Monday, February 8, 2010

A Day in the Front Lines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan: Taliban Journalism

Map of Afghanistan with photos (from bottom, left) of jihadi leaders Abu Yahya al-Libi, Khattab, Ayman al-Zawahiri, 'Abdullah 'Azzam, and Usama Bin Laden. The text reads: "Men of Steadfastness have pledged (themselves) to God."

An English-language translation by a cyber jihadi-takfiri is reproduced, without edits, of an article published in the forty-third issue of the Afghan Taliban's monthly cyber magazine, Al-Samood (Samoud), released in January. The article is about the movement's ongoing operations in Helmand Province in southwestern Afghanistan, a Taliban stronghold, written through the point of view of a "front line reporter."

"Al-Samoud" translates approximately to the ability to withstand something or "staying power." In context, it can also mean something akin to "resistance." The magazine began as a simple newsletter-type publication with no graphics, but over the past couple of years has developed into a much more refined (design-wise) Internet publication.

The English translation and a link to the original Arabic article are provided below. Artwork from my research archive has been added. Several terms are used that may be unfamiliar to all readers:

Mujahideen=literally, "ones who struggle;" in this context, "warriors of faith"

Tafseer (Tafsir)=Exegesis (commentary) on the Qur'an

Surah=chapter of the Qur'an

Aya=verse of the Qur'an


الَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُواْ لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَاناً وَقَالُواْ حَسْبُنَا اللّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ

A Day in the front lines of Helmand

The day is Monday, the first in December 2009, the time is 9:00 in the morning local time. We are now are now on the outskirts of the Nuzad center in the north of Helmand, in the village of ‘Alizai to be exact. The weather today is cloudy with a temperature of 19 degrees.

Today President Barack Obama announced his new strategy of sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. Coinciding with the announcement of the Obama strategy we see enemy forces based in the province undertaking a series of military movements and we watch military helicopters hoverering in an unusual fashion above the front lines of the Mujahedeen. As for the ground movements of tanks, armored vehicles and other means of the transport, they remain as before: the move within boundaries restricted to the enemy centers.

Opposite we see the Mujahedeen based in the Nozad region and they are as usual engaged in their daily activities of training and organizing Jihadist matters with all peace and equanimity. They continue their military programme as usual in all areas linked to the Nuzad district.

The Mujahedeen received the Obama announcement of sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan via radio broadcasts and satellite phones. They learned of the Obama strategy of sending more troops to the region but that didn’t scare them or affect their morale or the implementation of their daily regime. The Mujahedeen station on the front line began their day as usual by reciting the Quran, studying Sharia in a circle and explaining the Glorious Quran through the instruction of Hafez Naseer who is considered one of the bravest Mujahedeen in the region. He is a strong personality who captures hearts.

"Helmand: Graveyard of Crusaders" (right)..."With God's permission, you will not leave except to Hell."

The lesson today concerned tafseer of two glorious ayas, number 173 and 174 from the blessed Surah Al-i-Imran. The lesson started with reciting the glorious verses: “Men said to them: ‘A great army is gathering against you’: and frightened them: but it only increased their faith: they said: ‘For us Allah sufficeth, and He is the best disposer of Affairs’. And they returned with grace and bounty and no harm ever touched them: for they followed the good pleasure of Allah: and Allah is the Lord of bounties unbounded”. Al-i-Imran 173-174.

Hafez Naseer’s recitation of of the Glorious Quran and beautiful Quranic exegesis in his sweet in the atmosphere of the Jihadist trenches created a feeling of wonder among listeners.

And I, who had spent a cold, sleepless night wrapped in an Afghan “Batu” cloak, participated in that Tafseer class with drowsy eyes. But I listened to the Hafez Naseer’s recitation and felt the same feeling of wonder.

The Quran tafseer class convenes every day after dawn prayer in one of the mud rooms reserved for Mujahedeen meetings and administration. After the class, the Mujahedeen are dispersed throughout the front lines.

The time is now 10:20. There are large enemy preparations of transports – armored vehicles and trucks – which have left their bases and plan to carry out military operations against the Mujahedeen in the areas of Kashk, Jaza, ‘Alizai and Sheikhza , all belonging to the Nuzad district.

