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memri
March 6, 2012 No.
807

The Realignment of Jihadist Groups in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Region – The Formation of Shura Muraqba In Parallel to the U.S.-Taliban Talks

By: Tufail Ahmad*


The above cartoon from an Afghan website depicts the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) cultivating terrorism (courtesy: kabulpress. org, May 18, 2011)

Introduction

This paper examines the following: first, the essential ideological unity and operational collaboration between the jihadist organizations based in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region; second, the reality of the now-not-so secret U.S.-Taliban peace negotiations and how the Taliban aim to gain from the talks; third, the Taliban's official statements illustrating their viewpoint on the continuation of jihad against the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in spite of the talks; fourth, how a realignment of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda is underway in Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, backed by the Pakistani intelligence agencies and parallel to the U.S.-Taliban talks; and fifth, the message of jihad that is being reinforced by the newly established Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), a new incarnation of the banned Pakistani jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Western writers and security analysts view these groups in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region as independent units led by different commanders, and as operationally autonomous. However, this view does not reflect the accurate situation on the ground. The jihadist organizations, i.e. those based in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region or elsewhere, deeply share the ideology of jihad, even though they may constitute operationally different units at some times and do collaborate whenever it is operationally achievable for them.

As discussed below, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban's shadow government) views its talks with the U.S. as a means to gain political and diplomatic legitimacy at the international level and sees the talks as in a pre-negotiations stage, when primarily the goals to be achieved include an exchange of prisoners and the de-listing of Taliban leaders from the United Nations terror blacklist as well as from the U.S. State Department's own terror watchlist. Various statements issued by the Islamic Emirate, and examined below, illustrate the point that the Taliban will continue their jihad against the U.S. forces, including repeating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, like the one on September 13, 2011.

In the middle of the U.S.-Taliban talks and the U.S. move to end the occupation of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan security forces, the Pakistani military leadership is failing to see any strategic advantage for itself in the emerging situation in Kabul. As a result, the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is propping up a new pro-Pakistan Coordination Council of Taliban and Al-Qaeda commanders, as seen in the emergence of Shura Muraqba in early January 2012.

This paper also examines how the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the jihadist organization known for working with the support of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is transforming itself into a new avatar under the banner of the newly established Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), leading mass public rallies in Pakistani cities where the message of jihad against the U.S. and India is publicly declared and threats are issued against the elected civilian government of Pakistan to completely sever all relationships with the U.S. – a goal desired by the ISI. In its understanding of jihad and strategic objectives, the DPC does not differ in any way from other jihadist groups in Pakistan, including the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and the Punjab-based Sunni jihadist groups that have emerged as affiliates of Al-Qaeda in recent years.

The Essential Unity of the Taliban and Other Jihadist Groups


In a pre-recorded video, the Jordanian suicide bomber who carried out the December 2009 CIA base at Khost, Afghanistan sits alongside Hakimullah Mehsud, who succeeded Baitullah Mehsud as TTP Emir

It should be noted that there is an essential ideological unity and operational collaboration between the jihadist organizations active in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, including the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, the Pakistani Taliban, and Al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

The Afghan Taliban groups, including the main constituent Haqqani Network, are organized primarily under the banner of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban's shadow government in the country. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is headed by Mullah Mohammad Omar. The Haqqani Network, perhaps the most dominant unit among the Afghan Taliban currently, is led by commander Sirajuddin Haqqani and his father Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Over the past few years, the U.S. government and Western journalists have tried to argue that the Haqqani Network is not part of the Taliban. Some journalists, advocating this view, have published reports arguing that the Afghan Taliban are a peaceful group whose interests are limited to governing Afghanistan whereas the Haqqani Network is closer in its tactical orientation towards Al-Qaeda.[1] This view has been encouraged by the U.S. government in order to drive a wedge between the militant groups. However, time and again the Taliban have rejected this view, reiterating instead that the Haqqani Network is formally part of the Taliban and owes its allegiance to Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Maulvi Sangeen, the Taliban's shadow governor for Paktika province, stated recently that the Haqqani Network, is part of the Taliban. In a statement published by an official website of the Islamic Emirate, Maulvi Sangeen rejected Western assertions that Haqqani Network is a non-Taliban group active in the eastern Afghan provinces of Paktia, Paktika and Khost, stating: "This is the public cry of the enemies of Islam and Afghanistan and their stooges. It has no reality. It is the propaganda of different radio channels and the media. I can say quite openly that all the mujahideen work under the leadership of the honorable Emir-ul-Momineen (head of the pious people) [i.e. Mullah Mohammad Omar]. Not only in our area, but also in the whole of Afghanistan, the operations are carried out according to his command and under his control…. I would like to clarify that Alhaj Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani (may Allah protect him) and his family have rendered unforgettable sacrifices for Islam and Afghanistan. All his family members are sincere to Islam and jihad. Mr. Haqqani himself is a devoted Mujahid, scholar and a pious person. He obeys the head of the Islamic Emirate [Mullah Mohammad Omar] and asks others to obey him."[2]

In November 2011, Sirajuddin Haqqani went on record to clarify that the Haqqani Network is part of the Taliban, stating that the U.S. has been working to separate him from the Islamic Emirate. In an audio interview published on the official website of the Islamic Emirate, Sirajuddin Haqqani stated: "Right from the first day of the American forces' arrival into Afghanistan until this day, not only Pakistan but other Islamic and non-Islamic countries, including the U.S., contacted us for negotiations and they are still doing so. They offered a big share and important role in Afghan government if we part ways with the Islamic Emirate. But, we always replied that they should rather engage themselves in negotiations with the political commission of the Islamic Emirate. We know that the so-called reconciliation [i.e. peace process] is not their goal; rather they want to create a rift in the ranks and files of the Islamic Emirate."[3]

Asked about what relationship the Haqqani Network has with Mullah Mohammad Omar, Sirajuddin Haqqani stated: "The respected Emir-ul-Momineen Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid is our supreme leader. We follow his directives. We are representing a particular area under the umbrella of the Islamic Emirate and act accordingly. We follow directives of the Shura [led by Mullah Mohammad Omar] in planning and financial matters. In such a situation, there is no question of running a separate organization, group, or entity."[4] Sirajuddin Haqqani also sits on the Shura, i.e. the Taliban's governing council based in Pakistan and headed by Mullah Mohammad Omar.

