English trans – Abu Walid’s fifth reponse
A continuation of the dialogue with the Australian researcher “Leah Farrall” 5
“Juma Bai” the Commander in Chief of the Volunteers in Afghanistan
“Khalden” and “Derunta” were two separate camps
By Mustafa Hamid
Mrs. Leah Farrall
We return now to your questions and we begin with the easiest.
About your question if I was (Abu Walid al Masri) or (Abu Walid al Ansari), the one who introduced Abu Musab al Zarqawi to Abu Mohammed al Maqdisi in Peshawar in 1993. I say that it is not me in this story.
I was known to my friends as Abu Walid al Masri, in fact that nickname (Abu Walid) was used by several persons of different nationalities. As for Abu Walid al Ansari he is another person I heard about a few times, but we never met. This is also the case with Abu Mohammed al Maqdisi who I did not meet, although I heard about him repeatedly.
You asked about what was written by “Saif al Adel” on Abu Musab al Zarqawi. And whether he was financed by a brother from the Hijaz, and not Bin Laden or al Qaeda. And members of al Qaeda helped him in establishing his camp.
This is also a story not known to me. Despite that, my relationship with al Zarqawi was very good but it was not deep. By this I mean that it did not include a common interest or joint work. At the end of the first war and before the fall of the communist regime, al Zarqawi was in the group of my friend Abu Harith al Ordani.
Al Zarqawi had a quiet personality and was loved by all. I saw him several times in that period when I was immersed in work in the same area to the east of Abu Harith’s sites. When al Zarqawi returned to Afghanistan after his release in Jordan, Afghanistan had become the “Islamic emirate”, and he visited me in my house in Kabul with a group of old friends. But I did not follow up his activity in Afghanistan after this. After that I met him one last time in Herat and learned that he had a mudafah (*guesthouse) there that housed a number of youths from Jordan. But I was always careful not to question the work of others, particularly those who were working away from the general movement of the Arabs.
You asked about two people they are “Attiyatallah” who you think to be a Saudi. And another called “Attiyah Abd al-Rahman” who you think was a Libyan fighter. Then you asked if they were the same person or not.
In fact I have not heard about the two men before and consequently can not confirm or deny anything related to them.
We now turn to things that I know:
In 2001 Mullah Omar put all foreign volunteers under the command of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and appointed “Juma Bai” as military commander. And this remained the same until the end of the war, when “Juma Bai” died in its infancy.
That happened in the North of Afghanistan and under his command was a large number of Arab volunteers although their precise number is unknown. Since most of the Arabs who flocked to Afghanistan after the events of September 11 headed directly to Northern Afghanistan through Taliban leaders in Kabul. None of them joined al-Qaeda and they did not even see bin Laden, who was then preparing himself and those around him from al Qaeda for a battle in the mountains of “Tora Bora” in Jalalabad, despite the objections of most of the senior commanders of the Arabs and Afghans about the idea of the battle from the beginning.
The Arabs lost most of their martyrs in that war in the North, since they surrendered / after hard negotiations and binding guarantees /to the forces of North and the Uzbek commander Dostum. The one who betrayed the Arab and Afghan prisoners and killed most of them in several massacres. One inside the containers. And the second in the famous fortress Jangi (*Qala i Jangi) in which the American airforce and soldiers from the American special forces participated. And the third in the Samangan desert by American forces accompanied by Dostum’s militia, who buried the victims in secret mass graves. So in those massacres between ten to thirteen thousand Arabs and Taliban were killed, or almost four times as many who were killed in the buildings on September 11.
We return to Mullah Omar’s decision to appoint “Juma Bai ” as Commander in Chief of the foreign volunteers and we say that it was considered a serious blow to al Qaeda that was received by many of its leaders with severe resentment, unlike bin Laden, who met it with a sporting spirit. He ordered all of al Qaeda’s capabilities be put towards the defense line at Kabul under the disposal of the new leader. He refused a suggestion from angry cadres to withdraw Qaeda’s equipment from the defense lines as a means of retaliation. “Juma Bai” responded with an intelligent initiative by appointing a smart commander of al Qaeda as his deputy. He was an excellent young Iraqi man. He also took the initiative of sending five al Qaeda cadres to Northern Afghanistan to help “Juma Bai” organize the new Arabs. Anyway everyone there was killed.
