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A moving tale of love and conflict in Afghanistan

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“Life is a journey and every man must bear the burden of conflict between his own free will and the vicissitudes of destiny. The heart endures the trials and tribulations that accompany us through life and stores the sorrows and joys that make us who we are.”

Asif, a young boy lives in Afghanistan with his two siblings and parents from a highly respected family. As a teenager Asif falls in love with Latifa, a girl he is not able to marry because of cultural beliefs and traditions.  

When his father, who is a inspirational leader and opposed to Communism, is arrested by the Russians and found murdered, the family flee to a refugee camp in Pakistan where unspeakable tragedy befalls the family.

After stuggling to survive and support his family Asif return, years later, to a very
different Afghanistan that is now ruled by the dictatorial Taliban.  

Again faced with appalling hardship Asif strives to escape. This is a journey between two destinies, of love, sorrow and prosperity and the value of life.  

Born in Afghanistan, author Hatef Mokhtar grew up in a refugee camp in Pakistan and is now working as the Editor in Chief of The Oslo Times in Oslo, Norway.  
He says, “The pain of separation from my homeland, the cries and sorrow of my people inspired me to write this book.”  

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The Red Wrath
By Hatef Mokhtar

Available on

THE RED WRATH: A JOURNEY BETWEEN TWO DESTINIES (ISBN: 978-1-61897-459-4) is now available for $24.50 and can be ordered through the publisher’s website:

http://sbpra.com/HatefMokhtar or at www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com.

WHOLESALERS: This book is distributed by Ingram Books and other wholesale distributors. Contact your representative with the ISBN for purchase. Wholesale purchase for retailers, universities, libraries, and other organizations is also available through the publisher; please email bookorder@aeg-online-store.com.

This book is also available on:

Official Site:  http://sbpra.com/HatefMokhtar/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Red-Wrath-Journey-between-Destinies/dp/1618974599/ref=sr_1_1?s=booksie=UTF8qid=1344990362sr=1-1keywords=the+red+wrath%3A+a+journey+between+two+destinies

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Red-Wrath-Journey-Between/dp/1618974599

http://www.amazon.co.jp/The-Red-Wrath-Journey-Between/dp/1618974599

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-red-wrath-hatef-mokhtar/1112442872?ean=9781618974594

Adlibris: http://www.adlibris.com/se/product.aspx?isbn=1618974599

“We still lack the air force which is the back-bone of an army” says Afghanistan’s Politician Jamil Karzai

Jamil Karzai – Politician and Parliamentarian of Afghanistan


“A growing voice of Afghan’s Youth and Democracy, who has set his mark in the young & religiously cultural rooted society of Afghanistan in this new era of politics and progress.”

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Honorable Mr. Jamil Karzai, ‘The Oslo Times’ welcomes you to an exclusive interview with its Chief Editor and Editorial Board panel. It is indeed a privilege to be with you and exchange views with you on a range of important national & regional issues…

TOT: After 2014 the Coalition Army will leave Afghanistan. This means that the Afghan Army will have to take charge of national security. Do you think that Afghan security forces are capable and efficient enough to handle the growing threats and challenges within the country and outside its borders that make Afghanistan more vulnerable?

Jamil Karzai: First of all thanks for having me here and it’s my pleasure. Coming back to your key question, Afghanistan has been at war for more than three decades, during which, we suffered a lot and all of our institutions and infrastructures were destroyed. One of the key institutions was our “Army”.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Afghanistan had one of the strongest army personnel in the region. This was deemed to be a sort of threat against our neighboring countries, particularly Pakistan with whom we have a border dispute for more than 100 years.

Thus, one of our neigbouring country’s policy was, by any means, to reduce the overwhelmingly strength of our Army, This, together with the arrival of Mujahidin (Western and Pakistani backed groups) and the first Islamic state during 1990s, resulted in the substitution of a well-trained and disciplined army with guerrilla militias, who were mainly trained by the intelligence services of Pakistan.

After 9/11 and during the interim and transitional administrations, we had to start everything from scratch. For me, this was the source of problem. During this period, only a handful of former Soviet-trained army personnel were recruited to the Afghan National Army, the rest were told to go home. Now, after spending billions of Donors’ dollars, still we have not been capable of forming a strong army that could respond to any threats posed by the insurgents or neighboring countries. The Afghan government, along with its international partners, has put huge efforts in forming the new army, rather than re-forming the cadres that we already had.

During the past 11 years, though billions of dollars are spent, the outcome is not acceptable to our people. The process of training is very slow, the equipment is not satisfactory, we still lack the air force which is the back-bone of an army. More than that, the penetration of Anti-Governmental Elements in the army is high.

Therefore, considering all these challenges, one can simply conclude that after the withdrawal of the coalition forces from Afghanistan in 2014, the Afghan Army will undoubtedly, face so many challenges, particularly when the insurgents have sanctuaries on the other side of border with Pakistan, and they enjoy the full support and facilitation of the Pakistani army and related intelligence services.

I do not underestimate the high moral of our brave army personnel. Through history, they have shown their bravery to the Afghans, but practically, there still is a long way to go. Parallel to that, the Afghan National Police has suffered the most during the fight against terrorism, and now needs to be more focused on maintaining law and order, rather than fighting against the insurgents which is unprecedented in other countries with a similar situation to Afghanistan.

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TOT: How will you define the role played by the media in Afghanistan? Is the role negative or positive? Give reasons…

Jamil Karzai: One can claim that of the biggest achievement of the Afghan Government since 9/11 is the freedom of speech and freedom of the media.

During the past decade, Afghan media played an important role of awareness and access to information and there has been a significant development in this field. Changing of analog to digital technology is a good example of these developments.

Now coming to your question that whether the media plays a positive or negative role in Afghanistan; there is no doubt that media played a positive role in Afghanistan, though there are several radios/TVs and publications that are run by some people who either represent a particular ethnicity or belong to some of the past war factions and, who in the eyes of many Afghans, are notorious and unpopular.

In particular, these people receive funds from foreign countries which in several cases are not transparent. That‘s one of the concerns Afghans have.

Cultural wise, there is also a dominance and monopoly of foreign media products in Afghanistan, specially the neighboring countries. I feel relying too much on foreign countries’ products will not only kill the sense of creativity among the Afghan media owners, but also avails an indirect, but massive opportunity for interference in our culture.

We need to be more aware of that, and we need to reduce the importing of foreign media products to Afghanistan, and instead, use this opportunity for our own initiatives.

On the other hand, the government needs to draft some clear policies towards the Media, particularly those which are funded from abroad and to make them more transparent.
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TOT: Since the start of the American War on Terror in Afghanistan, the nation suffers from serious violations of human rights, which undermine its position and progress on the international platform. How do you look into such a situation?

Jamil Karzai: Well, I think it’s a very important question. Since the Start of the coalition war in Afghanistan, the Anti Governmental Elements, the international military forces,particulary the coalition forces, the Warlords within the Afghan government structures ( in different capacity) were all responsible and accused of serious violations of human rights in Afghanistan. The night raids and bombardments, arbitrary house arrests and searchers that were carried out by the international military forces in Afghanistan are unforgettable and unforgivable by the people of Afghanistan.

There have been some serious violation of human rights and a breach of international humanitarian law (IHL). When the major violators are the international forces, how can one say that this will undermine Afghanistan’s position and progress on the international platform?

Yes, I also believe that the Afghan government is equally responsible for the current dire human rights situation in the country. The warlords enjoy full power and impunity in the Afghan government. Most of the human rights violators are among the top officials of the current government. So in Afghan public eyes, both the Afghan government and the international community are accountable.

The most recent and up to date examples of human right violation is being committed through the Afghan Local Police (ALP)  that consists of former war lords and criminal commanders who are unpopular in their areas. This was initiated by and is being funded by the US forces in the Afghanistan, which has now become a big threat to the local communities in Afghanistan.

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TOT: There has been talk of making peace through the peace commission in Afghanistan, to allow the dialogue process between the opposing parties /groups, , and by encouraging mutual partnerships of cooperation between the various factions of the Afghan politics and society to bring stability to our country.