The Pakistani Taliban groups, which are organized under the umbrella organization known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP or Movement of the Pakistani Taliban), also consider themselves as part of the Taliban headed by Mullah Omar. On numerous occasions, TTP Emir Hakimullah Mehsud has clarified that the TTP owes its allegiance to Mullah Mohammad Omar, who is regarded as Emir-ul-Momineen or Leader of the Faithful by all major jihadist groups worldwide.

In a statement issued in March 2010, Hakimullah Mehsud rejected distinctions between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani Taliban, stating: "The other point is that the Afghan Taliban are waging jihad under the leadership of Mullah Omar, and Pakistani Taliban are also waging jihad under his leadership. The Emir of the Afghan Taliban and Emir of the Pakistani Taliban too is Emir-ul-Momineen Mullah Omar. The Emir-ul-Momineen, Mullah Omar, is bravely confronting the infidels and in this war against infidels, the Pakistani Taliban are standing alongside him…."[5]

In another message issued on the eve of Eid-ul-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice in November 2011), Hakimullah Mehsud vowed to "fight in the way of Allah" until the earth is cleared of the infidels (non-Muslims), and reiterated that the Taliban fighters owe their allegiance to Mullah Omar.[6] Mehsud stated: "I urge all Muslims to rise up against these agents of the kuffar who have sold their consciences; to rise above their differences and unite under the banner of Emir-ul-Momineen Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid (HA) and work towards the revival of the Caliphate – a dream awaiting fulfillment."[7]

The Haqqani Network of the Afghan Taliban, Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban collaborate in executing major attacks. One such key attack that illustrates deep collaboration between the Haqqani Network, the TTP and Al-Qaeda is the December 30, 2009 suicide bombing at the CIA's Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, the eastern Afghan province, which killed seven CIA operatives. The bombing was carried out by triple agent Hamam Al-Balawi aka Abu Dajana, a Jordanian intelligence operative working for CIA but simultaneously recruited by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Al-Balawi said in a pre-recorded video that he was carrying out the operation to avenge the killing of TTP's Emir Baitullah Mehsud, the predecessor of Hakimullah Mehsud.[8]

It is pertinent here to note that in that pre-recorded video, Hamam Al-Balawi sat alongside Hakimullah Mehsud to record his statement, warning: "We will never forget the blood of our Emir, Baitullah Mehsud. We will continue to avenge his blood in America and elsewhere. This is a pledge taken by all the muhajireen [foreign militants based in Waziristan], who were hosted by Baitullah Mehsud. By Allah, we shall never forget our Emir, Baitullah Mehsud, who used to kiss the hands of the muhajireen, out of the love he had for them in his heart. We shall never forget our Emir, Baitullah Mehsud."[9] The reference to muhajireen (migrants) draws on Islamic history, as the muhajireen were Prophet Muhammad and his companions when he migrated from Mecca to Medina leading to the establishment of the first Islamic state there. The attack on the CIA base at Khost was described in an editorial by the Pakistani newspaper Dawn as a "spectacular example of collaboration" between the Afghan Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the Pakistani Taliban.[10]

Faisal Shehzad, who carried out the failed bombing on May 1, 2010 in the Times Square of New York, had hoped to achieve martyrdom in that attack, as it became evident from a pre-recorded video of him that emerged afterwards. The video speech illustrated how Shehzad, like other Islamic militants, saw no distinction between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Shehzad, who is now serving a life term in a U.S. jail, stated in the video: "This attack on the United States will also be a revenge attack for all the mujahideen, and the muhajireen, and the weak and oppressed Muslim people, for example, the martyr Baitullah [Mehsud, the TTP] Emir, as well as Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi [of Al-Qaeda in Iraq], and all the Muslim Arabs that have been martyred. I will take revenge on their behalf, Allah willing, and I really wish that the hearts of the Muslims will be pleased with this attack [in Times Square]."[11]

It should also be noted here that in addition to the TTP, a number of Punjab-based jihadist organizations in Pakistan – e.g. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) – operate closely with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Hizb-e-Islami of former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is a major non-Taliban militant group in Afghanistan, but it too works alongside the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in some parts of Afghanistan as well as independently.

Some of the major Al-Qaeda affiliates worldwide that regard Mullah Mohammad Omar as the Emir-ul-Momineen include Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula of Yemen, the Islamic State of Iraq, Morocco's Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen in Somalia. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which recruited six dozen German nationals in 2009, and its splinter group Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), both operate alongside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Osama bin Laden, the late Al-Qaeda leader, and his successor Ayman Al-Zawahiri too gave bai'yah (allegiance to the Emir of the Muslim Ummah) to Mullah Omar. All these groups view the mujahideen in Pakistan and Afghanistan as Ansar, literally, helpers or locals who aided the Prophet Muhammad after he migrated from Mecca to Medina.

Because terrorist groups cannot be expected to operate freely and unhindered in view of military operations in Afghanistan, it is also a reality that despite their ideological unity regarding jihad fi Sabilillah (fighting in the way of Allah), many of them are led by different commanders who act both on their own as well as in operational collaboration with each other in executing some of the major attacks. In the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, their operational relationship runs deep as most of these groups have their bases and hideouts in Waziristan, the safe haven for Al-Qaeda and the Taliban protected by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of the Pakistani military.

