Following are excerpts from a television interview with former Al-Qaeda Shura Council member Mahfouz Ould Al-Walid, aka Afu Hafs Al-Mauritani, which aired on the Al-Jazeera network on October 17 and 19, 2012.
"9/11 Had Not Been Discussed In Detail; Nobody Said Anything About Hijacking Airplanes... I Was The Staunchest Opponent To Such An Operation"
Mahfouz Ould Al-Walid: "9/11 had not been discussed in detail. Nobody said anything about hijacking airplanes, about destroying towers, or about attacking the Pentagon with hijacked planes. It was not presented this way, but just as a violent operation that would be carried out against the USA, leading to thousands of casualties.
"All those present predicted that the U.S. response to such an operation would not be restricted to a missile attack from afar, as was the case following the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam attacks. They thought the natural response would be an invasion into Afghanistan and the toppling of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan.
"I was the staunchest opponent to such an operation. My opposition was based on religious legal grounds: Jihad is not about pointless killing and destruction." [...]
"Jihad Is The Pinnacle Of Islam, One Of The Finest Acts Possible" – But "This Operation Would Involve Things Prohibited By Islamic Law" And "Violate The Pact We Made" By Entering The U.S.
Mahfouz Ould Al-Walid: "Jihad is the pinnacle of Islam, one of the finest acts possible, but it does not mean that you can kill and destroy regardless of the consequences. While Islam considers it to be a form of worship, it takes into consideration the consequences of these actions. Anybody who considers the consequences of 9/11 back then realizes that it did more harm than good.
"The other reason for my objection to this operation was that it would involve things prohibited by Islamic law. Civilians would be killed, and our religion forbids us to kill civilians. In Islam, a civilian is anybody who is not involved in fighting. This includes women, children, the elderly, and ordinary people.
"For another thing, such operations violate the pact we made. Anybody who enters the U.S. uses an entrance visa, which we consider, from a religious perspective, to be a binding treaty of protection. Anybody who is protected by the enemy should not harm the enemy. He is prohibited from breaching this treaty of protection."
The Taliban Told Us "Do Not Undertake Such An Operation"
"Another thing that led us to object to 9/11 was that we were guests of the Taliban Emirate. They said to us time and again: 'Do not undertake such an operation because we will not be able to tolerate the consequences.'
"First, I resigned from all my positions in Al-Qaeda, during my last meeting with bin Laden, several weeks before 9/11. I insisted upon handing in my resignation although he said he did not think this would be my final decision. I told him that it was final, but that I would not announce it publicly in order to avoid having a negative impact on Al-Qaeda's stance, and to avoid helping our opponents and weakening the Islamic position, especially since the winds of war were blowing at that time." [...]
"I Don't Agree With The Methods Of The Islamic Groups In Northern Mali" – "If War Breaks Out, The Flames Will Reach All Countries Near And Far"
"In principle, I don't agree with the methods of the Islamic groups in northern Mali. I am not familiar with their motives, but I do not think that their methods will be successful in establishing an Islamic state.
"Many of them have good intentions. I have been following recent declarations made by some of their leaders, as war seems imminent in the region. It is my hope that somebody will take the initiative and respond, to the extent possible.
"I have heard them say that there is nothing to prevent them from negotiating with Mauritania. I have heard them say that they are willing to negotiate even with the Americans – and all the more so with other Muslims. Such proposals should not be ignored. We should not only listen to those who beat the drums of war. If war breaks out – and we hope that this will not happen because we do not want Mali to turn into another Somalia or Afghanistan... If war breaks out, the flames will reach all countries near and far." [...]
"Jihad Can Only Be Successful If The Nation Embraces It"
"Jihad can only be successful if the nation embraces it. As for jihad by individuals or small and ill-equipped groups, it cannot be successful, regardless of their good intentions and noble motives."