[Blogmaster note: The text of the following interview was released through official media channels of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban). Reprinted with permission. The background and introductory material are part of the media release.]
Mujahideen control 7 districts in Balkh province – and the main road to Shubarghan
Source: Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
January 9, 2011 14:53
[ Background ]
Balkh is amongst one of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and is considered as one of the most important provinces in the North of the country. Its capital is Mazar Sharif which is one of the country’s major cities. It is approximately 12,593 square kilometers and has a population of about 650,000 or more according to a recent survey. Balkh province has been divided into 15 districts as shown below:
1. Mazar Sharif
5. Khlam (tashqalghan)
7. Shor Tipa
Balkh is regarded as one of Afghanistan’s most historical and cultural cities and moreover it was one of the strongholds of Mujahideen in the last Jihad and is also a trench of Mujahideen in the current jihad.
A brief biography of Balkh province’s Jihadi leader
Mullah Abdul Karim (Nafiz) is the son of Abdul Jabbar and was born into a religiously devout family 26 years ago today in Sholgari district of Balkh province. He conducted his elementary studies in his home town and then furthered his religious studies in the different provinces of Afghanistan. He was also a friend of the Martyred Mullah Raz Muhammad Haidari the previous leader of this province and along with him has carried out Jihadic services in Balkh, Kandahar, Helmand and Zabul provinces and is presently the head Jihadi leader of Balkh province.
Alemrah Studio: Dear Nafiz Sahib, before everything else, can you shed some light on the current year Jihadic situation of Balkh province?
Mullah Abdul Karim: All praises are due to Allah and may His peace and blessings be on Muhammad (SAW) and his rightly guided companions.
To answer your question, I must firstly say that Alhamdulillah, this year was the year of honor, victory and help from Allah in accordance with the name of this year’s operation ‘Al-Fath’ [Operation Victory, Inteltrends: Operation Al-Fath] as declared by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. We witnessed the evident manifestation of Mujahideen victories in Balkh and the rest of the Northern provinces. I would like to mention that even though we had Mujahideen groups operating in all the districts but our sphere of influence and control was restricted to 4 districts which were Balkh, Chabolak, Chamtal and Sholgira. During this year we extended our reach and took control of other districts like Kashinda, Nahr-e-Shahi and also Keldar and other surrounding areas. We have also had great achievements in the other districts as well. The main highway between Balkh-Shubarghan which passes through Charbolak is always bearing witness to the constant ambushes of our Mujahideen which has become a major obstacle for the enemy logistical supply route. We were able to neutralize the enemy conspiracies by completely shutting down all the polling stations in 6 districts on Election Day. We also took out more than 15 enemy centers in which the enemy took on heavy losses from the resulting clashes. So overall the situation of Balkh province is very promising, all thanks are due to Allah. Groups of Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate have also been sent to all the districts where the enemy forces are facing a lot of difficulties.
Alemrah Studio: Is the presence of foreign troops in Balkh still limited to the center or have they spread out to the districts?
Mullah Abdul Karim: Like other northern provinces, the occupying forces based in Balkh are German, Norway, Bulgaria and other countries and are based in the provincial center, Mazar Sharif. The invading forces do go out to the surrounding districts for operations but have not built any outposts there.
Alemrah Studio: Kabul regime’s Ministry of Defense as well as the governor of Balkh province in the press recently claimed that their operations in Mujahideen dominated areas have yielded great results and achievements; can you provide some information regarding this issue?
Mullah Abdul Karim: It is true that the domestic and foreign troops were recently gathered from surrounding provinces to carry out operations against Mujahideen in Balkh province because the Kabul regime’s Ministry of Defense announced its intentions to carry out operations in the Northern provinces such as those being carried out in Kandahar and Helmand. Almost 5,000 international and domestic troops supported by air-power entered Chamtal and Charbolak districts but faced stiff Mujahideen resistance from the very first day. Their tanks were blown apart in bombings and their foot patrols were also relentlessly ambushed. The enemy only had presence in Charbolak’s Darzankar, Timorak and Khanabad areas and in Chamtal’s Tarako and Hotako villages before fleeing from all the areas due to the deadly casualties and damages caused by the ferocity of Mujahideen attacks. All praises are due to Allah, Mujahideen did not have any significant losses but the enemy took on heavy losses compared to any other time and fled, disgraced and humiliated.