The Hard Reality of the U.S.-Taliban Negotiations


The logo of the Islamic Emirate's website

In recent years, efforts were made at different levels by the Afghan government headed by President Hamid Karzai, the U.K., and the U.S. to engage the Taliban in peace talks. At various times in 2007-2008, the British diplomats tried their best to engage the Taliban through the mediation of Saudi Arabia, but were unsuccessful.

The Karzai government announced a series of measures aimed at reconciliation with the Taliban, offering the low-ranking militants jobs in government departments in exchange for abandoning violence. The government measures, facilitated by German funds and also supported by the U.S., made little headway, though some militants, many of them genuine and some not so genuine, did surrender before Afghan officials. However, these efforts did not usher in a hopeful era of negotiations on the political future of Afghanistan, as the Taliban showed no serious inclination to engage with the peace process.

However, an American soldier, Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl, was kidnapped in mid-2009 by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. It was around this time that the Taliban began engaging with U.S. officials through Taliban representative Tayyab Agha. These contacts with the Taliban were presented in the U.S. media as negotiations for a political settlement on the future of Afghanistan. But the realistic assessment is that the Taliban saw these contacts merely aimed at exchange of prisoners – i.e. a promise to free Bergdahl in exchange for Taliban commanders being held at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay.

Over the past few years, several Taliban statements denied any peace talks with the U.S. However, on July 6, 2011, one of the official websites of the Islamic Emirate (the Taliban's shadow government) issued a statement, titled "Statement of the Islamic Emirate Regarding the Baseless Rumors of Negotiations" and rejecting Western media reports of U.S.-Taliban peace talks. The same statement also admitted for the first time that the Taliban are in "direct and indirect" contacts with the U.S. and Canadian officials regarding prisoner release.[12] The statement added that "direct and indirect contacts continue about Canadian and American prisoners who are in our captivity as well as about other nationals who have come to our country for occupation and were/are under our detention. The rumor about negotiation with America is not more than the talks aimed at the exchange of prisoners. Some circles call these contacts as comprehensive talks about the current imbroglio of Afghanistan. However, this shows their unfair treatment of the issue and lack of knowledge about the reality."[13]

In an August 29, 2011 message released on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr, Mullah Omar continued to reiterate the stated Taliban position regarding the talks, noting: "The contacts which have been made with some parties for the release of prisoners can't be called a comprehensive negotiation for the solution of the current imbroglio of the country. However, the Islamic Emirate, as an efficient political and military entity, has a specific and independent agenda in this regard…."[14] The fact that Mullah Omar referred to the Islamic Emirate as a "political and military entity" was the nearest to saying that the Taliban have begun to see themselves re-emerging as rulers of Afghanistan as a result of the contacts with the U.S.

It is a reality that the Taliban saw their contacts with U.S. officials – at least initially – as an opportunity to get the Taliban commanders freed from the Guantanamo Bay detention center. However, amid these contacts, sometime later they also sensed a greater opportunity: i.e. they are already present militarily inside Afghanistan and now they are getting a chance to be present politically and diplomatically outside Afghanistan as the U.S. offered to allow them to open a political office in Qatar to further the talks. On January 3, 2012, the website of the Islamic Emirate issued a statement, officially confirming a U.S.-mediated deal to set up a Taliban political office in Qatar.

The January 3, 2012 statement, which was careful to indicate that the Taliban will not engage with the Karzai government, noted: "The ongoing issue in the country which came about 10 years ago [after the U.S. launched the invasion of Afghanistan] has been between two fundamental elements: on the one side is the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and on the other is the United States of America and its foreign allies…. We are at the moment, besides our powerful presence inside the country, ready to establish a political office outside the country to come to an understanding with other nations and in this series, we have reached an initial agreement with Qatar and other related sides. The Islamic Emirate has also asked for the release of its prisoners from the Guantanamo prison on an exchange basis."[15]

The fact that the Taliban saw for the first time that they are getting political and diplomatic legitimacy internationally as a result of talks with the U.S. was illustrated in an interview given in February 2012 to London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat by Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, one of the key spokesmen of the Islamic Emirate. Asked about whether the Taliban will like to open political offices – similar to the one on the lines of the political office in Qatar – in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Libya, Egypt and other countries, Ahmadi said: "After 10 years of jihad and steadfastness on the part of the Afghan people against the arrogant occupiers, the entire world is aware of the strength of the Afghan jihad and has accepted the reality of the situation in the Afghan arena. This has caused many countries in the world to desire contact with the Islamic Emirate and the political office of the Islamic Emirate. The Islamic Emirate will welcome the opening of its political offices in these countries and others, if this is approved."[16]

In mid-February 2012, Zabihullah Mujahid, the main spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, laid down four conditions for negotiations to begin with the U.S. on the future of Afghanistan, adding that "negotiations with America have not yet begun."[17] In a statement published on the Taliban website, Zabihullah Mujahid stated: "Now the question is, when will negotiations begin? I must say that before any negotiations can take place, confidence-building measures must first succeed so that an atmosphere can be created for negotiations and this confidence-building measure rests entirely with the Americans; and they must take steps for it including: the exchange of Guantanamo prisoners, the opening of a political office and the termination of the black list of the United Nations as well as the bounty lists of America and her allies."[18]

Some hard realities associated with the U.S.-Taliban peace talks include the following: a) the Taliban have rejected any engagement with the Afghan government which in their opinion is not the legitimate representative of the Afghan people; b) the Taliban think of the peace talks as tactics aimed at getting the Taliban prisoners freed from the Guantanamo Bay prison and getting the Taliban commanders de-listed from the UN terror blacklist and the U.S. terror watchlist; and c) the Taliban view the talks as confidence-building or pre-negotiations stage before the actual talks on the political future of Afghanistan.