How will you define the peace commission’s role in Afghan society in terms of promoting real peace and how will you rate its success so far in this regard?

Jamil Karzai: It’s always good to see talks and diplomacy going on parallel to military action.
But the important question would be how honest the Afghan leadership is to bring peace and stability to the area.
Since the establishment of APRP commission, there has been little done on the ground.

In my view there should have been several approaches in the process of peace and reintegration:

1.    Top-down approach: The Afghan government needs to open talks and dialogue with the leadership of all insurgent groups.  Once they agreed, the middle and low level of insurgents’ commanders will, undoubtedly, put down their weapons and join the process.

2.  Talks on the regional bases: The Afghan government needs to talk with its allies and international partners to pressure Pakistan to stop supporting and funding the insurgents and make them to talk with the Afghan government.

3.    Public should not be kept in dark: The people of Afghanistan are interested to see the transparency in this process. I think we do have the right to know who is talking with whom? Where? And on what conditions and bases? The Secret talks will lead us to nowhere.

The current APRT commission has failed to deliver its promises and has been unsuccessful. Maybe it’s time to revise all components of this commission and bring on board those who have a ‘WILL’ for peace. As the former late president of Afghanistan, Shahid Dr. Najibullah once said: “Love and support for peace are not enough, one must struggle for achieving it.” So, as long as there is no struggle for achieving it, forming the commissions will not be a remedy for the pain.

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TOT: How will you define the level of progress made by the civil society in Afghanistan?

Jamil Karzai: The civil societies in Afghanistan are on the right track. They have been very useful to pressure the Afghan government or to bring many matters to the attention of the government.

Meanwhile, the civil societies were given good representation role in many international conferences on Afghanistan to discuss the current affairs in Afghanistan, particularly the status of civil societies.

That is a green light, but there is more that needs to be done. First for the civil societies to be more harmonized and coordinated among themselves and for the government, to fully support them in their activities.

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TOT: What is your stand on the strategic cooperation agreement signed with USA? Many people view this strategic agreement as a negative development which, as they say, seeks to keep the people away from the control of the national government.

Jamil Karzai: Well honestly, let’s look into this matter from two different angles. First pre and than post 9/11: this country was the hub of all national and international terrorists. We were disconnected from the rest of the world. All the national infrastructures were destroyed.

Our neighboring country, Pakistan was deeming Afghanistan as their fifth province. The Durand line and other borders were out of control. Afghanistan was going through many economic and unemployment crisis. And we were the FORGOTTEN NATION.

After the 9/11 everything changed. We regained our lost identity. Now during the past decade there have been some significant developments in various walks of life in Afghanistan which cannot be ignored. Yes I do agree that we could have done a lot, but still a tremendous change in comparison to the 1990s. From my current view, we do need to support our long strategic agreement not only with the United States, but also other regional powers. We are still suffering from terrorism.

There are still threats for the territorial integrity of Afghanistan. Thus, we do support such agreements only if it’s based on the mutual interests of two states. We want a long term support for our security institutions. We need especially to back up them with providing training and equipments.

On the other hand, our borders need to be fortified from any neighboring ill-intentions against the sovereignty our country.
Additionally, the Afghan government needs to consider the balance within its relations with regional powers. In other words, getting close to US shall not end with distancing ourselves from Russia, China and others…

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TOT: The relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have always remained thawed and with recent shelling reportedly being done by the Pakistan Army against extremist groups in response to the growing cross border threats, it has now become a new bone of contention between the two states. So how do you look into the future of the relations between the two countries and what would be the consequences if these proxy challenges continued between the two?

Jamil Karzai: Afghanistan and Pakistan have never enjoyed good relations ships throughout the history. Since the establishment of Pakistan in 1947, when Afghanistan cast its vote against the creation of Pakistan at UN assembly, none of the Afghan regimes (with the exception of the Taliban Regime) enjoyed good ties with Pakistan. Our animosity even goes beyond that. Afghans never recognizes the Durand Line which separates two States.

Because it’s based on the policy of “Divide and Rule” inherited from the British emperors. Pakistan has always wanted to have a puppet regime in Afghanistan. The current issue of border shelling is not a new phenomenon. There were several failed attempts of forwarding the border lines in our southern and south eastern regions. By doing so, Pakistan has two ill-intensions:

1.    By shelling toward the Afghan soil, the Pakistani Army and ISI want to clear the area for their backed-up terrorist groups in Afghan soil, as there is a huge pressure on Pakistan by the international community to take action against the insurgents in Pakistan, including the Haqqani Network.

2.    They want to put pressure on the Afghan government to give them an upper hand in talks with the Taliban who already enjoy immunity in Pakistan. The Afghan government won’t do that.

3.    The consequences of this breach will have dire results. Afghan nation is united in defence of their land with the cost of their blood. We have shown a unique patience regarding this matter so far. We still believe in diplomacy and trust our diplomatic machinery to engage Pakistan into a dialogue about this, or else the people will stand and take the matters in their own hands.

We believe in peaceful neighborhood and always want to have good ties with our neighboring countries. If not so, then we also ask for a reciprocal act. If they continue their interference, we will do the same. We have a proud nation and we know how give the intruders a historical lesson.

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TOT: Recently; there have been reports on the mistreatment of US soldiers in Daud Hospital and of human rights abuse incidents which took place in several hospitals, due to the corruption which exists in Afghanistan, which even now the foreign signatories to Afghanistan are worried about.

What do you have to say on this?  Has the government taken significant steps to control this mess which has made the Afghan nation more vulnerable and unstable?

Jamil Karzai: There is no doubt that the corruption in different Afghan institutions is at  its peak and the international community, particularly the PRT, military contractors, are equally responsible.

The Shahid Sardar Daud Military hospital is one of the best hospitals Afghanistan has.
For the first time, I did hear about this scandal from media. Honestly I don’t know about the details of  this “Million Dollars” allegation, but one thing I can confirm is that the patients have always been treated properly and based on the resources the hospital has.

I may not agree with the allegation that some of the patients were starving to death and there was no food for them. Or they have to buy the food and other stuff needed. But I am happy that there is a commission looking at this allegation, particularly if the previous management of the hospital was involved in corruption or money embezzlement.

Meanwhile, the US congress is also interested in this issue and willing to investigate further. So let’s wait for the   outputs and findings of these commissions.

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TOT: How will you define the role played by Iran in Afghanistan as the former is an important and one of the most active countries at large in Afghanistan?

Jamil Karzai: I would not see a much different approach of Iran in comparison to Pakistan. We see both states in one eye. But with a little difference that Iran is naturally not happy with the presence of US in Afghanistan and see it a big threat. The Afghan government raised its concern several times that Iran is fighting a proxy war in Afghanistan by supporting and equipping the insurgents.

In many occasions, the weapons confiscated from the insurgents in Afghanistan, had the Iranian Mark. On the other hand, Iran wants to support some of the Shia-belonged political parties and make a disturbance for the Afghan government whenever needed. On the other hand, the forceful expulsion of Afghan refugees from Iran, the ban on their children’s education, and mistreatment, are all the bitter truth that will definitely affect the relations between the two nations.

TOT: There were recent intelligence reports that claimed Iran is supporting and financing extremism in the country specifically the Taliban and its leaders. Even the local media is reportedly being brought under a greater influence of Iran. Please, your comments on this, and explain your own point of view?

Jamil Karzai: I have no doubt about it and have tried to explain it in the earlier question.

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TOT: How you will rate the progress of the current ruling by the Government of Afghanistan in terms of welfare and development of the country and society? What are the steps that have been taken so far for the development of the judicial and civilian administrative systems in the country?

Jamil Karzai: It will not be fair if we say there hasn’t been any progress in term of welfare and development in the country. We have hundreds of schools, clinics, and other welfare institutions build. Thousand Kms of road has been asphalted.

Free access to health and education has been promoted throughout the country. The foreign investments have been increased and thousand of employment opportunities have been created. But despite that, we could do a lot and achieve a lot.