Alemrah Studio: How much of the region do the Mujahideen control in Balkh?
Mullah Abdul Karim: As I pointed out earlier, Mujahideen have complete control of 7 districts but not the district centers and the enemy only controls those areas which are in close proximity to Mazar Sharif however Mujahideen are active in those areas too. The enemy forces are facing a tough time as Balkh-Shubarghan main highway, the main supply route of the enemy runs through Mujahideen controlled regions where they constantly ambush the enemy logistical convoys.
Alemrah Studio: One of the new programs of the enemy is that of creating Arbaki (militia) forces in the Northern provinces. Has this development taken place in Balkh and what has been its result?
Mullah Abdul Karim: The only district in Balkh province where an effort was made by the enemy to create militia force was Charbolak, were its Muslim population vehemently rejected this proposal with a united voice and said that they had experienced these militias before and are not ready to repeat the same mistake. With this disappointment, the enemy armed 2 previous gunmen commanders (one from Masood’s and another from Dustam’s party) along with some former thieves and robbers in Charbolak district where they have set up a few check posts but have so far not been able to harm any Mujahideen. This failed program has only been tried in Charbolak district which has resulted in hatred for the government by the local population because of the re-armament of previous criminals who recently, as per their previous behavior stole the valuables from homes which were located near their check posts during searches.
Alemrah Studio: How much support and cooperation do the Mujahideen have from the people of Balkh province?
Mullah Abdul Karim: The Mujahid people of Balkh, just as they had previously, are standing shoulder to shoulder and are fully cooperating with the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate. Despite the repeated efforts by the enemy to sow seeds of division and create local militias to strain the relationship between Mujahideen and the local populace but due to the nation’s understanding the nature and plans of the enemy through the years seem to have foiled these plans. The reason that Mujahideen are mobile and carry operations through the different districts of Balkh province is directly the result of the support of the people and we thank Allah Almighty for this situation.
Alemrah Studio: How would you describe your relationship with the other Jihad areas in the Northern provinces?
Mullah Abdul Karim: We are always in contact with our neighboring Juzjan province. Faizabad district is one of the districts in Juzjan which has a border with Balkh province and is in complete control of Mujahideen and so we lend each other a helping hand during rough times. All praises are due to Allah, Mujahideen in the Northern provinces are also in direct contact with each other like the rest of the country. Balkh, Juzjan, Faryab and Sar-e-Pul have regions which are in full Mujahideen control and they regularly carry out joint operations. There are vast regions under Mujahideen control from Balkh’s Sholgari and Charbolk to Juzjan’s Faizabad, Shortipa, Darzab and Faryab’s Dawlatabad and Sar-e-Puls Sayad districts are linked to each other. So due to this blessing, Mujahideen are able to coordinate and plan their operations with assurance and take advice from experiences of each other.
Alemrah Studio: The enemy is constantly making efforts and is spreading rumors that it will oust Mujahideen from Northern districts. What do you believe regarding this?
Mullah Abdul Karim: We have believed in Allah Almighty and started the Jihad here only by trusting in His power. In the beginning there were only a handful of Mujahideen carrying out guerilla style attacks in Balkh but never did we lose faith in Allah’s support and we have witnessed His help arrive in the past couple of years and are witnessing it now. We still repeat ourselves; that if we stay true to our covenant with Allah (Islam and Jihad) than no power in this world can defeat us. I think that this propaganda is the enemy’s last ditch effort so to raise the morale of its hired soldiers and give them false hopes. The Jihadic activities in the North have reached a point where no military operation can dismantle or eliminate it. The nation has now decided to help the Mujahideen and their stance will not be changed by any military operation.
Alemrah Studio: A few days earlier the German Chancellor (Angela Merkel) visited her troops in the North and told them that they were involved in a legitimate fight and were not occupiers like Nazi Germany and added that the people wanted them here. What do you have to say regarding this as an Islamic Emirate Jihadi leader of one of the Northern provinces?
