by Mohammad Jamil
After losing scores of its leaders and operatives, Al Qaeda is a fractured outfit. It however wields quite some influence over the Taliban leadership through its desperate and reckless moves. According to the details in the cover story published in the latest Newsweek captioned ‘Unfriending Al-Qaeda’, the authors – Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau – have revealed that the Taliban leaders are wary of the remnants of Al Qaeda who often express “disdain for the Taliban’s less-than-absolute commitment to jihad. They wrote: “The awful part is this: many of Omar’s followers desperately wish they knew how to get rid of their so-called allies in Al Qaeda”. They quoted a Taliban commander who said that tensions between the insurgents and Al Qaeda are running dangerously high, as the aliens do not care for their own lives and the lives of others. In Pakistan, Al Qaeda and the TTP are closely connected through a thread of co-operation, sharing training facilities, human resources and intelligence.
Recent terrorist acts inside Pakistan, which the perpetrators try to justify by citing Pakistan’s siding with the west in the war on terror, indicate closer operational ties. In Pakistan some analysts, panelists and commentriat create a lot of confusion while identifying the reasons for terrorists’ attacks not realizing that terrorists are advancing the agenda of enemies of Pakistan. After the US Navy Seals operation at Abbottabad Compound in which Osama bin Laden was killed, Al Qaeda unleashed vicious propaganda against Pakistan’s Armed Forces with a view to tarnishing their image. Al Qaeda leadership makes psychological appeals to the people of Pakistan to revolt against their own Armed Forces that are committed to fight the menace of terrorism and eliminate it. However, the people of Pakistan understand Al Qaeda’s malicious designs and reject its ideology. Unfortunately, there are some anchorpersons and analysts in local channels who wish to prove that Pakistan military knew that Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan.
Al Qaeda in its propaganda against Pakistan military has been claiming that all jihadi factions were preparing to inflict damage on Pakistan army, which is not true. Taliban factions including Maulvi Nazir, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Haqqani network reportedly under the directions of Mulla Omer avoid kidnapping for ransom, killing innocent people, suicide attacks and violent operations against security forces of Pakistan. According to a report in a section of the media, before Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack, Mulla Omer had told him to focus on fighting the American and NATO forces because fighting the Pak army was not Taliban’s priority. As per documents secured after the attack on Abbottabad Compound, Osama bin Laden reportedly held similar views. It has to be mentioned that after 9/11, Mulla Omer had even offered to hand over Osama bin Laden to a Muslim country where a faire trial could be held, as the US and its allies are not trustworthy. But the US had decided to invade Afghanistan much before the 9/11.
The Taliban leadership in Afghanistan is indeed fighting against the occupied forces, and also trying to distance from Al Qaeda. But the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has forged a close alliance with Al Qaeda, and is emerging as the biggest national security threat to Pakistan. The TTP has been responsible for destroying schools, mosques, shrines and killing innocent citizens and security personnel. In May 2012, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) had published a study titled ‘Emerging Al Qaeda strategy targeted at damaging Pakistan Army in Muslim eyes, assassinating its senior officers, annihilating it after US drawdown from Afghanistan in 2014’. Author of the study, Tufail Ahmed Director of MEMRI referred to audio/video statements of Al Qaeda and TTP militants that tend to allegedly prove that Pak Army is an apostate force having historical links with anti-Muslim crusaders, and therefore is symbolically anti-Muslim force.
In March 2012, a video was posted on jihadist forums in which Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called upon Pakistanis to revolt against their government, as they were slaves of America. Pakistan enemies agenda is aimed at (a) damaging the image of Pak Army not only in the eyes of Muslims worldwide but also among the Pakistani masses; (b) dividing the loyalties of Pakistani soldiers to their commanders; and (c) creating mistrust in the minds of Pakistani masses and soldiers. Wittingly or unwittingly, Al Qaeda and the TTP are also working on this agenda. So far as Pakistan military is concerned, it is one of the most disciplined forces in the world, and is committed to eliminate terrorism from the society. Pak Army has braved numerous terrorist attacks, and has the will and capability to destroy outfits of terrorists. A neutral observer or analyst wonders the way Pak army has fought the militants in Swat, Bajaur, Malakand and in the most difficult terrain in Waziristan and other agencies of FATA. Of course, Pak army has been able to decimate the infrastructure of the terrorists with the support of the people of Pakistan.
Al Qaeda has indeed done a great disservice to Pakistan by stirring sectarian conflict. In the first week of September 2010, a terror attack on Al Quds rally in Quetta killed 43 participants. Rumours were rife that militants of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi having link with the Taliban and Al Qaeda were behind this heinous act. However, Gordon Duff, staff writer/senior editor of ‘Veterans Today’ was of the view that Israel’s Mossad has punished Pakistanis for supporting Palestinians’ cause. He had expressed this view in his article which he concluded with these words: “Is Al Qaeda another Mossad front”. In fact, there are quite a few analysts and writers who consider 9/11 terror attacks were planned by Mossad and the CIA to justify invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Many believe that Israeli agents had made inroads in Al Qaeda who influenced the decisions by Al Qaeda such as hijacking of the planes and crashing with the twin-tower without realizing the consequence. Of course, the fallout of 9/11 events has created insurmountable problems for the Muslims the world over.[saras.org]