The volatility of security situation in different parts of the county affected the local communities to have full access to the basic facilities of life. On the other hand, the deterioration of security situation limited the Afghan administration to deliver its services to the remote parts of the country.

In the civil administration section, there have been lots of challenges. No doubt that there have been lots of positives changes and developments seen. The civil service and reform commission has tried to make all the civil administrative recruitments more transparent, based on merit and open competition, but still the nepotism and recommendations of well connected powers, have a significant role in recruitment process.

On the other hand, corruption within the civilian body of the government hampers all the efforts made to reform the administration. So gradually, people’s hope for a transparent administration was fading away.

The judicial section is one of the most corrupted pillars of the Afghan state. To the extent that most of the people have no tendency to take their case to the Afghan courts, rather they prefer to settle any dispute through local mechanism and Elders’ Shura. In some parts of the country, the Taliban courts are functional and much speedier than the official courts.

People living under the Taliban governed areas believe that in Afghan courts, justice delayed is justice denied, while in Taliban courts not only justice is not denied , but also not delayed.

Despite all these challenges, the afghan government has struggled to fight with the corruption first and trial some of the judges who took bribes during their duty. On other hand, there were many training activities for the judges to upgrade their capacity. I think there is a strong need for a massive reform in our judicial system.

Read more on: http://www.theoslotimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6540:qaa-qwe-still-lack-the-air-force-which-is-the-back-bone-of-an-armyq-says-afghanistans-politician-jamil-karzai&catid=168:ex-interviews&Itemid=714

The Red Wrath – A Journey Between Two Destinies (Book Release)

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Life and Death Struggle Touches on the Meaning

of Separation Novel Tells of War and Peace

The Red Wrath: A Journey between Two Destinies is the story of young boy who lives in Afghanistan in the 1970s. But this intense novel goes much deeper than that.

The author ponders the nature of separation and why it can sometimes feel so cruel. But is separation really cruel or can it teach us something? Is separation the true test of feelings? Perhaps separation is a true friend, and through it we can hold on to our memories by filling different corners of our heart with those we have loved and lost. After all, what is it that we take with us when we die except for memories?

When we die and go where our beliefs have promised to take us, we go on A Journey between Two Destinies, where those who have died before have already gone. Then we can only wait for those who follow us.

THE RED WRATH: A JOURNEY BETWEEN TWO DESTINIES (ISBN: 978-1-61897-459-4) is now available for $24.50 and can be ordered through the publisher’s website:

http://sbpra.com/HatefMokhtar or at www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com.

 

WHOLESALERS: This book is distributed by Ingram Books and other wholesale distributors. Contact your representative with the ISBN for purchase. Wholesale purchase for retailers, universities, libraries, and other organizations is also available through the publisher; please email bookorder@aeg-online-store.com.

 

This book is also available on:

Official Site:  http://sbpra.com/HatefMokhtar/

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Red-Wrath-Journey-between-Destinies/dp/1618974599/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344990362&sr=1-1&keywords=the+red+wrath%3A+a+journey+between+two+destinies

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Red-Wrath-Journey-Between/dp/1618974599

http://www.amazon.co.jp/The-Red-Wrath-Journey-Between/dp/1618974599

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-red-wrath-hatef-mokhtar/1112442872?ean=9781618974594

Adlibris: http://www.adlibris.com/se/product.aspx?isbn=1618974599

About the Author: Born in Afghanistan, Hatef Mokhtar grew up in a refugee camp in Pakistan. He is now working as the Editor in Chief of The Oslo Times in Oslo, Norway. “The cries and sorrow of my homeland inspired me to write this book.”

Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co, LLC 

 

Bibliography

  • ISBN-10: 1618974599 & ISBN-13: 9781618974594
  • Publisher: Strategic Book Group, LLC
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Pages: 474
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.06 (d)
  • Title
    The Red Wrath
    Subtitle
    A Journey Between Two Destinies
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Hatef Mokhtar
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 474
    Width: 152 mm
    Height: 229 mm
    Thickness: 26 mm
    Weight: 691 g
Title
The Red Wrath
Subtitle
A Journey Between Two Destinies
Authors and contributors
By (author) Hatef Mokhtar
Physical properties
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 474
Width: 152 mm
Height: 229 mm
Thickness: 26 mm
Weight: 691 g

Karzai complaining but no American is listening

Afghanistan was already burning under the heat of the ties which got thawed when some miscreants’ irresponsible marines burnt the holy book hurting the faith of the very Afghan from the base.

The rage took 30 lives of civilians and 6 lives of soldiers but the relations of the bleeding US – Afghan partnership in the war of terrorism is yet to face another severe blow to their already strewn crumbling strategic ties. But the incident which happened in the dawn of 12th March 2012 at 3:am not only killed the innocent people but has also revealed the true insight of the cost of war which Afghanistan and its people have faced and bear in this 10 year long struggle started by US.

Whatever the positive developments which took place in Afghanistan under the leadership of ISAF and International community lead by US has now been blackened by these kinds of ruining incidents which has created major dent in the hearts of Afghans and their trust in the approach taken by these allied forces.

When Quran burning incident happened in the beginning of this 2012 the General of ISAF said that training program will be started which will teach soldiers of ISAF to identify the religious material and its believes in the Afghan society but till now the reality hasn’t changed and has remained the same with even more worsening situations being created by the insane and psychological crippled soldiers working in the intense pressurized environment of the defense services making them vulnerable to lose their sensibilities making them a killing machine which has no sight to identify between good or bad.

Even though there were reports and bases are known to have the facts about Taliban strong holds in the suffered Panjwai area but that doesn’t means that anybody will go on a hunt and will play the game with the lives of innocents. No religion, no culture taught to kill children and women but the world has witnessed always that it is the innocents who have always paid the price of senseless war started in the in the addiction of power but ended in with guilt and shame.

The killing of 16 civilians in Panjwai has made the Americans to rethink on their withdrawal timetable which was planned keeping in thought to provide the necessary stability to the under established Afghan forces.
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales who is believed to be a suspect the one who had committed this heinous massacre of the innocent civilians has been moved to an unidentified location in Kuwait when asked the American lead ISAF authorities said that they don’t have detention facilities in Afghanistan but our question is that when they knew about the situations being faced by the forced in the past during this war then why the authorities didn’t setup the facilities to handle such crisis.

This kind of irresponsible statements and misleading attitude towards the plight of Afghan people shows the casual approach of the concerned authorities.
Another statement made by Michael Waddington, an American military defense lawyer said the decision to remove the suspect was likely a security call.
“His presence in the country would put himself and other service members in jeopardy,” Waddington said.

U.S. authorities showed their Afghan counterparts the video of the surrender to prove that only one perpetrator was involved in the shootings, the official said.
Some Afghan officials and residents in the villages that were attacked have insisted there was more than one shooter. If the disagreement persists, it could deepen the distrust between the two countries.

Panetta, in a series of meetings with troops and Afghan leaders Wednesday, said the U.S. must never lose sight of its mission in the war, despite recent violence including what appeared to be an attempted attack near the runway of a military base where he was about to land.

It wasn’t clear whether it was an attempt to attack the defense chief, whose travel to southern Afghanistan was not made public before he arrived. Panetta was informed of the incident after landing.

“We will not allow individual incidents to undermine our resolve to that mission,” he told about 200 Marines at Camp Leatherneck. “We will be tested we will be challenged, we’ll be challenged by our enemy, we’ll be challenged by ourselves, we’ll be challenged by the hell of war itself. But none of that, none of that, must ever deter us from the mission that we must achieve.”

Karzai who talked and informed about the complete truth of the terror by an eyewitness named Rafiullah who got shot in his leg and was found by AP photographer lying covered in the blanket along with other 15 The tensions between the two countries had appeared to be easing as recently as Friday, when the U.S. and Afghan governments signed a memorandum of understanding about the transfer of Afghan detainees to Afghan control – a key step toward an eventual strategic partnership to govern U.S. forces in the country.