The day before the Mujahedeen had learned through the media that British and American forces would conduct in the area a large operation codenamed “Cobra”. This was not the first time that foreign forces had conducted operations against the Mujahedeen. It had happened numerous times in the past but always the Mujahedeen had blocked the attacks and, through the grace of Allah, forced the enemy forces to withdraw, even from their bases. The Mujahedeen were prepared to carry and plant mines along the roads on which the enemy would pass, in order to inflict upon him losses in lives and equipment.

I am now witnessing 17 awesome explosions in the ‘Alizai district striking English armored vehicles. Despite the fact that soldiers of the enemy forces had refused to permit anyone to enter the area of the clashes, I was able to view the incident site and enemy casualties from 2 kilometers away using binoculars. I clearly see the disturbance and fear created in the ranks of the English soldiers by the detonation of the explosive charges.

The assault operations ended 3 hours after they began and the enemy forces, instead od advancing to the front, have retreated defeated to the rear. They have lost control of the withdrawal operation due to their fear of falling into explosive ambushes. The only thing which gives the enemy soldiers hope of staying alive are the military helicopters always present above their heads, and they are flying at an high altitude to keep away from the fire of the Mujahedeen.

One of the basic problems facing foreign forces based in the area is the hot, dusty climate which sometimes impedes to the point of paralysis the movement of foreign forces and their armored vehicles. However, in this atmosphere the Mujahedeen move with ease and plant explosive devices against the armored vehicles and personnel carriers. Moments after they plant the mines, the footprints of the Mujahedeen are concealed by the shifting sands in the area.

In July of this year, 7,000 American and British troops launched major offensives in Helmand codenamed “Tiger Claw” and “Dagger Thrust”. They announced in their media that this was the largest operation American forces had conducted since the Vietnam War. But resistance of the Mujahedeen to this operation by using military tactics and planting IEDs inflicted great losses and paralyzed the operation.

"Afghanistan: Hell of Crusaders"

Now, after more than five months have passed since “Tiger’s Claw” and “Dagger Thrust” the Mujahedeen have used the same tactics and planted explosives by the side of the roads used by foreign forces to negate the results of Operation Cobra in the same province.

The morale of the Mujahedeen is indescribably high, as is the assistance the local people give to them. Their knowledge of the local ground and the nature of the area are primary factors in their success. Meanwhile, an increase in the number of foreign troops in the area with their low morale has yielded no result other than to increase the losses in men and equipment. And it will have no benefit for foreign troops based in the area other than give them a great defeat and collapse before the attacks of the Mujahadeen.

The people of Helmand province hate so much the presence of foreign troops in their region. They describe them as occupiers and look towards them with antipathy and hatred.

In the region where we are, all the residents stand with the Mujahedeen. When the Mujahedeen pass through their villages, small children stand by the side of the roads to greet the Mujahedeen and shout out to them nasheeds and passionate slogans.

This is one of the nasheeds that the people of Helmand sing when greeting the Mujahedeen:

O Mujahedeen…do not retreat…and may Allah preserve you.
And may Allah place the Americans in your hands as prisoners.

"Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan: No Victory Except with God"

For Love and Support

The people of the region have sacrificed many martyrs at the hands of the foreign forces: This one has a brother killed at the hands of the Americans, that one lost a son in American bombing of their village, and another has a father imprisoned under the accusation of helping the Mujahedeen. So the Americans with their own hands have made all the people of Helmand Mujahedeen. They have all entered the trenches of the resistance motivated by revenge and Islamic religiosity. Allah willing, this will bear no fruit for the enemy other than defeat.

The Mujahedeen in Afghanistan at this moment possess a spirit of high morale and they have a determination to stay there and carry out their legal duty in the face of the Crusader occupiers. They say that even at the point of death they defend Islam and the sanctity of their occupied country. If we win and are victorious, we will have defended Islam and the sacred things and the land. Even if we are martyred, that will be a cause of pleasure to Allah.

“Say ‘Can you expect for us other than one of two Glorious things – But we can expect for you either that God will send His punishment from Himself, or by our hands. So wait; we too will wait with you’”. Surah al-Tauba

The original Arabic article may be viewed HERE (via Scribd).

1 comment:

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