Mullah Abdul Karim: I must say that these are false allegations by which the western leaders want to deceive their people. How are they not occupiers? By what treaty did they enter the North of Afghanistan? They might not call themselves occupiers but every Afghan attacks and kills them for this very reason. They are the helpers of America. Historically, Germany has always had a good relationship with Afghanistan and should work hard to not lose this trust. I think Germany has made a big mistake by helping the Americans in this illegal invasion and should withdraw their troops as soon as possible or they will have to bear the brunt of our strikes.
Alemrah Studio: To end, what message do you have?
Mullah Abdul Karim: To end I want to thank the Cultural commission of the Islamic Emirate who are reporting on the Jihadic activities of the Mujahideen and sending the good news of Mujahideen victories to our beloved countrymen and may Allah reward them for their sacrifices and bless their efforts. I want to thank them once again for reaching out to the Mujahideen of Balkh province and helping us to reach out to our beloved countrymen and the world.
Alemrah Studio: And thank you also.
IntelTrends republishes selected resistance statements so that readers can access different perspectives on current affairs, political and military issues.
The following commentary is reprinted with permission from Pravda, Moscow.
America conducts subversive activities in friendly territories
By Sergei Balmasov and Vadim Trukhachev
November 13, 2010
The United States found itself embroiled in a major spy scandal. As many as five countries caught the Americans illegally spying on their citizens.
Nobody would think it was strange if we were talking about the citizens of Russia, China, Iran, Syria and Venezuela. With these five countries, everything is clear: U.S. officials constantly refer to them as those presenting threats to the national security. But this time the U.S. was caught by quite friendly countries of Northern Europe – Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden.
The scandal erupted earlier this month. On November 3, Norwegian television channel TV2 released a report which stated that over ten years, a group of Americans have been doing surveillance on 15 to 20 Norwegian subjects – mostly participants of various kinds of rallies. Potential terrorists and other undesirable persons were photographed, and the information was sent to Washington.
The report stated that the purpose of the surveillance was supposedly to prevent terrorist attacks against U.S. embassies. Nordic Governments were not informed of such actions.
The spokesman of the U.S. State Department, Philip Crowley, on November 11 said that the Norwegian authorities have been notified about a covert operation. “We are implementing the program throughout the world and are vigilant against people who can keep track of our embassies, as we understand that our diplomatic missions are a potential target,” he explained.
However, the Scandinavians were not satisfied with this comment. A representative of the American embassy was called to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry for an explanation, but no clear answers were provided. It turns out that the surveillance was conducted without the knowledge of the Norwegian authorities.
If it was limited to Norway, this episode could have been considered an isolated case. Yet, after the Norwegians, Denmark spoke about the surveillance of its citizens. Local newspaper Politiken wrote that all American embassies have groups of employees leading external surveillance of suspicious persons in order to address threats to the U.S. security. It has been suggested that Denmark was hardly an exception.
Former head of the Danish security service PET Jorgen Bonniksen said that he had never heard of such groups: “If this is true, then we have to deal with illegal intelligence operations in Denmark. On Danish territory such operations can be conducted by PET, and PET only,” he stressed.
The current head of PET, Jakob Scharf, made it clear: if illegal activity is determined, “of course, we will take action.” Justice Minister of Denmark Lars Barfoeda has been summoned for an explanation to the Folketing (parliament). The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, as well as in Oslo, provided no clear comments.
Followed by Norwegians and Danes, Swedes brought up the illegal activities of American agents. According to the Minister of Justice of Sweden Beatrice Ask, people connected with the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm have been spying on people on the Swedish territory since 2000. The Minister stated that it “is not yet known whether in this case Swedish law was violated.” She did not rule out that the objects of the surveillance actually might have been people who pose a threat to the U.S. security.
On his part, head of the local security police Anders Danielsson directly accused the U.S. of violating international norms. He said that the U.S. did not bother to inform the Swedish authorities of their intentions. “The Swedish security police (SÄPO) did not give the U.S. a permission to engage in activities that are contrary to Swedish law,” he said.
Representatives of the U.S. embassy were quick to say that “they have nothing to hide” and that they have notified the Swedish authorities about their actions. However, Sweden is the third country which had been “made aware.” Could the Scandinavian countries have entered into a conspiracy to defame the United States?