But Sunday’s shooting could push that agreement further away.

“This is a fatal hammer blow on the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. Whatever sliver of trust and credibility we might have had following the burnings of the Quran is now gone,” said David Cortright, the director of policy studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and an advocate for a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“This may have been the act of a lone, deranged soldier. But the people of Afghanistan will see it for what it was, a wanton massacre of innocent civilians,” Cortright said.

“This is an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven,” Karzai said in a statement. He said he has repeatedly demanded the U.S. stop killing Afghan civilians. Nevertheless the situation becomes bad to worse now. If the pleas of nation’s President have no effect then how can other authorities are listened by those who believe that they are the boss of all societies. Karzai said he was sending a high-level delegation to investigate and deliver a full report.
Twelve of the dead were from Balandi, said Samad Khan, a farmer who lost all 11 members of his family, including women and children. Khan was away from the village when the incident occurred and returned to find his family members shot and burned. One of his neighbors was also killed, he said. It was unclear how or why the bodies were burned.

“This is an anti-human and anti-Islamic act,” said Khan. “Nobody is allowed in any religion in the world to kill children and women.”
Khan demanded that Karzai punish the American shooter.

“Otherwise we will make a decision,” said Khan. “He should be handed over to us.”
Residents in Alkozai village also demanded that Karzai punish the American or hand him over to the villagers. The four people killed in the village were all from one family, said a female relative who was shouting in anger. She did not give her name because of the conservative nature of local society.

“No Taliban were here. No gun battle was going on,” said the woman. “We don’t know why this foreign soldier came and killed our innocent family members. Either he was drunk or he was enjoying killing civilians.”
The Taliban called the shootings the latest sign that international forces are working against the Afghan people.

“The so-called American peace keepers have once again quenched their thirst with the blood of innocent Afghan civilians in Kandahar province,” the Taliban said in a statement posted on a website used by the insurgent group. U.S. forces have been implicated in other violence in the same area.
Hailing Karzai for justice is of no use as He really has no control over the foreign powers and their missions. He can only request them, plead them but cannot order them to do as needed. Until n unless the US and its allies will not feel their responsibilities in carrying their offensives in the suspected regions of this war ridden country nothing can be done.

Obama administration must think about it and should work in the complete direct coordination not only with their forces and concerned authorities but also with the local population in order to achieve the 100% success rate of their mission’s objectives. However the circumstance has now gone beyond repair when it comes to local strategic partnerships on the ground and dealing with targeted enemy.

Today Afghan society is standing on the juncture where future is favoring the rise of Taliban and demise of those who have helped in getting rid of the former (Taliban) with no proper system which they can trust and count upon for generations to come in near future.
President Barack Obama phoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to express his shock and sadness at the killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. He offered condolences to the grieving families of those killed and to the people of Afghanistan.

In a statement released by the White House, Obama called the attack “tragic and shocking” and not representative of “the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan.” He vowed “to get the facts as quickly as possible and to hold accountable anyone responsible.” But what is the use of making phone calls and showing the concern while making commitments which has no real meaning in the execution of the actual justice which may not even see the light of a day.

Americans are good administrators and great strategic planners and based on these natural qualities they should also give proper training to their implementers along with the security forces who operate and handle some of the worst terror scenarios across the world. Americans have always played a responsible role in making this world a better place but still there are many areas where they still need to work on especially on the psychological state of their forces as these the ones who face the worst and operate in the greatest level of stress. If they given proper look out and address to their exiting issues only then the true ground position will get improved and not only they will react in a more positive and lawful manner but also their families will also be made comfortable about their status.

The Darker Side of Afghan Media

Someone has rightly said that a nation is what its media portrays to the world. The better the media system in that nation, the better would be image of that nation in global perspective. Usually, media is considered to be a platform which provides us support to voice our emotions and sentiments.

However, with the entrance of corporate sector in this noble profession, things have changed a lot. An apt example of media being corrupted due to vested interests can be seen in Afghanistan. Media in this nation has played an extremely negative role in portraying the nation’s image in front of the global community.
When communists lost control over this war-stricken country, media which always remained under their full control and influence took a sigh of relief as it was free to bring out only the truth to the people. However, before too long, the nation again entered another difficult phase wherein the divide in the society and hunger for power pushed the entire nation into the early ages and media which sought a better future after the departure of the communist came directly on the target of the fundamental powers which ruled the nation.
This was a time when all media operations were stripped off and journalism became a toy to those who did not even know the meaning of expression and freedom. Situation became more and bleaker with each passing day. The glimpse of media’s presence only lived in the name of extremist radio which played the only programs according to the propaganda of the extremists from the only surviving radio station at that time. The situation remained grim and very exploitative in nature for the entire fabric of media which should support the nation by all means. Freedom only remained in terms of saying yes to the fundamentalist leaders. Nonetheless, this was also a time when media in Afghanistan got an opportunity to make its presence felt in the ravaged nation where lives were vandalised by discrimination.
When American forces attacked Afghanistan, everyone thought that this would turn out to be another systematic invasion carried out by another power which had earlier supported Afghanistan in its struggle against the communist forces. However, things changed quite differently and what happened next was quite intriguing for the people of this country.
As this war reached its conclusion, the nation got a new leader in the form of Hamid Karzai and entered a new phase in which the much awaited democracy was implemented in the country. The Karzai government started to bring together the shattered society of Afghanistan’s natives who had been fighting with their unwritten destinies for several decades.
When Karzai took charge of his country, there was no development. There was hardly a kilometre of highway which remained in good condition. There was no infrastructure of power, energy, connectivity, education, communication and broadcasting which was destroyed during the civil war and later by the extremist Taliban.
The work done by Karzai in bringing together a nation which was fighting its own people within its own borders is commendable. He has done what no earlier leader in his governance could do for the country.
In such times, it is very sad to see how media has taken up the task to bring out the darkest facts of his governance. Media even blames the government and authorities for indulging in corrupt practices and its large scale acceptability. Instead of playing the role of a responsible pillar of a democracy, all that media is doing is defaming Karzai government through all possible means. Media has never highlighted and took the responsibility to show the world what good and positive things Karzai and his government has done after the fall of Taliban.
Today, what media propagates about him and against his role as a President of Afghanistan is far from reality and is also based on hypocrisy of those who are running a mouth piece of their own tribe or who pays good amount of money to the sold out media of Afghanistan. Whatever activities the media is able to do in Afghanistan and to what level is only due to the good policies of the Karzai government and its vision for a better future of the country.
Now that media has tasted it and is enjoying a good level of freedom of speech, it is crucial that it should also understand what its duties are in this country which is waking to a new dawn. Rather than just being a criticising agency, it should play the pivotal role of finding solution to different issues and communicating with the government.
Afghan media now enjoys the country wide access and coverage through more than 75 channels and establishments. It is time that this fourth pillar of democracy should sit back and think what they are contributing to the growth of this nation. They need to understand that they are just creating a state of confusion among the authorities who have helped them in the past and even now to get free from the clutches of extremists and invaders who had no vision for their community and country.
Afghanistan is standing on the crossroads of prosperity and failure and even a single wrong move is enough to push the entire country and its communities backwards into the dark times. In such crucial times, it is so disheartening to see Afghan media doing coverage of false realities just to support a few power hungry political frenzy people without even caring to know the truth behind their support. The media perhaps does not know or does not want to acknowledge the fact that they have evil backing from the foreign lands who want the country to suffer and surrender to them.
It is true that Karzai government has not been successful on a number of fronts, but then we cannot out rightly forget what they have contributed to the growth of the nation. It was Karzai only who brought Pakistan, Iran and other neighbours to one table to support his country for stabilizing further. How can we forget that he is the only leader in the last 40 years who has served the purpose of Afghan traditions and unity on political and cultural terms?
There is no denial that media is very important and its freedom is crucial for a nation which has struggled to survive with its identity and values. Its existence and presence plays an important role to form a unified society which is aware and relates to all human beings living in the boundaries of a nation. It is the mirror of a nation which if becomes corrupt may destroy the image of a country and also the mind sets of others who see their country as great.
Propaganda is acceptable only to some extent. It cannot cross its limits to defame the authority and governance of a country which is working hard to make its nation prosper. For a healthy nation and stable society, a responsible media and its agencies doing coverage on ethical grounds are needed. The corporates who only work for their own interests cannot bring the much needed change in a new nation like Afghanistan.
We demand that media in this country should stop being a mouth piece for unethical propaganda which just operates to earn money and does not stand for truth and appreciating positive developments taking place in the surroundings.

