Taliban in Waziristan have released a video of former ISI official, Brigadier Amir Sultan A.K.A Col. Imam, another former Pakistan Air Force officer Khalid Khwaja and a Pakistani-British citizen Asad Qureshi. Its very strange, the godfather has been arrested by his children. First the news appeared last week in Pakistani media saying Col. Imam and two others were missing on their way to Waziristan, to make a documentary with Taliban leader Waliur Rehman Mehsood. After these confusing reports, a Taliban commander contacted by the News, had said they are safe and sound in South Waziristan with Commander Mehsood. And it was later when the video confirmed their kidnap. Apparently depressed, the two former ISI officials in the video talk about their service in the intelligence agency. The British-passport holder Asad Qureshi, said to be a journalist, talks in English saying “I am an England citizen, detained by Asian Tigers. Please help us”. Taliban demanded release of Mullah Baradar, the second-in-command of Taliban after Mullah Omer, arrested recently from Karachi city, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah and Mullah Kabir, two other notorious Taliban leaders.
There are some very confusing aspects of this incident. Firstly, why would Taliban arrest a former godfather, who was the most prominent defenders of Taliban in international media? “Asian Tigers” is heard for the first time; generally Taliban groups are named after Arab commanders during and after Prophet Muhammad. Its first time they are claiming responsibility with a name of English words. In the video, the two former ISI officers say they came to Waziristan on suggestions of Former Chief of Pakistan Army General Aslam Baig and Former Director General of ISI, General Hamid Gul, whom the US tried to declare a terrorist from the UN Security Council. While Hamid Gul has denied about his suggestion, talking to BBC Urdu. He says “its seems like a conspiracy of the US against me. And I don’t believe they are arrested by Pakistani or Afghan Taliban. Taliban would never do this. It’s any criminal group.” If they are not kidnapped by Taliban, why militants have not denied this yet? As quoted above, a Taliban commander had earlier confirmed arrival of the three “detainees” as “guests with Commander Waliur Rehman.” In the video, Taliban declare the former intelligence officials as the “enemies of Islam and Muslims”. Secondly, if abductors are a criminal group, why would they demand release of Taliban leaders? And one cannot believe Taliban—having full control in the areas of Waziristan where they have been kidnapped—are unaware of “criminal groups”. Actually, Hamid Gul himself is trying a conspiracy in the mid of extreme shock and confusion on this act of his children—Taliban.
Col. Imam played the most important role in making Taliban after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan. He trained Mullah Omer, Hekmatyar, Massoud and all other “Mujahideen leaders”. Col. Imam received training in Explosive Sabotage in the United States of America during Afghan Jihad against Soviet Union. He remained as Consul of Pakistani Consulate in Herat during that period. He was in Pak Army for 18 years in the Special Service Group (Commando Division) of Pakistan Army. Former President Pervez Musharraf was also an SSG Commando, the most elite force of Pakistan Army. Later he was in ISI for 11 years from 1974 to September 2001, just days before the US forces landed in Afghanistan. He was among those ISI officers rescued from Kandahar to Quetta after the US forces launched attack against Taliban in Mullah Omer’s birthplace.
Col. Imam used to defend Taliban, both Afghan and Pakistani, in his interviews and regular press statements in Pakistani media. He was a de facto spokesman of Taliban defending them in international media. Recently he had suggested the US to talk with Mullah Omer. There are also rumors that he was on a mission to talk with Taliban in Waziristan, when they were abducted.
In the video below, his interview with Geo TV, he admits training Mullah Omer and Hekmatyar with some interesting and funny sentences. Also to your utter surprise, he says Hamid Karzai worked as his interpreter with Mujahideen leaders. “I knew Hekmatyar and Massoud from the days when they used to throw acid on face of girls of Kabul University.” He also says, “Getting together the Afghans is like catching frog from muddy waters,” while talking about the problems of uniting the Mujahideen factions during and after Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
Also watch other parts of the interview coming as “Related Videos”.
There have been claims that Afghan and Pakistani Taliban have only ideological links. They used to operate altogether in Afghanistan before the US arrival, but have no operational links now. Why Pakistani Taliban would demand release of Afghan Taliban leaders, if they have no operational links? Mullah Mansoor Dadullah is the brother of notorious Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah—infamous for killing thousands of civilians during Taliban rule—who was killed by US forces in Afghanistan in 2007. Their all family members—from Chaman city of Pakistan near Kandahar city of Afghanistan—are in the ranks of Taliban.
All the confusing accounts on abduction of Col. Imam and others will be clear within a week, as militants in the video have given deadline of 10 days to Pakistan Government to release the arrested Taliban leaders.