Additionally, the Taliban have repeatedly refused to state clearly that they will not host Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan if they take power in Kabul. In February 2012, Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi was asked if the Taliban could make a commitment not to host Al-Qaeda once more if they take power in Kabul. Ahmadi merely stated: "You must notice that the Americans acknowledged, on more than one occasion, that Al-Qaeda is no longer centered in Afghanistan, whilst on the other hand the situation in the Islamic world has experienced huge change, with successful revolutions having taken place in Arab states…. Islamic movements have succeeded in suppressing authoritarian governments that previously unjustly expelled or forced these movements to flee their countries. Therefore, Al-Qaeda and other Islamic organizations have now found what they need elsewhere, and I believe they are no longer interested in Afghanistan."[19]

The Taliban's Ideological Imperative behind Jihad

In the years before the U.S.-Taliban talks were confirmed, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan issued a number of statements, routinely reiterating that the Taliban will continue to wage jihad against the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. There has been no change in this Taliban position, both theoretically and on the ground in Afghanistan, as the Islamic Emirate – despite confirming its participation in the talks – has been routinely issuing statements, explicitly warning attacks against the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and reiterating that the jihad against the U.S. and NATO forces will continue in Afghanistan.

In December 2011, i.e. weeks before the Taliban confirmed their participation in the talks with America, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden remarked that the Taliban in Afghanistan are "not our enemy."[20] In the interview with journalist Leslie H. Gelb of Newsweek, Vice President Biden "Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That's critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us. So there's a dual track here: One, continue to keep the pressure on Al-Qaeda and continue to diminish them. Two, put the government in a position where they can be strong enough that they can negotiate with and not be overthrown by the Taliban. And at the same time try to get the Taliban to move in the direction to see to it that they, through reconciliation, commit not to be engaged with Al-Qaeda or any other organization that they would harbor to do damage to us and our allies."[21]

In sharp contradiction to the realpolitik of the U.S. administration, the Taliban have been articulating their own ideological imperative for waging jihad in Afghanistan. In his Eid-ul-Adha message issued on November 4, 2011, Mullah Omar asked the U.S. to quit Afghanistan and outlined the Taliban's ideological imperative for waging jihad against the U.S. and NATO troops in the following words: "Our Jihad is for attaining the gratification of Allah Almighty as well as the country's peace, freedom and sovereignty. We are shielding a creed [i.e. Islam] … and we firmly believe that honor and dignity are destined for us. We will once more live in the world with our heads held high as a noble nation, if Allah wills it."[22] In that statement, Mullah Omar, who is considered Emir-ul-Momineen (Leader of the Faithful) by jihadist groups worldwide, also advised his international followers: "I call on all the Muslims to take viable steps in these days of changes in the Islamic world for the benefit of Islam, unity and country by implementing all the Islamic principles. I advise all the Islamic and jihadi movements in all corners of the world to be cautious of the plots of the enemies of Islam and to detest from committing any act which is against or is skeptical in Islamic Law, and that will stain the image of mujahideen and cause aversion amongst the populace."[23]

In a statement issued in January 2012, the Islamic Emirate argued that its willingness to open a political office in Qatar as part of U.S.-mediated peace talks is not "a surrender from jihad."[24] The statement added: "It is well known to the Mujahid nation of Afghanistan that the Islamic Emirate has been engaged in a struggle and in jihad for the past one and a half decades to establish an Islamic government in accordance with the request of its people. It is for this purpose and for bringing about peace and stability in Afghanistan that we have increased our political efforts to come to mutual understanding with the world in order to solve the current ongoing situation." "But this understanding," the statement added, "neither means a surrender from jihad nor is it connected to an acceptance of the constitution of the stooge Kabul administration…rather the Islamic Emirate is utilizing its political wing alongside its military presence and jihad in order to realize the national and Islamic aspirations of the nation and its martyrs. We must say that some sources and reports of media outlets often try to distort realities… [about the jihad in Afghanistan]."[25]

A January 17, 2012 statement issued by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan rejected any likely compromise with the U.S., noting: "The Islamic Emirate… rejects the poisonous propaganda of the enemy which depicts the Islamic Emirate as being content with having control of a few provinces. We shall not stop our armed jihad for a single moment as long as the invaders are present on our soil as it would be contradictory to the goals of our decade-old jihad; and as long as the occupiers have not been completely gotten rid of, the Islamic Emirate shall never consider ceasefire even for a single instance."[26]

In his February 2012 statement, Zabihullah Mujahid, the main Taliban spokesman, outlined the Taliban's objectives in Afghanistan by outlining the jihadist imperative in the following words: "If America and its allies consider the current jihad and struggle in Afghanistan against the eradication of the occupation and its continuation until all foreign troops leave and an Islamic government is established as terrorism, then we cannot shun this as it would be an un-Islamic act because we consider this jihad and struggle as our Islamic obligation, the shunning of which is not possible in any circumstance. However, as we continue with this obligation – jihad and struggle – we are religiously held responsible in preventing civilian casualties."[27]

In his February 2012 interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, one of the two key Taliban spokesmen, reiterated that jihad is a "legitimate obligation" and warned that an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, like the one on September 13, 2011, will happen in the future.[28] To a question about the September 13, 2011 attacks on the U.S. Embassy and NATO military headquarters in Kabul, Ahmadi stated: "This [September 13, 2011] will not be the last time that the U.S. Embassy and the military headquarters of foreign troops will be targeted; we will attack them in the future as well, in addition to using other tactics. The objective of this is to show the power of the mujahideen and their military presence in the heart of the Afghan capital Kabul, and invalidate the claims of the Americans that they have pushed out the mujahideen from some areas."[29]

The Realignment of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by ISI – Formation of Shura Muraqba


A copy of the pamphlet announcing the formation of Shura Muraqba

Over the past few years but especially since the summer of 2011, the Pakistani military establishment, which is considered as the final arbiter of power in Islamabad, has been dictating the country's foreign policy aimed at ensuring Pakistan's strategic shift away from the U.S. and closer to China. Although this strategic shift had been underway in recent years, there were three immediate triggers: the unilateral U.S. military operation of May 2, 2011 in Abbottabad that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the November 26, 2011 NATO raid in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed, and the launch of the U.S.-Taliban peace negotiations without the involvement of ISI.