Afghanistan-India relationship

The dust of Mi’s hovers around the deserted Kabul airport when the clouds of terror are looming over with a pale shine of smile which came as Laden dived his soul into the deep blue sea. Here comes the expected & most awaited regional dignitary equally important as the invaded partner of Obama administration struggles to find solution to future power vacuum after its withdrawal from the breeze of opium.


The visit to Afghanistan by Manmohan Singh was his first visit since 2005. He is the first Indian PM to be speaking in the Afghan parliament as no other neighbor countries have done before.
Mr. Singh’s visit to Afghanistan comes just over a week after Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US navy seals in Pakistan. Both Mr. Singh and Mr. Karzai feel that their opinion about Pakistan harboring militant groups was right as bin Laden was discovered there. Even though the visit had been planned before the operation, as Pakistan’s reputation is damaged, India may use this opportunity to tie a closer relationship with Afghanistan as both countries share the same concern over the troubled neighbor with its terrorist network groups operating. In his speech, the Indian PM told that “the Afghan MPs should be left to make decisions about their country’s future without outside interference.”
The two leaders also had discussions about the regional stability, counter terrorism and the India-Afghanistan strategic partnership that is also built on the shared conflict they have with Pakistan. Mr. Singh said; “We wish to see a peaceful, stable, democratic, pluralistic Afghanistan. We strongly support Afghan people’s quest for peace and reconciliation, and India supports firmly the unity, integrity and prosperity of Afghanistan.” Both countries did also issue a Declaration of Strategic Partnership and made sure to send out a message that India, unlike the US will stick around and several other support such as financial aid.

Financial aid and partnership
Mr. Singh promised $500m in aid to Afghanistan, which comes besides $1.5bn already promised. The money will be spent on various projects and initiatives such as agriculture, schools, roads, social sector, capacity building and other infrastructure projects. India is also building the new parliament in Kabul – at a cost of $19m.

1. India shows effort to rebuild Afghanistan as a stabile Afghanistan is good for them. Pakistan on the other hand feels uncomfortable with much Indian influence in the region, especially in Afghanistan as there is a power struggle going on.
2. Pakistan is rooted in the Afghan society by language, tradition, cast, and ideology. Without the Pakistani cooperation and coordination, peace can’t and never will be implanted in Afghanistan. This doesn’t mean that Afghanistan should choose their friends and supporters based on the Pakistani opinion as Afghanistan has the ultimate right to choose who they want to cooperate about strategic relations in the region with as they have their own sovereignty and rich history. The Afghans has never been occupied by other nations and has always shown strong resilience such as when they broke the legs of the Soviet Union and defeated the British several times in history.
3. India needs Afghanistan, no doubt about that. India with its many problems such as poverty, environmental problems as pollution of water and air, low wages and unemployment among youth, India is seen as a rising superpower with its economy. And what India needs is Afghanistan’s natural gas reserves and precious minerals. Historically, Afghanistan has been an important country because of its connection with the Silk Road and the geopolitical territory as it is bordering to 7 countries.
4. There is a power struggle going on in the region and the countries are competing over capitalism. Afghanistan’s diplomacy is not too strong but it is not that weak either. They want to maintain a balance between Pakistan and India as well as keeping a good relationship with India without outside interference.
5. The peace and reconciliation council (jirga) is necessary in today’s Afghanistan and a good step between the government and the Taliban function. But because the Taliban is in deep connection with Pakistan, the council will not be successful in its work for peace without the help of Pakistan.
6. As the Indian PM came on a visit to Afghanistan to tighten the relationship and partnership, the Pakistani President Mr. Zardari has chosen to pay a visit to China to strengthen the Pakistan-China relation and perhaps speak about some nuclear deal just to give US something to think about.

Since the fall of Taliban Afghanistan has remained a center of diplomacy & external affairs which are so important to the nations concerned that even a small hic can draw lines on political minds.
The strategic partnership proposed between the two nations must involve a serious public participation which should consider the communal & social values of the affected.
If India needs to safeguards his interests in Afghanistan then he should work on more ground realities through both political & investment channels.
Here are the following points which India should consider if he wants to play an important role in the building of Afghan nation.

1. India can send or post few units of his armed forces in order to fill the power vacuum there.
2. Provide training to the newly formed Afghan forces & police.
3. Encourage Indian corporates to set up shops there
4. Establish media network & partnership between both media & press outlets
5. Introduce free trade zone or area between the two countries for the tradable products.
6. Introduce educational framework to support & encourage Afghan children & society.
7. Encourage Afghan government to open more trade routes in order to make Afghanistan a better transit point & center for the South Asian countries to form a better trade network in the region ultimately benefiting Afghanistan as the trading administrator for the region.
With the increase in cooperation between the two the day is not far when these historically connected blood lines of people will again take shape to form a better future where there is only peace, harmony & prosperity will prevail & exist with no feeling of war & terrorism.

Who was Osama bin Laden, the controversial figure of our century

With the fall of Hitler, the world took a CY of relief believing that now no one would rise against the humanity, but God has created this world for both the devil & the humans. The evil spirit too lives here & is present in every corner of the world. When one evil dies the other with new philosophy took his place in a more dramatic & distinguished manner. After the holocaust of world war II no one had thought at that time that the new definition of terrorism will take birth in the troubled lands of the world earlier the Jews were running away from the threat of Christian fundamentalists & now in the whole new nuclear era they will be facing the new form of orthodoxies from the Arab world with their multifaceted leader named Osama Bin Laden who though started his life as an innocent being but inspired from the self negative mind he gave birth to the neo think tanks which are lethal & loyal whose dimensions are based on the falsification of the facts which not only spread like a wild fire through the minds & hearts of  illiterates & poverty driven hinterlands but also changed the dimensions of the war doctrines. The journey of this versatile personality from missionary scholar to a most dreaded terrorist mind of the world was full of strategic difficulties just like the one faced in the political corners of the world.

His drive from preaching to terrorizing the world is as simple as the man himself but with the hidden cruelty in mind. It is said in every religion of the world that if your mind & hearts are cruel & you portray yourself as a great leader for masses then the fate of your hidden truth will be revealed some day & the spirit will find no shelter of peace in the world.

The rumor of Osama being a CIA agent who worked to collapsed Soviet regime circulating the human circles is as false as the rumor itself. But the coincidence is that the creation and popularity rose at the same time when two though never worked together have helped and nourished the Afghan militias and war lords to fight against the Soviet invasion. But after the Soviets ouster from Pashtun heartland, the game now changed into the one of the biggest great war gambles of the 21st Century which if tasted success may had changed the map of the world. The start of this century was welcomed by the bang of the biggest terrorist attacks which have shaped the political economics for the generations to come. The great game of hide & seek started between western powers and the terrorists organizations which as the face has Osama bin Laden on their side as the leader saw many twists & turns just the great caves of Tora Bora where rumors are believed like a valid source of information for planning an escape. But with the intelligence advance their security research the money pondered on the ever hungry pockets of terror fund which have given boost to their activities across the globe. The effect of their terror driven is such that even people from well qualified background started to join & the armed forces were begging for their vacancies to be filled in many countries due to the fear of relocation to the war zone where the souls of all energies will fight for their survivals making the aim of which donkey wins the battle and call the ruler of the world.

The news of Osama Bin Laden’s death spread like wildfire as the United States Special operations forces tracked him down in a compound in Abbottabad Pakistan and killed him on May 2, 2011 by gunshot to his head and chest. Many was shocked to read the news that the world’s most wanted man who topped the terrorists lists around the world was killed by US forces. I personally didn’t believe it at first but after reading several newspaper it was clear to me that Osama had been defeated.