When we talk about three countries at once, it looks like a trend. Following its neighbors, Finland grew concerned as well. Local security police SUPO originally said it had not found anything illegal in the activities of the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki. However, they immediately proceeded to a more detailed verification. Apparently, the Finns also did not believe the assurances of the Americans.
Only the small Iceland with the population of 320 thousand with no army is lacking to complete the picture. On November 11 it was revealed that the islanders also have questions for the U.S. Local authorities immediately declared that they suspected members of the American Embassy in Reykjavik in espionage. The diplomatic mission is being verified.
This is a stunning picture. The U.S. did not even consider it necessary to inform its allies of its actions on their territory, as if they were colonies. In fact, Denmark, Iceland and Norway joined NATO and, consequently, they entered the circle of the closest allies of the U.S. Finland and Sweden are not members of the North Atlantic alliance, but are working with it very closely. That’s how Americans value their allies.
However, Washington seems to have confused Scandinavians with Poland, Lithuania and Romania. These countries have repeatedly been suspected of placing secret CIA prisons on their territories. The authorities of these states have been blindly following in the footsteps of American politics in the past two decades. This is not true about rich countries of Northern Europe. Given the national pride of the Scandinavians, they are unlikely to forgive the Americans the dismissive attitude.
Denmark is the only country that followed the U.S. without asking questions. Sweden and Finland harshly condemned the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Norway was among the first to withdraw its troops from Iraq, as well as (unlike Americans) has signed an agreement with Russia on the delimitation of the Arctic shelf. Even little Iceland allowed itself to contradict the States when it refused to extradite the late chess player Robert Fisher, who was facing a jail term at home.
The explanation of the incident with the need to combat terrorism, of course, can be taken into account. Radical Islamists are making themselves visible in Denmark and Sweden, as well as Norway and Finland. Yet, the United States could have informed the local security forces of their suspicions as these countries also have qualified staff. And as for surveillance of Icelanders – it is simply ridiculous. They have fewer than a hundred of Muslims, let alone Islamists.
The author of numerous books on the work of intelligence Alexander Kolpakidi commented on the behavior of the U.S. agents in the Nordic countries for Pravda.ru.
“There is nothing surprising here. U.S. intelligence services have always behaved that way around the globe. Virtually all countries of the world, including the members of European Union and NATO, have secret CIA tracking stations. This is not the first scandal of this kind. For example, several years ago, the Greek police found one of these stations having mistaken it for a terrorist base. When the attack began, “terrorists” opened a furious fire, killing a police officer.
Why is America conducting subversive activities in foreign territories, including, apparently friendly countries? This is because in an era of the global crisis, the U.S. changed its strategy. If before it had adhered to the concept of the “golden billion” according to which the good life was allowed to a limited group of countries, mainly Western countries, but now it has changed the strategy to the “golden million,” which implies that the good life is the exclusive privilege of the U.S. “.
The following analysis is by RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Fedyashin. Reprinted with permission from RIA Novosti, Moscow.
Scuffling for Arctic boundaries
© RIA Novosti
By Andrei Fedyashin
July 30, 2010
On July 28, the Akademik Fyodorov research vessel sailed out from Arkhangelsk and is heading to the Arctic on a 100-day expedition aiming to demarcate the Russian continental shelf.
On August 3, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, a research icebreaker, and the icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent, the flagship of the Canadian Coast Guard, will also chart a course for the same region with the same objectives.
With all these expeditions, the demarcation of Arctic boundaries is getting underway in earnest.
In August 2007, the Akademik Fyodorov, kitted out with the latest sounding and seismic-reconnaissance equipment, sailed to the North Pole with two deep-sea mini-submarines (Mir-1 and Mir-2) on board. The submarines descended to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean where they dropped a metal capsule containing a Russian flag.
Moscow said the underwater Lomonosov Ridge, which extends through the North Polar Region, was actually a geological extension of Russia’s Siberian continental plate, thus allowing Russia to lay claim to the region under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The United States and Canada, which are Russia’s Arctic neighbors, were more annoyed than scared, by such statements all of which need to be backed up by underwater drilling, seismic reconnaissance, geophysical data and precise measurements.