Around the time the U.S. made headway in its talks with the Taliban, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which is known for creating and nurturing jihadist organizations in order to use them in achieving the Pakistani foreign policy objectives in Afghanistan and Kashmir, began propping up a new Taliban and Al-Qaeda commanders' group, which has the potential to emerge as another Haqqani Network or as the key Taliban decision-making Shura in coming months should the U.S.-Taliban talks appear succeeding to the detriment of Pakistan's strategic goals in Kabul. This ISI-backed process culminated in the announcement of the formation of Shura Muraqba (coordination council). It is not a coincidence that the news announcing the formation of Shura Muraqba, which was dated December 31, 2011, appeared in the Pakistani newspapers of January 3, 2012 – the same day the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan formally confirmed its peace talks with the U.S., noting that it has agreed to open a political office in Qatar.

The pamphlet in the name of Shura Muraqba was distributed to journalists on January 2, 2012 in North Waziristan, the stronghold of jihadist groups along the Afghan border, noting that five members of the Shura Muraqba Five (Coordination Commission Five) are: Maulvi Azmatullah; Maulvi Noor Syed, Maulvi Saeedullah, Maulvi Sadar Hayat and Hafiz Amir Hamza.[30] Maulvi Azmatullah is a Taliban commander from the Barwan area and represents the Waliur Rehman group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Maulvi Noor Syed is a militant commander from Barwan and represents the group of fighters owing allegiance to Hakimullah Mehsud, the TTP Emir. Maulvi Saeedullah hails from Afghanistan and represents the Haqqani Network of the Taliban. Taliban commander Maulvi Sadar Hayat belongs to North Waziristan and represents Maulvi Gul Bahadur group of the TTP. Hafiz Amir Hamza is from Ahmedzai Wazir tribe and represents the TTP's Mullah Nazir group in South Waziristan.

Of them, Maulvi Gul Bahadur group and Mullah Nazir group have been known over the years for enjoying the support of the Pakistani military. The Haqqani Network is currently enjoying the support of Pakistani military intelligence agencies as it furthers their cause in Afghanistan. The TTP's groups led by Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman, who represented on the Shura Muraqba, are known to be ideologically committed against the Pakistani state and have declared the Pakistani military as apostates, i.e. those who have left Islam. However, it may be a tactical move by them to be on the Shura Muraqba, as they stand to gain everything and lose nothing. According to a report in the Dawn newspaper, TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan confirmed that the pamphlet is authentic.[31]

On the face of it, the Shura Muraqba is aimed at resolving differences among various militant factions in order to regroup them and investigate any excesses by Taliban fighters. The pamphlet read: "All mujahideen, local and foreigners, are to be informed that they should desist from killing and kidnapping innocent people for ransom and cooperate with the commission in curbing crimes. If any mujahid is found involved in killings, crimes and other illegal activities, then he will be answerable to the Shura Muraqba and will be given a penalty in accordance with Islamic Shari'a law."[32]

However, what is worrying is that process leading to the formation of Shura Muraqba also involved Al-Qaeda. The first meeting in this regard was held on November 27, 2011 in Azam Warsak area near Wana, South Waziristan, where Waliur Rehman Mehsud, Hakimullah Mehsud, Mullah Nazir, Abu Yahya Al-Libi of Al-Qaeda; Abdur Rehman Al-Saudi of Al-Qaeda network and Sirajuddin Haqqani of the Taliban's Haqqani Network participated.[33] A second meeting regarding the formation of Shura Muraqba was held on December 11, 2011 in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan and was attended by Zabiullah Mujahid, Maulvi Sangeen and Maulvi Ashfaq from Afghanistan; Yahya Al-Libi, Abdur Rehman Al-Saudi of Al-Qaeda network; Hafiz Gul Bahadur, Maulvi Sadiq Noor from North Waziristan agency; Hakimullah Mehsud, Waliur Rehman and Mullah Nazir from South Waziristan.[34]

TTP Spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan, who confirmed the first pamphlet of Shura Muraqba, warned that the TTP will send fighters from the Pakistani region to Afghanistan after March 2012 in support of Mullah Omar's jihad against the "U.S.-led infidel forces."[35] According to another report in the Urdu-language Pakistani newspaper Roznama Ummat, the Shura Muraqba will be headed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who leads the Haqqani Network, the largest group of militants among the Taliban in Afghanistan.[36]

A second pamphlet was issued by Shura Muraqba on January 18, 2012. It mentioned the five commanders whose names appeared first when the group's name was announced through in the first pamphlet: Maulvi Sadar Hayat, Maulvi Saeedullah, Maulvi Noor Syed, Maulvi Azmatullah and Hafiz Ameer Hamza.[37] The second pamphlet, headlined "A significant and excellent decision by Shura Muraqba," warned masked militants in Waziristan not to act without its approval, stating: "All mujahideen – foreigners and locals – and particularly local residents, are to be informed through this advertisement that masked fighters of any jihadi group have no authority to capture or detain any suspected person on charges of spying or any other crime. They should have to mandatorily take into confidence the Shura Muraqba before taking action against any alleged spy."[38]