How is it possible that this man who was in hiding for over ten years was living in Pakistan just 0.8 miles (1.3 km) southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy? What happened after so many years that the hiding went wrong? It all started with the identification of the courier and CIA using surveillance photos and intelligence reports to determine the identities of the inhabitants in the compound. There was no internet or landline telephone service to the house and its residents buried and burned their trash unlike the other neighbors who would set their garbage out for collection. In the mean time, the CIA had already established a safe house in Abbottabad where a team observed the compound over several months using informants and other techniques to gather information.

After the death of Osama, the residents of Abbottabad are left confused and suspicious about the killing taking place before dawn. The President of USA, Barack Obama decided to not release the photos of the slain Al-Qaida leader claiming that “it would pose a security risk and it is inconsistent with American values.”

The American government had their right on their side to hunt Osama Bin Laden and capture him dead or alive after being attacked by Al-Qaida who killed thousands of innocent people. So I’m asking; “What is the American values when it comes to killing a person? Is it to wrap him in a sheet and toss him into the deep sea? Many Islamic scholars questioned Obama’s decision to bury Osama at the sea saying that maritime burial isn’t allowed in Islamic practice. To this Obama responded; “Frankly, we took more care on this than, obviously, bin Laden took when he killed 3,000 people. He didn’t have much regard for how they were treated and desecrated. But that, again, is something that makes us different. And I think we handled it appropriately.” I see sea burial as disrespectful as long as the deceased himself don’t wish for it, and to throw someone overboard like that is against every human right values and believes. He should have been buried in his homeland or given back to his family or followers as Osama can’t do much after his death. What Al-Qaida will do is another story.

So who was this man that would pose a huge security risk even after his death and that United States had to bury him in the sea?

The beginning


Osama was born in 1957 as the 17th son among 50 brothers and sisters. His father was from Yemen and mother of Syrian origin. His father Mohammed Awad bin Laden started his life as a very poor laborer (porter in Jeddah port) and ended up as owner of the biggest construction company in the kingdom. During the reign of King Saud, bin Laden the father became very close to the royal family when he took the risk of building King Saud’s palaces much cheaper than the cheapest bid. He impressed King Saud with his performance but he also built good relations with other members of the royal family, especially Faisal. Indeed, he was appointed for a period as the minister of public works.

The father was fairly devoted Moslem, very humble and generous. He was so proud of the bag he used when he was a porter that he kept it as a trophy in the main reception room in his palace.

The father had very dominating personality and had a tough discipline and observed all the children with strict religious and social code. He dealt with his children as big men and demanded them to show confidence at young age.

Early life, education and marriage

Osama had his primary, secondary and university education in Jeddah and got a degree in economics and business administration in 1981 from King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah. At University, Osama’s main interest was religion where he interpreted the Qur’an and did charitable work.
In 1974, 17 year old Osama married Najwa Ghanem but she divorced him in 2001 before the attacks. The second wife Khadijah Sharif also divorced him in the 1990’s. The third and fourth wives Khairiah Sabar and Siham Sabar’s fate is unknown, the fifth unknown wife with whom his marriage was immediately annulled, and last the 57 year old Osama married a younger wife, the 27 year old wife Amal al-Sadah who was in the compound with him at the time of his death.

In addition to the general Islamic commitment he started forming an Islamic responsibility at early age. His father used to host hundreds of pilgrims during Hajj season from all over the world. Some of those were senior Islamic scholars or leaders of Muslim movements. This habit went on even after his father’s death through his elder brothers. He used to make good contacts and relations through those gatherings.

At secondary school and university he adopted the main trend of many educated Muslims at that time, Muslim Brotherhood. Interestingly, the 1980 raid in the Grand Mosque in Mecca was not appealing to him, neither the theology nor that group. He had two distinguished teachers in Islamic studies, which was a compulsory subject in the university. First was Abdullah Azzam who became later as one of the big names in Afghanistan and the second was Mohammed Quttub, a famous Islamic writer and philosopher.

Born with a silver spoon but chose a simple life

Bin Laden was brought up with good manners. He was extremely humble and very generous person who insisted to join his comrades in every act. He would cook and serve for them frequently and chose to live a simple life in a small flat in Jeddah or in a shed in Afghanistan and insisted on his family to eat and dress simple as well.

He was known to be strictly truthful and never lie. Despite being a shy person, Osama had a dominating and charismatic personality. He spoke very little and seemed to be serious most of the time. He would appear with a soft smile but almost ever laugh out loud. Osama had courage in him that even if a car bomb exploded near by him, he would not show a flicker as he was exposed to more than 40-45 incidents of heavy bombardment.

Osama was an educated man and spent a great deal of time reading. What most people don’t know is that he also used to write poetry.

Afghanistan


His first travel to Afghanistan was the first 2 weeks of the Soviet invasion. He travelled to Pakistan and was taken by his hosts Jamaat Islami from Karachi to Peshawar to see the refugees and meet some leaders. He went back to the kingdom and started lobbying with his brothers, relatives and friends at the school to support the mujahedeen and succeeded in collecting huge amount of money and material as donations to jihad. He made another trip to take this material with few Pakistanis and Afghanis who were working in bin Laden Company for more than 10 years. Again, he did not stay more than a month. The trip was to Pakistan and the border only and was not to Afghanistan. He went on collecting money and going in short trips once or twice a year until 1982.

In 1982, he decided to travel inside to Afghanistan and brought with him plenty of the construction machinery and put them at the disposal of the mujahedeen and started to join battles as well.

In 1984 he had one further step in strengthening his presence in Afghanistan by establishing the guesthouse in Peshawar (Baitul’ansar). That house was supposed to be the first station of Arab mujahedeen when they come to Afghanistan before going to the front or start training. At that period Osama did not have his own command or training camps and used to send the newcomers to one of the Afghan factions.

The guesthouse establishment was coinciding with the formation of Jihad Service Bureau by Abdullah Azzam in Peshawar. The Bureau was very active in terms of media, publications and charity work. The Bureau publications were important in attracting more Saudis and Arabs to Afghanistan.

In 1986, Osama decided to have his own camps inside Afghanistan and within two years he built more than six camps. Some were mobilized more than once. He decided to have his own front and to run his own battles with his own command. Among the Arab fighters he had, there were senior Arab ex-military men from Syria and Egypt with good military experience. During the period 1984-1989 he was staying more in Afghanistan than Saudi Arabia and would spend a total of eight months a year or more in Afghanistan.

Al-Qa’edah

In 1988 he noticed that he was backward in his documentation and was not able to give answers to some families asking about their loved ones gone missing in Afghanistan. He decided to make the matter much more organized and arranged for proper documentation. He made a tracking record of the visitors, be they mujahedeen or charity or simple visitors. Their movement between the guesthouse and the camps had to be recorded as well as their first arrival and final departure. The whole complex was then termed Al-Qa’edah which is an Arabic word meaning “The Base.”

Return to the Kingdom

Late 1989 after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, he went to the kingdom in an ordinary trip. There he was banned from travel and was trapped in the kingdom. The Soviet withdrawal might have been a factor but the main reason for the travel ban was his intentions to start a new “front” of jihad in South Yemen. In addition, he embarrassed the regime by lectures and speeches warning of impending invasion by Saddam. At that time the regime was at very good terms with Saddam. He was instructed officially to keep low profile and not to give public talks. Despite the travel ban he was not hostile to regime at this stage. Indeed he presented a written advice in the form of a detailed, personal, private and confidential letter to the king few weeks before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The Iraqi invasion

He reacted swiftly to Iraqi invasion and saw it fulfilling his prophecy. He immediately forwarded another letter to the king suggesting in detail how to protect the country from potentially advancing Iraqi forces. In addition to many military tactics suggested, he volunteered to bring all the Arab mujahedeen to defend the kingdom. That letter was presented in the first few days of the incident, and the regime response was of consideration! While he was expecting some call to mobilize his men and equipment he heard the news which transferred his life completely. The Americans are coming. He always describes that moment as shocking moment. He felt depressed and thought that maneuvers had to change. Instead of writing to the king or approaching other members of the royal family, he started lobbying through religious scholars and Muslim activists. He succeeded in extracting a fatwah from one of the senior scholars that training and readiness is a religious duty. He immediately circulated that fatwah and convinced people to have their training in Afghanistan. It was estimated that 4000 went to Afghanistan in response to the fatwah. The regime was not happy with his activities so they limited his movement to Jeddah only. To intimidate him, the regime raided his farm in the suburb of Jeddah by the National Guard. He was not there during the raid and was very angry when told. He wrote a letter of protest to Prince Abdullah. Abdullah apologized and claimed he is not aware and promised to punish who ever were responsible.

