A Message to the People of the United States of America
From Ahmad Shah Massoud
Defence Minister, Islamic State of Afghanistan
Through the United States Senate
Committee on Foreign Relations
Hearing on Events in Afghanistan
October 8, 1998
In the name of God
Mr. Chairman, honorable representatives of the people of the United States of America,
I send this message to you today on behalf of the freedom and peace-loving people of Afghanistan, the Mujahedeen freedom fighters who resisted and defeated Soviet communism, the men and women who are still resisting oppression and foreign hegemony and, in the name of more than one and a half million Afghan martyrs who sacrificed their lives to uphold some of the same values and ideals shared by most Americans and Afghans alike. This is a crucial and unique moment in the history of Afghanistan and the world, a time when Afghanistan has crossed yet another threshold and is entering a new stage of struggle and resistance for its survival as a free nation and independent state.
I have spent the past 20 years, most of my youth and adult life, alongside my compatriots, at the service of the Afghan nation, fighting an uphill battle to preserve our freedom, independence, right to self-determination and dignity. Afghans fought for God and country, sometime alone, at other times with the support of the international community. Against all odds, we, meaning the free world and Afghans, halted and checkmated Soviet expansionism a decade ago. But the embattled people of my country did not savor the fruits of victory. Instead they were thrust in a whirlwind of foreign intrigue, deception, great-gamesmanship and internal strife. Our country and our noble people were brutalized, the victims of misplaced greed, hegemonic designs and ignorance. We Afghans erred too. Our shortcomings were as a result of political innocence, inexperience, vulnerability, victimization, bickering and inflated egos. But by no means does this justify what some of our so-called Cold War allies did to undermine this just victory and unleash their diabolical plans to destroy and subjugate Afghanistan.
Today, the world clearly sees and feels the results of such misguided and evil deeds. South-Central Asia is in turmoil, some countries on the brink of war. Illegal drug production, terrorist activities and planning are on the rise. Ethnic and religiously-motivated mass murders and forced displacements are taking place, and the most basic human and women’s rights are shamelessly violated. The country has gradually been occupied by fanatics, extremists, terrorists, mercenaries, drug Mafias and professional murderers. One faction, the Taliban, which by no means rightly represents Islam, Afghanistan or our centuries-old cultural heritage, has with direct foreign assistance exacerbated this explosive situation. They are unyielding and unwilling to talk or reach a compromise with any other Afghan side.
Unfortunately, this dark accomplishment could not have materialized without the direct support and involvement of influential governmental and non-governmental circles in Pakistan. Aside from receiving military logistics, fuel and arms from Pakistan, our intelligence reports indicate that more than 28,000 Pakistani citizens, including paramilitary personnel and military advisers are part of the Taliban occupation forces in various parts of Afghanistan. We currently hold more than 500 Pakistani citizens including military personnel in our POW camps. Three major concerns - namely terrorism, drugs and human rights - originate from Taliban-held areas but are instigated from Pakistan, thus forming the inter-connecting angles of an evil triangle. For many Afghans, regardless of ethnicity or religion, Afghanistan, for the second time in one decade, is once again an occupied country.
Let me correct a few fallacies that are propagated by Taliban backers and their lobbies around the world. This situation over the short and long-run, even in case of total control by the Taliban, will not be to anyone’s interest. It will not result in stability, peace and prosperity in the region. The people of Afghanistan will not accept such a repressive regime. Regional countries will never feel secure and safe. Resistance will not end in Afghanistan, but will take on a new national dimension, encompassing all Afghan ethnic and social strata.
The goal is clear. Afghans want to regain their right to self-determination through a democratic or traditional mechanism acceptable to our people. No one group, faction or individual has the right to dictate or impose its will by force or proxy on others. But first, the obstacles have to be overcome, the war has to end, just peace established and a transitional administration set up to move us toward a representative government.
We are willing to move toward this noble goal. We consider this as part of our duty to defend humanity against the scourge of intolerance, violence and fanaticism. But the international community and the democracies of the world should not waste any valuable time, and instead play their critical role to assist in any way possible the valiant people of Afghanistan overcome the obstacles that exist on the path to freedom, peace, stability and prosperity. Effective pressure should be exerted on those countries who stand against the aspirations of the people of Afghanistan. I urge you to engage in constructive and substantive discussions with our representatives and all Afghans who can and want to be part of a broad consensus for peace and freedom for Afghanistan.