The Shura Muraqba is working at the behest of the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as it was evident in a third pamphlet issued by it, dated February 10, 2012. The one-page statement declared that a 2007 peace agreement reached between the Taliban and the Pakistani government is in effect and stated: "As all of us know, through a well-planned and secret conspiracy the law and order situation is being caused to deteriorate in North Waziristan. Therefore, all the mujahideen – Ansar and Muhajireen [local and foreign militants] – are especially directed through this advertisement that the peace deal signed [in February 2007] with the government of Pakistan is an agreement by all of us; so it is our collective responsibility to abide by it."[39] "Therefore, no individual is permitted," the pamphlet warned, "to violate the said agreement. If anyone is found guilty of violating the said agreement (by firing missiles, or using remote [-controlled bombs]), we reserve the right to carry out any action against the culprit…."[40]

Writing about the Shura Muraqba's February 10, 2012 pamphlet, senior Pakistani journalist and author Amir Mir published a report in his newspaper The News, stating: "Sirajuddin Haqqani, the chief operational commander of Haqqani Network, has conceded for the first time the existence of a peace deal with the Pakistani security establishment as per which the Tehreek-e-Taliban [Pakistan or TTP], Afghan Taliban, Haqqani network and several other militant groups won't attack the Pakistani troops and instead would focus attention on the U.S.-led allied forces stationed in Afghanistan."[41]

While the Shura Muraqba itself does not note who its chief is, the Roznama Ummat report, mentioned above, and other news reports indicate that it is headed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani Network. Amir Mir observed in his report: "In his statement (i.e. the February 10, 2012 pamphlet), Sirajuddin Haqqani directed the Pakistani Taliban to stop attacking Pakistani security forces in accordance with a peace agreement, thus giving credence to media speculations that the Taliban-linked militants and the military establishment have struck a clandestine ceasefire, especially after Islamabad's decision to suspend the Nato supplies going to Afghanistan [in the wake of the November 26, 2011 Salala air strike which killed 25 Pakistani soldiers]."[42]

It is also noteworthy here that while several Taliban and Al-Qaeda commanders, including the TTP's Nek Mohammad and Baitullah Mehsud, have been killed in the U.S. drone attacks in recent years, no key militant commander has been killed in the Pakistani military operations, as the Pakistani Army invariably avoids targeting the influential militant commanders who could be used in Afghanistan or against India.

Calls for Jihad at Rallies by Difa-e-Pakistan Council – The New Face of Lashkar-e-Taiba


The banner at the December 18, 2011 rally of Difa-e-Pakistan in Lahore reads: "Difa-e-Pakistan – Jihad in the Way of Allah"

On February 2, 2012, MEMRI published a research paper on how the banned Pakistani jihadist organization has re-emerged under the banner of Difa-e-Pakistan Council (Defense of Pakistan Council, or DPC) and is leading a series of mass rallies in Pakistani cities.[43] In the above image, a banner of the DPC at its December 18, 2011 rally in Lahore reads: "Difa-e-Pakistan – Jihad in the Way of Allah."[44] The DPC is led by Professor Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and now Emir of LeT's successor Jamaatud Dawa. Maulana Samiul Haq, a veteran Pakistani cleric and former senator known as the father of the Taliban, is the co-chairman of DPC along with Hafiz Saeed. The DPC does not differ in its understanding of jihad and its strategic goals from those of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

At the public rallies organized by the DPC, several of whom have taken place in the cities of Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi, the message of DPC speakers has been invariably to call for jihad against the U.S. and India and to mount pressure on the civilian Pakistani government to completely break off its relationship with America. It should be noted that the LeT has enjoyed the support of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Hafiz Saeed is mounting unprecedented pressure on the elected democratic government in Islamabad to force it to announce a full stop to all kinds of relationships with the U.S., an objective also desired by the powerful ISI.

At the December 18, 2012 DPC rally in Lahore, Pakistani cleric Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer lauded Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Samiul Haq for hoisting the "flag of jihad" by establishing the DPC.[45] Zaheer told the crowd: "As you know that Allah Almighty has said in his holy book [the Koran], Jews and Christians cannot be our friends."[46] Rejecting Pakistan's role against the U.S.-led war on terror, the renowned cleric exhorted the crowd: "And tell me! Are you ready for fight with America? Are you ready for collision with America? And are you ready to confront America?"[47] "Today we want to declare that those who possess swords [weapons] are the Pakistan Army. The Army should defend the geographical frontiers of Pakistan and we have come to protect ideological boundaries of Pakistan," he said, adding: "Now these chains will be broken and your fate will be awakened. This sea [of people] has risen and will not stop... Pakistan was created in the name of La Illaha Ilallah [There is no deity but Allah] and will survive. And enemies of Pakistan will be crushed. India will be disgraced. America too will be disgraced; and Israel also will be humiliated. Islam will survive and Pakistan too will survive."[48]

Hafiz Saeed is an ideologue of jihad. In a speech available on the video-sharing website YouTube, he articulates his views regarding in the following words: "The nations that eat pig are on the path of extreme shamelessness. Every obscenity and shamelessness is spreading in the world through them. This is a culture, formally. The Prophet Muhammad said: Jesus [when he rises] will murder the pig, will end the pig, the culture of pig and everything like this. And after the success of this jihad [against the culture of pig], after the end of Jew-ism, after the end of Christianity, after the end of obscenity and irreligiousness, Islam will rule the world…."[49]