Leaving the Kingdom

In the end, Osama was fed up with the house arrest situation and had a hard time staying in a country with American forces around. One of his brothers was very close to King Fahad and also close to Prince Ahmed, deputy minister of interior. He convinced his brother that he needed to leave the country to sort out some business matters in Pakistan and come back. There was a difficult obstacle, the stubborn Prince Nayef, minister of interior. His brother waited until Nayef went in a trip outside the kingdom and extracted lifting the ban from Prince Ahmed. When he arrived in Pakistan around April 1991 he sent a letter to his brother telling him that he is not coming back and apologized for letting him down with the royal family.

Back in Afghanistan

After his arrival to Pakistan he went straight to Afghanistan because he knew the Pakistani intelligence would hand him back to the Saudis. There, he attended the collapse of the communist regime and the consequent dispute between the Afghan parties. He spent great effort to arbitrate between them but with no success and ordered his followers to avoid any involvement in the conflict and told them it was a sin to side with any faction. During his stay the Saudis tried more than once to kidnap or kill him in collaboration with the Pakistani intelligence but his friends in the Saudi and Pakistani establishments would always leak the plan and make him ready for it. After his failure in sorting the Afghani dispute, he decided to leave Afghanistan. The only alternative country he had was Sudan. He left Afghanistan disguised in private jet only few months after his arrival. That was late 1991.

Sudan

His choice of Sudan had nothing to do with jihad or “terrorism.” He was attracted to Sudan because of what was at that time an Islamic banner raised by the new regime in Sudan. He wanted to have good refuge as well as help the government in its construction projects. There was no intention from his side or from the Sudanese regime to have any military activity in Sudan. Indeed the Sudanese government refused even sending some of his followers to the front in the south. He was treated in Sudan as a special guest who wanted to help Sudan when everybody was turning away. In Sudan he mobilized a lot of construction equipment and enrolled himself in busy construction projects. He spent good effort in convincing Saudi businessmen to invest in Sudan and had reasonable success. Many of his brothers and Jeddah merchants had and still have investment in real estate, farming and agricultural industry. In Sudan he had again escaped an assassination attempt which turned out later to be the plan of Saudi intelligence.

On his arrival to Sudan and early 1994, he had become classified as enemy of the Saudi regime and his assets were frozen between 1992 and 1994. He continued his verbal assault on King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and in response on March 5th, 1994 they withdrew his citizenship. After a long time of silence, Osama said that he didn’t need the Saudi citizenship to identify himself. He then formed together with activists and scholars from the kingdom a group called “Advice and Reform Committee” (ARC). The ARC was, according to its communiqués and published agenda, a purely political group. The ARC published around 17 communiqués which might have contained harsh criticism of the Saudi regime and plenty of religious rhetoric but never contained reference for violence or incitement of violence.

Sudan was exposed to huge international pressure for hosting bin Laden and his followers, and bin Laden felt that he is becoming an embarrassment to the Sudanese. Early in 1996 he started making contacts with his old friends in Afghanistan to prepare for his reception. He fled Sudan in a very well planned trip with many of his followers to go straight to Jalalabad in Eastern Afghanistan.

Somalia and Yemen

During his stay in Sudan anti-American incidents happened in Somalia and South Yemen. Neither of the two incidents was performed by his group in the proper sense of chain of command. Both were performed by people who had training in Afghanistan and had enough anti-American drive. He might have given some sanctioning to the operations.

Third visit to Afghanistan

The situation in Afghanistan was very unstable between many factions but since Osama had good relationship with all of them, they all protected him. The area he stayed in was under the control of Yunis Khalis, an influential warlord who later joined Taliban.

June 1996, after his arrival in Afghanistan was the Khobar bombing. Nobody claimed responsibility, but sources from inside the Saudi ministry of interior confirmed involvement of Arab Afghans, with possible link to bin Laden. The Saudi government wanted to frame Shi’a, at the beginning but Americans were very suspicious of the Saudi story. Bin Laden himself never claimed responsibility but gave many hints that he might have been involved. The Saudi government has acknowledged recently that bin Laden’s men were behind the bombing.

After few months of his arrival he issued his first anti-American message, a Declaration of War. That declaration was limited to expelling American forces outside the Arabian Peninsula. Interest in him by the Saudis never stopped and they tried very hard to convince Yunis Khalis to hand him over, and he flatly refused despite the luxurious offers. The Saudis never gave up on trying to get Laden. Early 1997 they bought some mercenaries in the Pakistani Afghani border. The operation was arranged with the Pakistani intelligence. The information leaked to bin Laden and he decided to move immediately to Qandahar, the stronghold of Taliban. The operation was then cancelled.

When bin Laden left Jalalabad, he ordered many of his followers to join Taliban in their war against Dostum and to protect Kabul but Taliban troops were betrayed by a trap in the north and Kabul front was exposed to Shah Masood and many of the Taliban fighters were killed.

Another kidnap attempt

In late 1997 a big operation was planned by the Americans. The primary plan was for American Special Forces to attack bin Laden’s residence in Qandahar and kidnap him in a commando style operation. The plan was mocked in Pakistani desert and proved dangerous. While the Americans were reconsidering the decision, the news leaked to bin Laden, again through the Pakistani military, and he made it public. The Americans had no choice but to cancel.

Making links with the Ulema

Bin Laden noticed that the driving force in Taliban were Ulema (religious scholars). He made very good links with them for the subject of American forces in the Arabian Peninsula. He was able to extract a fatwah signed by some 40 scholars in Afghanistan sanctioning the use of all means to expel the American forces from the Peninsula. The issue of that fatwah was an asset to him inside Taliban domain.

His second presence in Afghanistan attracted many mujahedeen to move there again and among those were Ayman El-Zawahery of Egyptian Jihad and Rift’ee Taha of Jama’a Islamia. Bin Laden decided to go pan-Islamic instead of Saudi or Arabic and attracted Kashmiris, Pakistanis, Indians, and Muslims from the Soviet Republics. He thought at that stage that he could make an international alliance against America and in February 1998 he declared the formation of the International Front. The declaration contained two elements, formation of the front and a fatwah sanctioning killing Americans and Jews. Apart from two Arabic newspapers, the declaration had minimal coverage by the press.

Attack in Khost camp

The camp was an almost deserted camp where only few Arabs stayed, with a neighbouring camp of Kashmiris. Bin Laden himself was hundreds of miles away, and the rest of Arab Afghans were in the northern front celebrating their recent victories. Since the American attack bin Laden was put in heavy protection and advised to stay hiding. His followers made another credit when they protected Kabul front again and pushed Masood forces back.

September 11 attacks

“Allah knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed – when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way (and) to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women.”

Osama bin Laden, 2004

19 Al-Qaida members hijacked four commercial passenger airplanes crashing two of them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the third was crashed into Pentagon in Arlington and the fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in Pennsylvania after some of the passengers attempt to take over control. Nearly 3000 people died in this attack including the hijackers.