With all due respect and my best wishes for the government and people of the United States,
Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Masood to Bush: Help bring peace to Afghanistan, else the U.S. and other nations will face dire consequences
Islamic world's inaction over Afghan tragedy is unfortunate
Concluded from our two previous issues: In continuation of Omaid Weekly's coverage of the early April European tour of Ahmad Shah Masood, generalissimo of Afghanistan's national resistance force, the following is a summarized translation from the original Dari-Persian text, as compiled by our senior correspondent Wais Nassery, of our transcript from the April 4 press conference, held at 11:30 a.m. in Paris.
Q: Have your talks with French officials focused on bringing pressure on Pakistan to end its interference in Afghanistan? … Can you confirm recent military aid from Iran to the United Front?
A: As I have repeated many times, a major way in which other countries and the international community can help to establish peace in Afghanistan and end the fighting and bloodshed is to bring adequate pressure on Pakistan. This has been mentioned in talks with the French Foreign Ministry, and it will also be mentioned in talks with others. It is then up to these officials to make a decision.
Concerning your second question, we have good and friendly relations with not only Iran, but also other neighboring and Central Asian countries. But recent and previous rumors of military assistance are false.
Q: What is your opinion on terrorist actions in the name of Islam in Algeria? What information do you have on the involvement of Osama bin Laden's organization in this region, and are you in contact with Algerian political forces opposing the terrorists?
A: We are against any sort of [so-called] "Islamic" terrorist actions and "non-Islamic" terrorist actions, and we consider terrorism to be against Islam and against the interests of humanity.
Of course bin Laden has groups elsewhere besides Afghanistan. We have [extensive] information about [bin Laden's group] inside Afghanistan, and to varying degrees in other regions.
There are governmental relations with political groups in Algeria, but unfortunately I have no direct personal contacts in this regard.
Q: There is a new administration in Washington, however there is still no visible sign of a distinct U.S. policy on Afghanistan. What do you expect from the new U.S. administration and what is your message to President Bush?
A: As you have said, hitherto the Americans have no clear or distinct policy. My message to Mr. Bush is that if attention is not given to bringing peace in Afghanistan, and the people of Afghanistan are not assisted on the road toward achieving peace, then verily this crisis will continue to plague not just the people of Afghanistan, but also spread to America and other countries.
Q: What is your view of the activities of Zaher Shah and the Loya Jirga initiative?
A: First, this depends on his own decision and what he decides to do in the future. In my opinion, the former King has the ability to play a major and axial role in bringing peace to Afghanistan. But it is up to him as to the extent of his activities. With regard to his future role, that is for the people to decide — it depends on the will and mandate of the people.
Q: How do you make sense of the Islamic world's silence on the un-Islamic actions of the Taliban?
A: It is regretful that Islamic countries are not taking requisite measures with regard to the tragic situation in Afghanistan.
We were hopeful that Islamic countries working through the Organization of the Islamic Conference would serve to help bring peace to Afghanistan — unfortunately, hitherto no appropriate steps have been taken.
Unfortunately, in the past, some Islamic countries, like Saudi Arabia, without considering dangerous future consequences, not only did not oppose the Taliban, but took part in creating them, gave them money, and encouraged them.
Now that the Taliban's face has been completely exposed, we are hopeful that Islamic countries will take responsibility with regard to Afghanistan, and take steps toward establishing peace in Afghanistan.
Q: Do you believe that Afghans will continue to support you if you receive aid from Russia?
A: We have very good and friendly relations with regional countries, and it is Pakistan that wants to incite the people's opinion against us through propaganda.
But from another standpoint, when there is a blatant invasion, such as Pakistan's current ongoing incursion into Afghanistan and its [Regular Army] troop presence [in Afghanistan], I give myself the right to seek assistance from anywhere in defense of my homeland, my people's honor, and my country's independence. (Passionate and intense reaction from approving audience.)
Q: You have severely chastised Pakistan...What about Saudi Arabia, the Taliban's bankrollers?
A: It is Pakistan that has a strategic plan for Afghanistan and Central Asia. It is Pakistan that seeks "strategic depth" and "Islamic depth" in Afghanistan and Central Asia. It is Pakistan that, in the past, deceived and used the Saudis and other countries to further its own goals.
Masood: Democracy and the people's vote is only way to go, we oppose extremism, terrorism, and drug trafficking
Continuing Omaid Weekly's coverage of the early April European tour of Ahmad Shah Masood, generalissimo of Afghanistan's national resistance force, the following is a summarized translation from the original Dari-Persian, as compiled by our senior correspondent Wais Nassery, of the transcription from the April 4 press conference, held at 11:30 a.m. in Paris.