The LeT founder adds: "The Prophet [Muhammad] connected this jihad to the Jihad in Hind [India] against the Hindu so that the greatness of this jihad [against this culture of pigs] could be evident. And what is the reason for jihad? The reason is shirk [idolatry, i.e. believing in numerous gods or sharing others in the entity of Allah] by Hindus who are the biggest representatives of shirk right from the ancient age…. [The prophet] said that the one who waged jihad in Hind, that jihad will be superior. [The Prophet's companion] Abu Huraira narrated: 'The prophet of Allah explained so much greatness of jihad in Hind, jihad against the Hindu, that – oh, people remember – if the door opened for this jihad there in my lifetime, then Abu Huraira will run to participate in that jihad… And if Allah granted me martyrdom, I will not be a martyr like others, but among the Greatest Martyrs….'"[50]

At the December 18, 2012 DPC rally in Lahore, where tens of thousands of supporters could be seen waving the Jamaatud Dawa flag, Hafiz Saeed gave a call for jihad and declared that the U.S.'s New World Order is being replaced by the Muhammadi World Order, i.e. the Islamic order of Prophet Muhammad. The jihadist leader, who is banned by the UN Security Council for his role in the terrorist attacks of November 2008 in Mumbai, told the crowd: "Jihad will continue until the Indian Army leaves from there [i.e. from Kashmir], Allah willing. [Crowd chants:] 'Insha Allah, Sabeelona, Sabeelona – al-Jihad-o-wal Jihad; Sabeelona, Sabeelona—al-Jihad-o-wal Jihad. Only one cure for America – jihad, jihad. One cure for India – jihad, jihad. Hafiz Saeed March on, we are with you.'"[51]

"My respected brothers," Hafiz Saeed said, "I thank you all and also to the leaders of all parties who expressed solidarity here… I want that this solidarity should be expressed in every city of Pakistan. And this unity, by the Grace of Allah, is the greatest power of Muslims. Allah willing, we will defend Pakistan and this Pakistan of La Ilaha Illallah Muhammadur Rasoolullah [There is no deity but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Prophet], the atomic Pakistan would shine on the world map, Allah willing. And those who would try to wipe out Pakistan would be wiped out, Allah willing. They would be wiped out [themselves]. Neither this Kalimah [i.e. the words – La Ilaha Illallah Muhammadur Rasoolullah] would be finished and nor the Pakistan of this Kalimah."[52]

He added: "And now the last message, brothers! The one problem of all the problems is this new world order and it will not be allowed. Allah willing, the Muhammadi world order [The order of Islam] will prevail. [Chants] 'Isha Allah.' The solution of all issues is the Muhammadi world order. This is the message; this is the call; this is the gathering… this is the journey; come and walk with us …."[53]


* Tufail Ahmad is Director of MEMRI's South Asia Studies Project (www.memri.org/sasp)

Endnotes:

[2] Taliban Governor Details Jihadist Activities In Paktika Province, Says Commander Jalaluddin Haqqani Is Part Of The Islamic Emirate Led By Mullah Omar, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 18, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5705¶m=UPP)

[3] In Audio Interview, Sirajuddin Haqqani Says Haqqani Network is Not Separate from the Taliban, Offers of Peace Talks are Aimed at Dividing the Mujahideen, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 15, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=5819¶m=UPP)

[4] In Audio Interview, Sirajuddin Haqqani Says Haqqani Network is Not Separate from the Taliban, Offers of Peace Talks are Aimed at Dividing the Mujahideen, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 15, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=5819¶m=UPP)

[5] Taliban's New Video of Hakimullah Mehsud Fails to Conclusively Establish that He is Alive; Mehsud Says: 'This War is Not a War between the Taliban and America; This War is a War between the Muslim Ummah and Infidels; This is [Their] Crusade', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, March 5, 2010. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=4014)

[6] In A Message On Eid Al-Adha, Pakistani Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsud Warns Of 'Well-Orchestrated' Attacks In Coming Days, Pledges To Fight Until 'There is No More... (Kufr) On The Earth', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 9, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=5794¶m=UPP)

[7] In A Message On Eid Al-Adha, Pakistani Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsud Warns Of 'Well-Orchestrated' Attacks In Coming Days, Pledges To Fight Until 'There is No More... (Kufr) On The Earth', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 9, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=5794¶m=UPP)

[8] Recorded Message by Hamam Al-Bluwi, Triple Agent Who Killed Eight in Suicide Bombing at CIA Base in Khost, Afghanistan, MEMRI TV Clip No. 2338, January 9, 2010. (http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/2338)

[9] Recorded Message by Hamam Al-Bluwi, Triple Agent Who Killed Eight in Suicide Bombing at CIA Base in Khost, Afghanistan, MEMRI TV Clip No. 2338, January 9, 2010. (http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/2338)

[10] Dawn (Pakistan), January 11, 2010.

[11] Times Square Bomber Faisal Shahzad, Shown Hugging Pakistani Taliban Leader Hakimullah Mehsud, Says He Hopes "that the Hearts of the Muslims Will Be Pleased with This Attack", MEMRI TV Clip No. 2547, July 14, 2010. (http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/2547)

[12] Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Rejects Western Media Reports on Peace Talks, Admits Direct And Indirect Contact With America For Prisoner Release, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, July 6, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5168¶m=UPP)

[13] Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Rejects Western Media Reports on Peace Talks, Admits Direct And Indirect Contact With America For Prisoner Release, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, July 6, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5168¶m=UPP)

[14] In Eid-ul-Fitr Message, Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Denies Peace Talks, Promises 'Imminent Victory', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, August 29, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5376¶m=UPP)

[15] Taliban Agree A U.S.-Mediated Deal To Set Up A Political Office In Qatar, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5662¶m=UPP)

[16] Taliban Spokesman: 'We will Attack ... [the U.S. Embassy in Kabul] in the Future As Well'; Qatar-Based Taliban Political Office 'will Serve the Jihadist Interests, Guarantee the End of Occupation, and Bring Security to Afghanistan', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 28, 2012 (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=6131)

