In an exclusive phone interview with Killid’s Abdul Ghayor Waziri on Sep. 11 he talks about the events in New York in 2001 and their connection with Afghanistan before and after. He confirms what has always been speculated: the Taleban and US were in talks from 1996 to 2001.
Killid: What is your assessment of Sep. 11?
Abdul Hakeem Mujaheed: I was in New York. It was a tragic event. It is still not clear who was behind it, what was their aim. It created important changes in the world, especially in Afghanistan.
Killid: Al Qaeda was suspected to be behind the attack.
AM: I would like to state what I saw. I saw an aircraft had already hit one tower and the other one was trying for 15 or 20 minutes to hit the second tower. Would it be wise to say the US knew about the plot and did not frustrate the plot? Where were the American forces? If the US was not aware how come American TV channels were showing photos of Osama (bin Laden) half an hour after the event, and announcing that al Qaeda was behind it.
Killid: How come you were not able to satisfy the US through diplomatic efforts?
AM: The negotiations between US and Islamic imaret (government) continued from 1996 to 2001. We said if there is any evidence we are ready to call Osama to court, no body is above the law. But US did not agree. Secondly the distrust was so immense that (Taleban) imaret believed that even if Osama was handed over, US would not fulfill its programmes outlined for Afghanistan. Osama came from Sudan by plane during Professor Rabbani’s government. He was welcomed in Jalalabad by them. He was left to Taleban as an inheritance.
Killid: The Taleban could have sent Osama to some other country.
AM: These negotiations had taken place with Osama but the room for manoeuvre for him was so narrow. Citizenship had been taken away from him by Saudi (Arabia), Sudan expelled him to Afghanistan; no country was ready to accept him. It was not safe for him to go secretly … In spite of this the Islamic imaret was ready to convince Osama to leave Afghanistan but Taleban were not sure the US and other countries, who were against us, would change their position.
Killid: Thousands of people were killed in the past 10 years. Was it necessary to sacrifice so many for Osama?
AM: Imaret could not have prevented this war. Many people including me were trying to encourage the leadership to stop the war, but the leadership was sure the war was not stoppable. Afghanistan has to go on this way.
Killid: It is said the Taleban movement was established by Pakistan with the financial support of US. Relations between the two were good. What caused the break in ties?
AM: I haven’t seen evidence that US supported the Taleban Islamic movement. There was a popular impression, even with me, that Taleban would not govern; when they took over Kabul they would invite King Zahir Shah to establish a wide government in which the sacred commanders of jehad, dignitaries, and tribal elders would all participate.
Killid: Was it a decision that Zahir Shah would come?
AM: No, there was an impression because Taleban did not have political experience. The movement was created from different parties… I was with Harakat-Inquilab. Professor Rabbani sent millions to finance this movement. The media said the Taleban were angels of peace, and they should be supported.
Killid: What type of network is al Qaeda?
AM: I don’t have much information about al Qaeda. I can say that 12 or 13 jehadi parties related to different Islamic countries participated in Afghanistan Jehad. They combined under one motto, to combat corrupt rulers in Islamic world. But neither Hezb Islami nor Taleban Islamic Movement is included in the 12 or 13 parties.
Abdul Ghayor Waziri : Taleban inherited Osama