(Ahmad Shah Masood) In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. I appreciate and thank all the ladies and gentlemen for coming. I am prepared to answer questions that relate to Afghanistan and the region.
Q: What organization or entity do you represent? ...
A: I have come to France as a representative of the Islamic State of Afghanistan and as a representative of the United National and Islamic Front of Afghanistan.
I represent an independent and free State with [an ancient] and continuing history in Asia. Throughout history, this State has preserved its independence, existing with its own unique culture, its own unique traditions, and its own civilization. And it shall continue to exist as an independent State, with its own unique culture, traditions, and customs.
Q: Are your forces adequate to [continue to] resist the Taliban and prevent their advancement?
A: Alhamdulillah [hallelujah or "Praise be to God"], compared to previous years, our forces are in better condition. And undoubtedly, if it were not for the Pakistani intervention, Pakistan Army soldiers, other foreign elements like Osama [bin Laden] and Pakistani taliban [fighting in Afghanistan], there would be no need for our forces. I am certain that the nation of Afghanistan itself, the people of Qandahar, and ethnic Pashtoons are themselves sufficient to defeat the Taliban.
All things considered, similar to the era of jihad against the Soviet Union, in no way will the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, along with the Pakistanis be victorious in this war in Afghanistan. And sooner or later, there will be a general [nationwide] uprising by the people of Afghanistan, culminating in the decisive and final defeat of the Pakistanis, Osama and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
I should also like to mention that the Taliban are not just in conflict with our military forces. In fact, today the Taliban have been distanced from the people, and these foreign forces along with the Taliban are in conflict with the people of Afghanistan, which is why their military victory is impossible.
Q: …What political agenda does the United Front have? That is, what type of government is desired after the inevitable fall of the Taliban? What differences do you have with the Taliban as regards women's rights…?
A: We believe that the future government should be formed by means of general elections, via the people's ballot, through the vote of both women and men. The only form of government able to ensure social justice and equality between Afghanistan's various ethnic groups is democracy and the people's vote.
Our future government and the Taliban will be incomparably different. We have always opposed and continue to oppose any kind of extremist or radical movements, even if they claim to be Islamic, and we do not believe they are good for Afghanistan, the region, or the world. As I have repeated earlier, we believe in elections with the participation of both women and men.
We fully respect human rights, we support it, we will protect it.
We prescribe against the cultivation and trafficking of illegal narcotics; we believe they are haram [forbidden by Islam], and they are detrimental to all humankind, and destructive to our own country.
As during the jihad, we fully oppose terrorism and terrorist activities. No one had ever witnessed a terrorist attack by the mujahideen, even when the Russians were in Afghanistan. Terrorism is wrong and we are against it.
We not only support women's education, women working, and women's participation in society, but we encourage it. Women can play an instrumental role in rebuilding the country after these many years of war. (Applause)
Q: What do you expect from Europe, and what is your opinion about the West's general position on Afghanistan?
A: We expect Europe to play a critical role in establishing peace in Afghanistan. In my opinion, the sacrifice of the people of Afghanistan against communism makes it obligatory for the world to help and assist the people of Afghanistan to achieve peace in their country.
Our major request is humanitarian assistance to the refugees, including helping to provide education and health care.
AFGHANISTAN: Opposition leader calls for European aid
Afghan opposition leader Ahmad Shah Masud, during his first visit to the West, appealed on Wednesday to Europe for "aid of any kind" to help end his country's rule by the hardline Taliban religious militia, AP reported.
Speaking at a news conference in Paris, Masud said foreign aid had thus far been insignificant. Using a translator, the ousted Afghan defence minister who, with other opposition leaders, controls 5 percent of the country, said his movement was pro-human rights, in contrast with the ruling Taliban. It also favoured allowing women to work, in direct conflict with the Taliban's imposition of its harsh brand of Islam, which banned women from working and education, and forced them to wear head-to-toe coverings.
Masud also called on European leaders to take action against Pakistan: "We have always said that the route to peace is for the international community to put strong pressure on Pakistan."
The veteran commander urged the the Bush administration to forge a clearer policy on Afghanistan. "My message to President Bush is the following: If he isn't interested in peace in Afghanistan, if he doesn't help the Afghan people to arrive at their objective of peace, the Americans and the rest of the world will have to face the problems."
Masud was due to travel to Strasbourg, eastern France, on Thursday at the invitation of the president of the European Parliament, Nicole Fontaine, AP reported.
