Posts Tagged ‘Taib Agha’
The young Taliban commander with a penchant for severing spies’ heads with strands of thin wire dragged 28 of his foot soldiers from a makeshift jail and lined them up against a mud wall at his base.
Pacing along the row of handcuffed men, the fresh-faced 21-year-old — surrounded by bodyguards — drew his pistol.
“You’re about to be punished because you’ve taken money from infidels by working on building projects in winter,” shouted Ferozuddin. He had arrived in the east Afghanistan province of Ghazni in March to take command of Andar district after an American airstrike killed his predecessor.
As the fighters begged forgiveness, Ferozuddin marched up to the first one and shot him in the left knee. One by one he kneecapped the others.
“Ferozuddin is possessed,” said a Taliban judge from the same notoriously dangerous district. “He listens to no one, not even his elders. He is more sadistic than any commander Andar has ever seen.”
Ruthless young commanders like Ferozuddin are a by-product of Nato’s campaign to kill or capture Taliban commanders, say Afghan intelligence officials, analysts and western diplomats. They claim the new breed of militants replacing commanders killed or captured by Nato have stronger links to extremist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Pakistani Taliban. Nato’s kill and capture campaign has also hampered negotiations with the Taliban, they say.
“They’re killing people we want to talk to and the new generation aren’t interested in talking at all,” said Haji din Mohammed, head of the contact committee of the High Peace Council, the Afghan government body responsible for liaising with insurgents. “The operation has been successful — Nato is killing a lot of people — but the patient is still dying.” Read the rest of this entry »
THE Taliban commander waited at the ramshackle border crossing while Pakistani police wielding assault rifles stopped and searched the line of cars and trucks travelling into Afghanistan.
Some of the trucks carried smuggled goods — DVD players, car stereos, television sets, generators, children’s toys. But the load smuggled by Taliban fighter Qari Rasoul, a thickset Pashtun from Afghanistan’s Wardak province, was altogether more sinister.
Rasoul’s boot was full of remote-control triggers used to detonate the home-made bombs responsible for the vast majority of Nato casualties in Afghanistan. The three passengers sitting in his white Toyota estate were suicide bombers.
The policemen flagged down Rasoul’s car and began to search it. They soon found the triggers, hidden beneath a bundle of clothes in the back of the estate. They asked him who he was and who the triggers belonged to. “I’m a Taliban commander. They belong to me,” he told them.
Two policemen took Rasoul into their office in Chaman, a small town that borders Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, and sat him down on a wooden chair.
Instead of arresting him, the elder policeman rubbed his thumb and index finger together and, smiling, said: “Try to understand.”
Rasoul phoned a Pakistani friend. Two hours later he was released, having paid the policemen 5,000 Pakistani rupees, the equivalent of about £40, each.
“That was the only time I ever faced problems crossing the border with Pakistan,” said Rasoul, who is responsible for delivering suicide bombers trained in Pakistani camps to targets in Afghanistan.
Pakistani support for the Taliban in Afghanistan runs far deeper than a few corrupt police officers, however. The Sunday Times can reveal that it is officially sanctioned at the highest levels of Pakistan’s government.
Pakistan’s own intelligence agency, the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), is said to be represented on the Taliban’s war council — the Quetta shura. Up to seven of the 15-man shura are believed to be ISI agents.
The former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, Amrullah Saleh, who resigned last week, said: “The ISI is part of the landscape of destruction in this country, no doubt, so it will be a waste of time to provide evidence of ISI involvement. They are a part of it.”
Testimony by western and Afghan security officials, Taliban commanders, former Taliban ministers and a senior Taliban emissary show the extent to which the ISI manipulates the Taliban’s strategy in Afghanistan.
Pakistani support for the Taliban is prolonging a conflict that has cost the West billions of dollars and hundreds of lives. Last week 32 Nato soldiers were killed.
According to a report published today by the London School of Economics, which backs up months of research by this newspaper, “Pakistan appears to be playing a double game of astonishing magnitude” in Afghanistan.
The report’s author, Matt Waldman, a Harvard analyst, argues that previous studies significantly underestimated the influence that Pakistan’s ISI exerts over the Taliban. Far from being the work of rogue elements, interviews suggest this “support is official ISI policy”, he says. Read the rest of this entry »