provides collective security to the Muslim community and should not be fought as contradictory. “How would [Shari’a] order us to disavow a non-believer’s rule over us and at the same time forbid us from that because the non-believing ruler’s group that defends him pretends to be Muslim, or is Muslim?” Abu Yahya notes the Pakistani armed forces are a volunteer force and thus their members are legitimate targets for the mujahideen.

2. The Pakistan Army rejects Islamic law. Abu Yahya says the army and intelligence services do not abide by most Islamic teachings and use all their power to prevent the implementation of Shari’a.

Abu Yahya makes numerous appeals for believers to attack NATO supply lines running through Pakistan. “[The government] opened the doors of supplies to the occupying enemy so that now more than 80 percent of its military, logistics and other supplies come through Pakistan, under the protection of the Pakistani army… These forces guarded their convoys, military bases, and secret prisons, and were used to pursue the mujahideen wherever they are- directly handing them over to Christian America to violate their honor and desecrate the book of God before their eyes to spite them.”

3. The Pakistan Army is an enemy that assaults Islam and must be fought. Abu Yahya accuses the military and the security services of Pakistan of invading homes, demolishing houses and torturing men and women. “It is needless to wait for them to launch a new assault. I want to emphasize that it is imperative for people to be compelled to fight these sects [i.e. the security services]. The fight is not limited to Waziristan, Peshawar, Suhat or other places, but extends to every speck of Pakistani territory.” Abu Yahya sees no difference between the current situation and that encountered at the time of the “apostate communist Russian occupation of Afghanistan.” With Pakistani forces clearly allying themselves with the “Christian Crusaders and their helpers,” the al-Qaeda ideologue concludes there is no law that would prevent Muslims from fighting them.

Condemning the government’s decision to allow Shari’a rule in Swat, Abu Yahya insists this is nothing less than an admission that the rest of Pakistan is not ruled by Shari’a and that the armed forces were fighting Muslims in Swat with the intention of preventing the implementation of Islamic law. Pakistan’s army “was established and founded not to implement Shari’a, as they claim, but to prevent it; not to help those seeking to implement it, but to fight them and not remove non-Islamic rulers, but to strengthen them and fight with them.”


Hamid Gul, the former chief of Pakistan’s controversial Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, claimed the United States was supplying arms and cash to Pakistan’s Taliban movement in a recent interview with al-Sharq al-Awsat (April 25).

Gul also claimed ISI support for the Taliban ended in 1989, but says he maintains social relations with Afghan al-Qaeda elements: “They are old friends… But it is not true at all to say that Pakistani intelligence officials are now supporting the Taliban movement and that this is their policy. This is incorrect.” One of Hamid Gul’s “old friends” is the leader of the Haqqani Network, best known for its suicide attacks on U.S., Coalition and diplomatic targets. “Jalalludin Haqqani is a personal friend of mine. When I sent my two sons to Afghanistan to wage jihad against the Soviet forces they fought alongside Jalalludin Haqqani’s men. He is a very, very good man.”

Gul described four types of fighters active in the tribal regions of Pakistan:

• Fighters who are dedicated to avenging Pakistani military operations, especially the 2007 assault on Islamabad’s Lal Masjid (Red Mosque)

• “Criminal elements” that fled Pakistan’s cities and have taken refuge in the tribal regions. These are not provided any support by the other mujahideen.

• U.S. Intelligence has established 50 mujahideen units in the tribal areas. These are formed from local and foreign elements and supported by Indian intelligence agencies.

• Mujahideen who want to fight in Afghanistan but are forced instead to defend themselves from attacks by Pakistan’s military. “This is what the Americans want. They want to see these mujahideen fighting against the Pakistani army and not crossing the borders to fight the Americans and the international forces.” The former ISI chief maintains the United States is supplying the Pakistani Taliban with arms, equipment and money to fight the Pakistani army. The Americans “want the national Pakistani youths to fight against the Pakistani army and they have succeeded in this.” Gul adds that volunteers from the Punjab region are now joining the tribal mujahideen in Afghanistan.

According to Gul, the Pakistani Taliban movement remains loosely organized. “Each tribe is fighting in its region and no tribe crosses to the region of the other tribe. Each tribe has its command structure.” The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was formed to improve cooperation, but does not yet control all the various Taliban groups in the region.

Regarding the possibility of al-Qaeda procuring weapons of mass destruction, Gul describes this as “sheer U.S. propaganda” designed to destroy Pakistan’s status as a nuclear power, saying, “The Pakistani nuclear program is the main goal of the Americans.”

Gul predicts that the American presence in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region will not be long-lived: “If the Americans are wise, they will leave Afghanistan within one year. If they are not wise, Pakistan will witness a revolution as a result of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. They will be defeated in Afghanistan and they will have to leave Afghanistan in 2010 or 2011.”