AHMAD SHAH MAS’UD WARN PAKISTAN AGAINST THE AFGHANS WRATH
By Safa Haeri, IPS Editor
PARIS 4 Apr. 2001(IPS) Veteran Afghan warrior Commandant Ahmad Shah Mas’ud bluntly warned Wednesday Pakistan to get out of Afghanistan or face the same humiliation the Afghan people dealt to the British and Russian occupiers.
Speaking to a pack press conference in Paris, Mr. Mas’ud, who is in France on his first ever visit to the West, said he could check and defeat the Taleban if it were not for the "full military, logistic, financial and physical" assistance the hard-line Islamist militants receive from Pakistan.
"We ended the British colonialism and defeated the Red Army. Pakistan is not stronger. Sooner than latter, they too, will suffer the same humiliation", he assured, calling on both Europe and the United States help restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan by putting pressure on Islamabad to evacuate Afghanistan.
The Afghan leader met with Mr. Hubert Vedrine, the French socialist Foreign Minister and presidents of the National assembly and the Senate, to whom he briefed about the situation in his war-torn nation and called on them to take a bolder role in Afghanistan, particularly in stopping Pakistan’s deadly interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
According to the charismatic warrior, by destructing the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan he described as "Afghan’s most valuable cultural heritage", the Taleban tore off the mask from their ugly face. "Now that the people have seen the real visage of the Taleban, they would fight them to the end", Mr. Mas’ud told French and international journalists.
He said, without explaining though, that he expect the dominantly Pashtun population of the Kunar Province near Pakistani border up rise against the Taleban, adding that once this happens, it would be followed by similar movements in Kabul, Qandahar, where resides Taleban’s supreme leader Mollah Mohammad Omar, as well as in other major cities,.
Though the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan controls more than 90 per cent of the Afghan territory, yet it is not recognised but by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf.
Asked by Iran Press Service why he all the time accuses Pakistan but has no word about Saudi Arabia, another main supporter of the Taleban that is reported to be behind a scheme for the destruction of all Shi’a mosques and monuments, Mr. Mas’ud again lambasted the Pakistani whom, he explained, were "associating" the Saudis in their strategy for Afghanistan.
Pakistan is the only country that has a clear-cut strategy for Afghanistan, that is to transform it into its backyard, Afghan sources said.
Heading a seven-member delegation that includes some commanders as well as the Foreign Minister of the Borhaneddin Rabbani government that was ousted from power by the Taleban in September 1996, Mr. Mas’ud is due to address the European Parliament Thursday in the French city of Strasbourg, near the German border.
The invitation to the "vice-President and defence Minister" of the Islamic Government of Afghanistan to address Europe-deputies came from Mrs. Nicole Fontaine, the French Speaker of the European Parliament him after the Taleban destroyed Buddha’s statues, arousing dismay and anger among the international opinion.
Mas’ud, a former second degree student at the French College of Kabul, described as "positive" the sanctions imposed by the United Nations on the Taleban, but regretted that because of "general negligence", the Pakistanis were able to bypass and ignore it "in full violation of the UN recommendations".
He dismissed as "Pakistan’s propaganda" reported rifts and dissensions among commanders and members of the Northern Coalition, observing that the anti-Taleban opposition was formed from personalities belonging to different ethnics and branches of Islam dedicated to put an end to the dark ages imposed by the Taleban.
Asked if it was not against his interests to get arms from Russia, a country that himself fought against for more than a decade, Mr. Mas’ud said immediately that he considers as his "most natural right" to get help from any source in order to "liberate my occupied nation and free my people".
He said the future regime of Afghanistan must be decided by the Afghan people in free and fair elections with the participation of all Afghans, including women, observing that "only democracy" can preserve and guarantee social justice, peace and equality for all Afghans, regardless of their ethnic, religious or cultural backgrounds.
Rejecting all forms of terrorism under any name and ideology, Mr. Mas’ud said Mr. Osama Ben Laden, the Saudi anti-American, anti-Western millionaire crusader the American accuses of terrorist activities, is in "symbiosis" with the Taleban ideology.
According to some information, Mr. Ben Laden has formed an army of his own in Afghanistan and enjoys paramount influence over afghan senior clerics around Mr. Omar.
Mr. Ben Laden is sought by the American Justice for the twin bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
He regretted that the new US Administration had not a clear policy for Afghanistan and warned that in case Washington and other peace loving nations do nothing for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan, "they will bear the consequences".
