Taliban launch campaign to win support outside Afghanistan
* Afghan official claims Taliban using media blitz to put message accross to hard-liners
KABUL: The Taliban have launched an unprecedented campaign to win money and support from Muslim militants outside Afghanistan in a resurgence marked by a spate of roadside killings, military ambushes and public statements.
After remaining relatively quiet for months, a bevy of Taliban spokesmen has been turning up on media, and a handful have started making direct phone calls to the international press, including The Associated Press.
The calls have increased in step with a bolder, bloodier insurgency that has shaken faith in the Washington-backed Afghan government’s ability to assert its control, and the US military’s resolve at crushing the rebels. Omar Samad, the Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the Taliban are using the media blitz to try to get their message out to hard-liners.
With Taliban leader Mullah Omar and other top figures in hiding, captured or killed, a crop of front men _ some new, some old names from the regime’s heyday in power _ has gone into high gear. Sometimes their claims sound outlandish: that the Taliban killed 10 US soldiers in fighting in September in southern Zabul province. The Americans say one special operations soldier died in a fall during a combat operation there.
The militia also calls to take credit for recent attacks or to warn of bloody repercussions for those who collaborate with the international community. A fax sent to AP in September claimed the Taliban were behind a wave of recent killings of employees of international aid groups - often referred to as non-governmental organizations, or NGOs.
Aid workers have been pulled from their cars and executed in southern Ghazni, Helmand and Zabul provinces in recent months.
“Our government has always respected the people who are working in NGOs that really want to build Afghanistan,” read the Taliban statement. “But there is another kind of NGO which only uses the name NGO but is actually working and spying for the United States. We advise Taliban all over the country to attack them and extradite them from Afghanistan.” —AP
Ata refuses to accept disarmament
ISLAMABAD: The commander of Jamiat-e-Islami in the Northern Afghanistan and corps commander of 7th corps, Ustad Ata Muhammad has refused to accept disarmament campaign, likely to be started with the help of UN, unless security for the lives of people and their properties has been ascertained by the government in the Balkh province. BBC reports that, while addressing his militant, Ustad Ata said they were not ready to hand over their weapons without guarantee of the people lives and their properties. Demanded assurance from the government to determine security in the area, he said they would never accept any government without Mujahideen representation in that. Leveling allegation against Gen.Abdul Rasheed Dostum he said, “The looters, robbers, rebels and aggressors had come from Sar-e-Pul, Jauzgan, Alkho and Akshin to loot out the Balkh province”. He said 4000 fighters had been organized to defend the province from aggressors and appreciated the performance of militia men during the recent fighting against the forces of Dostum. He made these remarks at a time when Mr Jalali said that 300 security personnel of the Interior Ministry would be deployed in the Mazar-e-Sharif to maintain law and order situation. However it was also said that such remarks from Ustad Ata would increase misunderstanding between the two rival groups. —SANA