Forum townhall meeting with Sirajuddin Haqqani
The questions are now in and I think close today for the upcoming forum ‘town hall’ meeting with Sirajuddin Haqqani. There is no indication of how long it will take him to respond to the questions posed by forum readers.
The questions make for fascinating reading as to the issues on the mind of those in the forums. Below is a pretty random list of some of the issues covered off and the questions posed. One thing that strikes me about the questions readers are asking is that these types of questions are normally posed to a Sheikh/senior figure with authority. It’s been something AQ usually only does, so I find this quite fascinating and it will be very interesting to see how Haqqani answers the questions, some of which are seeking guidance on issues outside his scope of operations/authority.
Ok, to the list of questions
- the impact of recent arrests
- the attack by Abu Dujana al Khorasani
- the difference between Pakistan Taliban and Afghanistan Taliban
- whether Haqqani or the Pakistan or Afghan Taliban support global jihad and an extension of their operations into the global realm
- his opinion on other militant groups in Iraq, Somalia, the Arabian Penisula, Kashmir, Turkestan, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria
- lots of questions about Hamas and general questions about whether the Taliban wish push beyond jihad in Afghanistan to liberate Jerusalem
- position on Iran, questions about Baluchistan
- position on Hekmatyar
- position on Pakistan
- the David Rhode escape
- the US soldier held captive and prisoner exchanges more generally as well as recent claims about exchange for Siddiqui
- his position on elections in Afghanistan after a US withdrawal
- the role of women in the Afghan jihad
- jihadist media and his exposure to it
- position on China
- position on using drug money to fund jihad
- whether the Taliban will demand reparations after US withdrawal
- whether he is getting support from groups in the Arabian Peninsula
- whether Mullah Omar has authority to approve attacks outside of Afghanistan and whether he would globalise the jihad
- his position in relation to Mullah Omar and bin Laden
- the relationship between the Taliban and al Qaeda–quite a few questions on this
- whether or not bin Laden would be put on trial by Omar if he returned to Afghanistan under new Taliban rule (clearly this reader has read Abu Walid’s work
As I said earlier, many of these types of questions are normally thrown at al Qaeda leaders, as the defacto leaders of global jihad, so I find it fascinating that Haqqani is being asked similar questions.
I wonder whether this is because they genuinely think he has this authority or because he is more accessible (especially since AQ’s As Sahaab has totally gone down the toilet courtesy of Adam Gadahn taking over the reins) and Q&A’s with al Qaeda have been few and far between. Although having said that, there was one a few months ago. These questions to Haqqani weren’t quite at the level of that Q&A in terms of explicitly seeking fatwas, but they are moving in that direction.
How he responds to these I think will be telling and will reveal how this particular wing is setting itself up, with an eye on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and what comes next. Haqqani will have to be careful because a lot of these questions fall firmly into al Qaeda’s ambit and bin Laden is not at all fond of strategic competition. Mind you with Sahaab the way it is and bin Laden’s absence from the scene and Yahya and co being unusually quiet, AQ may not be able to do much about this. Or alternatively we may see it put something out in the future that attempts to put it firmly back in the mix in relation to the issues that are being raised in this Q&A. If I were AQ I’d be seriously worried about my brand value and strategic control when my adherents are asking a group with a thus far local agenda all about my ambit of global jihad. This leads me back to Sahaab being down the toilet and AQ having a serious strategic communication problem of late.
Anyway, that’s just my off the top of my head thoughts on the matter. I wish I had time to write something more considered about this, but I’m knee deep in chapter edits. Link is below (in Arabic for those interested)