The Akademik Fyodorov will accomplish all these objectives. This, and subsequent expeditions, are aimed at collecting data so an official Russian claim to the Arctic shelf can be filed with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in 2013. A similar Russian claim, submitted in 2001, was turned down as lacking scientific substantiation. Apart from Russia, Norway is the only Arctic country to file a similar claim, which it did in 2006.
The current expedition comprises experts from the National Research Institute of Oceanography, the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), the Research Institute of Navigation and Hydrography, the Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. It is escorted by the nuclear-powered icebreaker Yamal. The project is quite serious. If Russian arguments prove correct, then Moscow would establish control over a 1.2 million square kilometer sector, and would also receive exclusive rights to develop the colossal hydrocarbon deposits in the Chukchi Peninsula – Murmansk – North Pole triangle. This is worth struggling for.
It should be noted that all the Arctic countries became quite excited about the prospect of dividing up the Snow Queen’s Territory, after they learned it contains huge hydrocarbon and other deposits. The United States Geological Survey, an agency of the U.S. Department of Interior, estimates that the Arctic shelf may contain over 25% of undiscovered global oil and gas deposits. Their volumes may even dwarf those of the already explored Saudi Arabian hydrocarbon deposits, making them seem like a barrel of kvass (Russian bread drink) next to an Olympic swimming pool.
But all these oil and gas deposits still have to be located and exploited. This is a very expensive undertaking. Still we should consider the fact that the Arctic is getting warmer and melting faster than any other region of the world. Given this trend, the Northwest Passage, the shortest route linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the Canadian Arctic, could be opened for all-year-round navigation in the next ten to 15 years, or maybe even earlier. This would halve the distance between Europe and Japan. This seems quite a realistic prospect, all the more so if we consider the ambient air temperatures. It is therefore not surprising that the world has become fascinated with geographical explorations, and that our Arctic neighbors, and other countries, are rushing to demarcate their territories.
It is surprising how many countries are lining up in front of the Arctic gateway. No one will have the guts to prevent China, openly striving to enter the region, from accessing the freezing Polar region’s riches. No other scenario seems possible at a time when the division of colossal Arctic resources is being gradually prioritized. Sea routes in northern Canada and Russia are now open for navigation longer than usual due to global warming. All-year-round navigation along these routes would reduce the distance between China and Germany, China and the U.S. East Coast by 6,000-7,000 km in either direction.
Beijing has already realized this, and is preparing to operate in an ice-free Arctic by starting to convert its scientific Arctic programs into applied research. China’s Xue Long (Snow Dragon) icebreaker, the largest conventional icebreaker in the world, already sails to the Arctic. Built in Ukraine in 1993, it is the first Chinese ship in this class and has now been completely overhauled.
China lacks any legal grounds for claiming the right to own parts of the Arctic continental shelf, but would like to see littoral states improve the relevant legal framework, stipulate clear and understandable navigation rules and demarcate regional boundaries, oil and gas fields, and so on. This would allow the world’s largest economy to invest lavishly in regional projects and conduct export-import operations.
Russia, Canada, the United States, Denmark and Norway have always prioritized ownership of Arctic Ocean territories and will now be expected to present their official claims. But this will prove more difficult than discovering the North Pole in the first place, because their concepts of Arctic-demarcation are as different from each other as the tip of the iceberg is from its real dimensions.
Canada has always proposed the sectoral principle, with Russia supporting this concept until 2001. Ottawa believes that regional borders should pass from the most northerly national territories along meridians all the way to the North Pole. In that case, the Arctic would be divided like the top of a watermelon. Russia would receive the largest chunk measuring about 5.8 square kilometers and would be followed by Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway and the United States.
However, this principle does not suit Washington which has so far failed to ratify the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and which ignores its restrictions.
The United States is demanding the right to control territories stretching 600 nautical miles from Alaska to the North Pole and proposes retaining a three million sq. km. “no man’s land” on the top of the world where everyone would be able to catch fish and extract mineral resources.
Denmark probably voices the most unusual claim to the Arctic region. Copenhagen would like to demarcate local borders in accordance with equidistant lines from claimant-country coasts. As Greenland is located closer to the North Pole than any other regional territory, Denmark would be able to control the top of the world, as well as a sector almost as large as the Canadian Arctic.
Andrei Fedyashin is a political commentator for RIA Novosti. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.