Following are excerpts from an interview with Beitullah Mahsoud, the Emir of the Pakistani Taliban. The interview aired on Al-Jazeera TV on May 26, 2008.
To view this clip, visit http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/1778.
To view the MEMRI TV page on the Taliban, visit http://www.memritv.org/subject/en/339.htm.
"We Take Pride in Being Enemies of the Jews and Christians, and in Fighting Them With All Our Strength"
Beitullah Mahsoud: "Had Bhutto not been killed, and had she become prime minister and ordered a military campaign against us, we would definitely have killed her. But since all of this never happened, what possible reason could we have for killing her?
"We take pride in being enemies of the Jews and Christians and in fighting them with all our strength." [...]
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Interviewer: "How would you characterize your relations with Taliban in Afghanistan? Do you participate in operations conducted by Taliban of Afghanistan against the Afghan, American, and international forces?"
Beitullah Mahsoud: "This is an Islamic principle. Look what they do to women in Abu Ghureib prison in Iraq, and to Muslims in Cuba and in Palestine. Look at the Indian persecution of Muslims. We must join forces in our jihad against all this. We must cooperate.
"Allah be praised, most of the mujahideen in Afghanistan are locals, and only 5% are from our group. We cooperate with them in the name of Islam."
Interviewer: "Do your people participate in operations inside Afghanistan?"
Beitullah Mahsoud: "America has occupied many Muslim countries, and Afghanistan is very near us. We always try to reach any place we can, with the help of Allah."
Interviewer: "With regard to the Al-Qaeda organization and its leaders – some people accuse you of harboring Osama bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri, and some other Al-Qaeda leaders. Is there any truth to this?"
"Pakistan Should Use These [Nuclear] Weapons to Defend the Muslims and to Challenge the Enemies"
Beitullah Mahsoud: "Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden are two of the greatest mujahideen for the sake of Allah and two of the greatest leaders of the Muslims. All the Muslims love these two men. They fight America with full determination, and we are proud of them. However, these leaders are not in our region. Nevertheless, we are prepared to do whatever they want. If they want to come here – we are ready. If they ask for our support, we will say: We respond to the call.
"We have a weapon more powerful than the Pakistani nuclear weapon. We have fidaai fighters. The problem of Pakistan is that it has lost what it used to have, and this is because it no longer has an independent political will, and its army does not adhere to its nuclear weapons. Moreover, it uses the weapons in its possession against the people and against the Muslims. Pakistan should use these weapons to defend the Muslims and to challenge the enemies. But the army has used its weapons to harm the people and the Muslims.
"We are happy to have the Americans here and to be their enemies. The Jews and the Christians are among our sworn enemies, and Allah willing, we will fight them to the end."