The new (February 2010) issue of the Afghan Taliban's monthly Arabic magazine Al-Samoud (Al-Somood) has been released. "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.
As always, I find the magazine's regular feature, "Our Martyrs, The Heroes" (Shuhada'u-na, Al-Abtal), to be among the most interesting things in it. I am struck by how young many of them are, many the same age or younger than I and many of my friends and my graduate student colleagues. Surreal.
Leah Farrall, a doctoral candidate in transnational jihadi movements and a former practitioner with the Australian Federal Police, has noted another interesting piece, a historical analysis of the group commanded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, one of the most powerful Afghan Pashtun insurgent leaders who is believed to have close ties with foreign groups operating in the country, including Al-Qa'ida Central's (AQC) "AFPAK" brigades. He bears the dubious "honor" of having, allegedly, introduced kamikaze (suicide) "martyrdom" operations to the conflict.
Embarrassingly for the United States government, he was reportedly one of the Central Intelligence Agency's key assets during the 1980s Jihad (literally "struggle"; in this context military struggle/war) against the Soviet Union and its Afghan Communist allies. By the way, her blog is highly recommended.
Also interesting (to me, perhaps because I'm currently toiling through a Hadith Sciences translation seminar) is a piece toward the end, "Sincerity in Acts of Worship" (al-Ikhlas fi 'Ibadat), which appears to be a collection of topical ahadith, reports of sayings and actions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad through chains (Asaneed; singular: Isnad) of transmitters (Ruwaat; other terms are also used) by Sunnis. The asaneed seem to have been truncated, perhaps for space.
For Shi'is, such reports may also be attributed to their Imams, historical leaders whom they believe were imbued with Divinely-appointed authority and abilities to interpret the Qur'an, particularly its "hidden" or esoteric (Batin) meanings.
Al-Samood (February 2010)
I have written briefly about, and posted, the last several issues of the magazine; See HERE.
An English translation of a recent article, representing Afghan Taliban "journalism," about being on the front lines of battle in Helmand Province, can be read in this previous POST.