Saturday, April 17, 2010

Taliban Cooperation with Al-Qaeda 'is at the highest limits'

Via The Long War Journal -

The top leader of the dangerous Haqqani Network operating in eastern Afghanistan said that al Qaeda fighters are welcome to fight alongside the Taliban, and that his forces control 90 percent of the areas under his command.

Siraj Haqqani, the military commander of the deadly Haqqani Network, a Taliban group that operates in eastern Afghanistan, made the statements during an interview conducted by Abu Dujanah al Sanaani for
the newly established Al Balagh Media Center. A translation of Siraj's interview was provided by Flashpoint Partners.

Siraj stated he was 30 years old and confirmed he is a "member in the Shura Council in the Islamic Emirate" of Afghanistan. Better known as the Quetta Shura, the Taliban's top council is headquartered in the Pakistani city of Quetta in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

During the interview, Haqqani admitted that foreign members of al Qaeda are welcome to fight with his men and the rest of the Taliban, and that relations between the Taliban and al Qaeda are excellent.

When asked about the Haqqani Network and the Taliban's relationship with "mujahideen who emigrate to the land of the Khorasan" and whether they "form any obstacle or burden on the Afghani people," Siraj responded that the foreign fighters, or al Qaeda, "enlighten the road for us and they resist against the cross worshippers by cooperating with us and us with them in one trench." Siraj also said that cooperation between Arab fighters and the Taliban "is at the highest limits."

Siraj's disclosure that his fighters are closely allied with al Qaeda
matches statements made by Mullah Sangeen Zadran, one of Siraj's top lieutenants. Sangeen is the top military commander in Paktika province, a Haqqani Network stronghold. In an interview released in September 2009 by As Sahab, al Qaeda's top media outlet, Sangeen said al Qaeda and the Taliban "are all one and are united by Islam."

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