No love among al Qaeda-Taliban
Two things of interest on this topic today. First, the linked article at the end of this post citing Omar bin Laden’s argument that the Al Qaeda Taliban relationship is not all that it seems. Nothing new in this really, but it is fascinating how those in the know in that milieu have consistently said this. We in the West seem to have an issue with cognitive dissonance when it comes to the nature of the al Qaeda Taliban relationship. This brings me to the second article of interest, which is well worth reading:
Vahid Brown’s piece in the new CTC Sentinel. It is an article on the relationship between Mullah Omar and bin Laden and how bin Laden never really gave an oath to Omar, which is drawn from an account in Abu Walid’s most recent book entitled Sleepwalkers. Link to Vahid’s article is here.
It’s something I have kicked and screamed about for some time as those of you who have read my older material would well know.
Sleepwalkers contains the original kidnapping guidance to the Taliban as well as this account of the history of Omar and bin Laden’s relationship, both of which I have written about in several op-eds and on the blog. As an aside it also contains a rather scathing letter to the head of AQ in Afghanistan after his interview with al Jazeera in July of last year–at least I think it was al Jazeera. Memory is a bit fuzzy on the details.
Vahid has focused on the account of Mullah Omar and bin Laden’s relationship provided by Abu Walid in this book, and also in his article The Old and New in the Taliban-al Qaeda relationship. The latter, which is posted on Abu Walid’s blog and also here in translated form, is an article Abu Walid wrote to me in response to an op-ed piece I wrote on al Qaeda’s Afghanistan strategy, which I sent to him for comment.
Vahid’s piece is considered and well worth a read. I”m glad to see these issues are getting wide coverage and academic attention because too often we tend to ignore the very real cleavages within and between these groups– a point Vahid makes very well in this piece.