Mr. Mas’ud says former Afghan King Mohammad Zaher Shah can play a positive role in restoring peace in Afghanistan and lauded efforts the Rome-based Monarch is deploying to this end by trying to convene a Loya Jirga, or the traditional Elders Grand Assembly. ENDS MASUD PARIS 4401
|Hintermänner in Saudi-Arabien suchen"|
|Peter Scholl-Latour (Foto: Erwin Falk)|
Herr Scholl-Latour, dieser Angriff auf die USA, dieses neue Pearl Harbor...
. . . .viel schlimmer. Pearl Harbor war eine ferne Pazifikinsel. Dieser Angriff geschah nun im Zentrum der Macht. Das World Trade Center anzugreifen ist ein Angriff gegen die Globalisierung, die im Grunde eine Amerikanisierung der Welt ist.
Eine Erniedrigung für die Supermacht?
Die Verwundbarkeit der USA wurde vor Augen geführt, alle Pläne für eine National Missile Defense erscheinen jetzt lächerlich.
Was muss da für eine Gruppe existieren, die fähig ist, perfekt synchronisiert solche Flugzeuganschläge durchzuführen?
Die Hisbollah ist bisher die einzig wirklich organisierte Gruppe innerhalb der arabischen Welt, die Israel das Fürchten gelehrt hat, aber diese Dimension hat sie nicht. Die Macht, die hinter den Terroristen steht, muss man in Saudi-Arabien suchen, nicht in der Regierung, nicht im Königshaus, sondern bei jenen reichen Saudis, die die arabische Sache in allen Fällen unterstützen.
Wollen sie sich den Himmel erkaufen?
Der Märtyrer geht ins Paradies ein, aber das ist nicht das einzige Motiv. Die Leute kaufen sich im Grunde frei von ihrer Kollaboration mit dem Westen. Osama bin Laden ist der Sohn einer der reichsten Familien Saudi-Arabiens. Die Generation der Söhne akzeptiert aber die Kollaboration mit dem prowestlichen Königshaus, mit dem Westen und die indirekte Unterstützung Israels nicht mehr.
Dann muss es zu einer Kollaboration zwischen Geld, Terror und Spitzentechnik gekommen sein.
Die Exilpalästinenser haben sehr wahrscheinlich genügend gut ausgebildete Leute. Unter den Piloten der arabischen Fluglinien waren sehr viele Palästinenser. Aber dass die Araber zu einer so koordinierten Aktion in der Lage gewesen sind, überrascht mich total.
Kann man vermuten, dass eine Art Globalisierung jetzt auch bei denen stattfindet?
Sicher. Afghanistan, wo die Taliban erst mit saudischer Hilfe an die Macht gekommen sind, ist da ein Zentrum. Die Afghanen sind auch in Tschetschenien aktiv und unterstützen dort die Bewegung. Bezeichnenderweise bezeichnet man in Algerien die Kämpfer des Islams als Afghanen.
Wie soll Amerika sich in Nahost wieder Respekt verschaffen?
Die Amerikaner müssen sich erst einmal überlegen, wo die Ziele sind. Bisher, wenn sie zugeschlagen haben, schlugen sie ja fast immer daneben. Sie haben im Sudan eine Pharmafabrik zerstört, in der mit Sicherheit keine Giftgase hergestellt wurden. Die US-Intelligence ist völlig unzureichend, trotz des ungeheuren Apparates der CIA.
Ist dieses Attentat der Bankrott der amerikanischen Auslandsgeheimdienste?
Der Bankrott von Bushs Versuch, die Welt zu regieren, ohne sich zu engagieren?
Es war ein großer Fehler, sich aus dieser Palästinafrage rauszuhalten. Man kann nicht gleichzeitig führende Weltmacht sein und Pseudo-Isolationismus betreiben.
Was bedeutet das Ganze jetzt für den Friedensprozess in Nahost?
Den können wir vorläufig vergessen.
Aber auf diese abscheuliche Art wurde erreicht, dass die Welt jetzt auf den Konflikt schaut und auf eine Lösung drängt.
Eine Lösung für Palästina gibt es nicht. Entweder unterdrückt man die Palästinenser so, dass sie im Grunde in einer Art Bantustan leben, dann ist die Sicherheit Israels einigermaßen garantiert. Oder man schafft einen unabhängigen palästinensischen Staat mit allen Attributen der Souveränität, und dann ist Israels Sicherheit bedroht.
Interview: Christoph Reuter, Alfred Welti