[17] Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid: 'If America And Its Allies Consider The Current Jihad... As Terrorism, Then We Cannot Shun This As It Would Be An Un-Islamic Act', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 15, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5774¶m=UPP)

[18] Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid: 'If America And Its Allies Consider The Current Jihad... As Terrorism, Then We Cannot Shun This As It Would Be An Un-Islamic Act', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 15, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5774¶m=UPP)

[19] Taliban Spokesman: 'We will Attack ... [the U.S. Embassy in Kabul] in the Future As Well'; Qatar-Based Taliban Political Office 'will Serve the Jihadist Interests, Guarantee the End of Occupation, and Bring Security to Afghanistan', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 28, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=6131)

[20] The full text of Vice President Joe Biden's interview can be read here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/12/18/joe-biden-on-iraq-iran-china-and-the-taliban.html, accessed December 27, 2011.

[21] The full text of Vice President Joe Biden's interview can be read here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/12/18/joe-biden-on-iraq-iran-china-and-the-taliban.html, accessed December 27, 2011.

[22] Taliban Mullah Omar's Message On Eid-ul-Adha Asks The U.S. To Quit Afghanistan: 'Now You Only Have One Choice And That Of Removing All Of Your Military Forces From Our Country As Quickly As Possible', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 4, 2011 (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5542¶m=UPP)

[23] Taliban Mullah Omar's Message On Eid-ul-Adha Asks The U.S. To Quit Afghanistan: 'Now You Only Have One Choice And That Of Removing All Of Your Military Forces From Our Country As Quickly As Possible', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 4, 2011 (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5542¶m=UPP)

[24] Taliban Statement Says Negotiations With U.S. Is Neither 'A Surrender From Jihad Nor....An Acceptance Of The [Afghan] Constitution', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 12, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5689¶m=UPP)

[25] Taliban Statement Says Negotiations With U.S. Is Neither 'A Surrender From Jihad Nor....An Acceptance Of The [Afghan] Constitution', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 12, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5689¶m=UPP)

[26] Taliban Statement: 'We Shall Not Stop Our Armed Jihad For A Single Moment As Long As The Invaders Are Present On Our [Afghan] Soil', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 18, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5704¶m=UPP)

[27] Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid: 'If America And Its Allies Consider The Current Jihad... As Terrorism, Then We Cannot Shun This As It Would Be An Un-Islamic Act', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 15, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5774¶m=UPP)

[28] Taliban Spokesman: 'We will Attack ... [the U.S. Embassy in Kabul] in the Future As Well'; Qatar-Based Taliban Political Office 'will Serve the Jihadist Interests, Guarantee the End of Occupation, and Bring Security to Afghanistan', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 28, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=6131)

[29] Taliban Spokesman: 'We will Attack ... [the U.S. Embassy in Kabul] in the Future As Well'; Qatar-Based Taliban Political Office 'will Serve the Jihadist Interests, Guarantee the End of Occupation, and Bring Security to Afghanistan', MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 28, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=6131)

[30] Details Emerge Of 'Shura Muraqba Five' Formed By Taliban And Al-Qaeda Commanders To Fight Against U.S. Forces In Afghanistan, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5659¶m=UPP)

[31] Dawn (Pakistan), January 3, 2012. Also see: Details Emerge Of 'Shura Muraqba Five' Formed By Taliban And Al-Qaeda Commanders To Fight Against U.S. Forces In Afghanistan, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5659¶m=UPP)

[32] Details Emerge Of 'Shura Muraqba Five' Formed By Taliban And Al-Qaeda Commanders To Fight Against U.S. Forces In Afghanistan, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5659¶m=UPP)

[33] Details Emerge Of 'Shura Muraqba Five' Formed By Taliban And Al-Qaeda Commanders To Fight Against U.S. Forces In Afghanistan, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5659¶m=UPP)

[34] Details Emerge Of 'Shura Muraqba Five' Formed By Taliban And Al-Qaeda Commanders To Fight Against U.S. Forces In Afghanistan, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5659¶m=UPP)

[35] Dawn (Pakistan), January 3, 2012.

[36] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), January 3, 2012.

[37] Shura Muraqba's New Pamphlet Warns Masked Jihadi Fighters In Waziristan, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 30, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5735¶m=UPP)

[38] Shura Muraqba's New Pamphlet Warns Masked Jihadi Fighters In Waziristan, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 30, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5735¶m=UPP)

[39] Taliban Shura Orders Militants To Uphold 2007 Peace Pact With Pakistan Army, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 12, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5766¶m=UPP)

[40] Taliban Shura Orders Militants To Uphold 2007 Peace Pact With Pakistan Army, MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 12, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5766¶m=UPP)

[41] The News (Pakistan), February 14, 2012.

[42] The News (Pakistan), February 14, 2012.

[43] Pakistani Jihadist Organization Jamaatud Dawa/Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Reappears on Internet, Promotes Antisemitism and Jihad, Leads Mass Protests Against America and India, MEMRI's Inquiry & Analysis Report No. 791, February 2, 2012. (Pakistani Jihadist Organization Jamaatud Dawa/Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Reappears on Internet, Promotes Antisemitism and Jihad, Leads Mass Protests Against America and India)

[44] Pakistani Jihadist Organization Jamaatud Dawa/Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Reappears on Internet, Promotes Antisemitism and Jihad, Leads Mass Protests Against America and India, MEMRI's Inquiry & Analysis Report No. 791, February 2, 2012. (Pakistani Jihadist Organization Jamaatud Dawa/Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Reappears on Internet, Promotes Antisemitism and Jihad, Leads Mass Protests Against America and India)

[49] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whFmjEfwS6w, accessed February 29, 2012.

[50] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whFmjEfwS6w, accessed February 29, 2012.