Faith and ideology

Osama believed that implementing the Sharia law would form a better Muslim world and that pan-Arabism, socialism, communism and western democracy had to be opposed. He was very much impressed by the ideology of Sayyid Qutb (Egyptian scholar), Hassan al-Banna and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (who founded the religious movement wahabism). Osama said that United States committed injustice against Muslim countries and spoke about the need to eliminate the State of Israel and the necessity of the US forces withdrawing from the Middle East. His strategy against the enemy was to lure them into a long war in the Muslim countries where jihadist fighters would never surrender leading to the economic collapse of the enemy nation. The Soviet Union collapsed after years of fighting in Afghanistan and many authors have stated that the United States was on the edge of suffering the same fate

Relation with Al-Saud

Bin Laden never had any official or personal relations with the Saudi regime or the royal family. All his contacts would happen through his brothers. The brothers would approach two members of the royal family who were fairly sympathetic to Osama. They were Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, deputy minister of interior and Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz, deputy minister of defense. He might have met them in few occasions but those meetings would have been purely social or accidental in one of his brother’s houses. Specifically he had no relation with Turki al-Faisal head of Saudi intelligence. He used to be very suspicious of his role in Afghanistan and once had open confrontation with him in 1991 and accused him of being the reason of the fight between Afghan factions. He was wary of the Saudi government very early in the eighties, but he thought it was wiser to keep silent and benefit from their de facto support to jihad in that period.

Relations with America

Some people have suggested and claimed that Osama was working for the CIA and other American departments, but this has been rejected by the American officials. Since the late 70’s Osama had a strong anti-America feeling and committed himself and his family to avoid buying American goods unless it was necessary. Bin Laden would bring money from individuals donating straight to him. The weapons he had were either captured from the Soviets or bought from other factions.

Relations with Pakistan

Osama had much respect by many Pakistanis including people in the army, intelligence and the religious establishment such as many fundamental Islamic groups. They were so close that they would always leak any plan against him by the Pakistani-Saudi-American alliance. Osama had also a close friendship with the former director of ISI (Pakistani Intelligence), Hamid Gul.

Relations with Taliban

Taliban are not simply another Afghan faction supported by Pakistan, they are sincere to their beliefs and a religiously committed group unspoiled by political tactics. They would never bargain with what they see as matters of principle and Bin Laden for them is a saint. He is a symbol of sacrifice for the sake of jihad as they see him as very rich Arab from the Holy Land who gave up his wealth and luxury to fight for the sake of his brother Muslims in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden became an intimate part of Taliban structure when he taught them how to deal with state affairs in a proper manner, for example, they were about to be fooled by some oil and gas companies and sell the pipeline project for cheap and Osama advised them to learn from the Iraq-Turkey and Iraq-Syria agreements. They wanted to privatize some factories and were about to sell them to Pakistani businessmen for cheap prices but he taught them how to conduct proper bidding procedure and guarantee good prices.

Relation with Iran

Iran knows that bin Laden is a committed Sunni and he regards Iran as Shi’a state. The trust between the two is minimal but both have avoided criticizing each other publicly.

Finance

Osama thought it was necessary to guarantee the Islamic nature of the finance activity. For example, he would never invest in non-Islamic country; never use banks unless it was absolutely necessary, didn’t believe in stock market because he thought the investor cannot escape interest since the money has to be in a bank and produce some interest. He also believed that the Jews control banks and stock market.

He had 3 setbacks which would have made him bankrupt. The first was the freezing of his assets by the Saudi government. Nobody knows the exact amount but it was probably in the range of 200-300 million dollars. The second setback was the loss he had in Sudan. The Sudanese government was too weak financially to pay him for the construction projects and he ended up hardly with 10% of the payment. He lost in Sudan not less than 150 million dollars.

Osama’s brothers agreed to keep many assets of the father and distribute the profits only. Most of the brothers and sisters are observing Muslims and very careful to not to “spoil” their income with money which is not theirs as they believe it is their duty to let the owner of any riyal to have it. The only way they guarantee that is by letting bin Laden’s share reach him. Some of the brothers and sisters believed it was their religious duty to support this distinguished brother from their own money. While many are very careful not to irritate the royal family, many more do not care and insist on letting the money reach Osama. Another big source of income to bin Laden was the donations. During the early jihad time when it was blessed by the Saudi regime, he made excellent relations with many wealthy Saudis and Arabs who would donate huge amounts of money to him.

Pakistan’s alleged role of hiding Laden

Critics have accused Pakistan’s military and security establishment of protecting bin Laden. This case worsens the U.S. ties with Pakistan and future support. Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari has strongly denied that his country’s security forces may have sheltered Osama bin Laden and Pakistan’s United States envoy, ambassador Husain Haqqani, promised a “full inquiry” into how Pakistani intelligence services failed to find bin Laden in a fortified compound, just a few hours’ drive from Islamabad, stating that “obviously bin Laden did have a support system.”

Timeline

1957 Born Osama bin Mohammad bin Awad bin Laden in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

1970 Father dies in a helicopter accident.

1974 Marries distant relative, Najwa Ghanem.

1976 Studies economics and management at King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah.

1979 Soviet Union invades Afghanistan.

1984 Bin Laden is involved in Peshawar supporting Arab volunteers to fight Soviets. Moves between Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Sudan.

1988 Al-Qaida – “the Base” – established in Afghanistan as centre for radical Muslims opposing the US, Israel and its allies.

1989 Soviet Union withdraws from Afghanistan. Bin Laden returns to Saudi Arabia to work for the family company and uses his network to raise funds for veterans of the Afghan war.

1991 Bin Laden is expelled from Saudi Arabia due to his anti government activities.

1992 Claims responsibility for attacking US soldiers in Yemen.

1993 Claims responsibilities for fire fight in Somalia that killed 18 US military personnel.

1994 Expelled from Sudan. Saudi Arabia revokes his citizenship and his family disowns him.

1995 Saudi Arabia claims Bin Laden links to Riyadh car bombing: six killed including five Americans, 60 injured.

1996 Bin Laden leaves Sudan for Afghanistan. Issues fatwa against all US military personnel, faxed to supporters across the world. Taliban gives him sanctuary in Afghanistan.

1998 A truck bomb explosions at US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania kills 224 people including 12 Americans. Bin Laden is added to FBI’s “10 most wanted fugitives” list.

2000 Al-Qaida claims responsibility for strike on US destroyer Cole at Yemeni port of Aden. Seventeen soldiers killed.

2001 11 September Hijacked planes destroy the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Centre and target the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000. President George Bush says Bin Laden is wanted “dead or alive.”

December, US-backed anti-Taliban forces capture Bin Laden’s base in the Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan, but find no trace of the fugitive terrorist.

2002 September Al-Jazeera broadcasts a poor-quality tape, claimed to be the voice of Bin Laden, praising the 9/11 hijackers for changing “the course of history.”

November Al-Qaida claims responsibility for three suicide car bombs at the Mombasa Paradise resort hotel, killing 15 and wounding 80.

2003 An audio tape believed to be the voice of bin Laden calls for attack on the US if Iraq is invaded.

2004 October, A 18-minute video is sent to al-Jazeera in which Bin Laden accepts responsibility for the first time for the 9/11 attacks, and condemns Bush days before US presidential election. Says his inspiration for 9/11 was seeing Israeli aircraft bomb tower blocks in Lebanon in 1982.

2007 September, Rumour that Bin Laden is dead is confounded by first new video in three years, warning the US it is vulnerable.

2008 May Bin Laden urge Muslims to break the Israeli blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

2009 After being elected, President Obama authorizes killing or capture of bin Laden as “top priority” of war on Al Qaeda.

2010 January, Audio tape message from Bin Laden, claiming responsibility for the failed Christmas day attempted bombing of US-bound plane. US president Barack Obama claims al-Qaida weakened by US actions.

March, Bin Laden claims in a taped message that al-Qaida will kill any American prisoners if the US executes alleged September 11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

2011 January, Bin Laden says in a taped message that French hostages held in Niger will not be freed unless France pulls troops out of all Muslim lands.

1 May, Barack Obama announces that Bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan.
Sources used for facts;

www.cnn.com

www.boston.com

www.infoplease.com

Wikipedia

www.pbs.org – frontline

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