Perhaps it is useful to note here that the fighting in defense of Kandahar was waged under the leadership of Al Qaeda from within their ranks (and it was Saif al-Adel who led there after the martyrdom of Abu Hafs al Masri before the start of the Battle of Kandahar). A hundred Arabs were martyred in that battle. In general, there was no other volunteer force that had weight other than the Arabs. Of course the main defence force was Taliban. In order to preserve the lives of civilians they did not go through a desperate war and withdrew from the city to re-arrange their ranks. The desire of the Arabs was to fight until the last breath, but they could not because of the Taliban, who took the right decision. It was not practically possible for the Uzbeks to assume leadership of the Kandahar battle, they had all left the city some time ago.
We return to the opinion that all Arab volunteers were under the leadership of bin Laden, which was said by Mr. / Vahid Mujdeh (and maybe the name might have been Mujaddidi, and it is a famous religious family in Afghanistan). (NB* This was an additional question I asked Abu Walid)
He “Mujdeh” might have written that to bring the revenge of the west on these Arabs as / all / members of an “international terrorist organization”. And this exaggerated point of view was adopted by the west at the beginning of your war against “Islamic terrorism”. And it is a crusader push that has now lost much of its momentum.
I think that Mr. “Mujdeh” does not know what happened in detail, or he expresses a retaliatory viewpoint.
You have a question about two people, Abu Zubaydah (a Jordanian / Palestinian), and Ibn Sheikh (a Libyan), and whether they were from al Qaeda.
And the two camps (Khalden) and (Duronta), and whether the two camps were independent.
Of course I know Ibn Sheikh al Libi and Abu Zubaydah and considered them among my friends even though we did not have work in common.
Both before and during the events of September they were not in al Qaeda. I do not know what their situation was after the incident. Because many of those who were neutral or even opposed to bin Laden went and gave bayah (*oath of allegiance) , driven by the enthusiasm of the success of the September operation.
I know part of the story of camp (Khalden) and I visited it once or twice. It did not belong to al Qaeda. But it was somehow competition to it.
The camp was established by the Services Office established by Abdullah Azzam. And the Services Office after the death of its founder was a competitor to bin Laden and al Qaeda, and more linked to “Abdul Rasul Sayyaf,” while “bin Laden” was closer to “Hekmatyar,” from who he rented the land upon which he built a series of camps in Khost (Jihad Wal, al Siddiq and al-Faruq).
I do not know much about the camp “Derunta.” But information I heard which I think is accurate is that the Egyptian Chemical Engineer “Abu Khabab” was the pillar of that camp and he taught explosives preparation chemistry.
I did not visit that camp and am not aware of its precise location. It was generally located north-west of Jalalabad on the side of the road which connected it to the capital Kabul. In spite of this, some reports say that I was working as a trainer on explosives material in that camp. That is definitely not true. I was not one day a trainer in explosives or other things. I am not a trainer, and all that I offered sometimes was lectures in guerrilla war. They were few anyway.
And I once managed the al-Farouq camp in Khost. This experience I consider one of the most wonderful in the operation of Arab training in Afghanistan. Especially when a single session involved trainees from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Chechnya. Morale was at the peak. It was not just between the trainers and the trainees from the Arabs and Afghans but also between the people of Khost who felt that their city (which was liberated in the only major military campaign waged by the Mujahideen, led by the wonderful Haqqani), could record a new glory because the Muslims from beyond the river and the Caucasus came to train with the people from the Afghans and Arabs who contributed to the liberation of the city.
As for the relationship between the two camps, “Khalden” and “Derunta” I don’t know it precisely. Though workers in the camp of “Khalden” left it and settled in the camp of “Derunta” because the Pakistani troops advanced into Afghan land and occupied some sites overlooking the camp and threatened those in it. The Taliban forces clashed with the Pakistanis for a while, until the tribes mediated the situation. The result was that the Arabs left “Khalden” to avoid being involved in such problems. For this reason perhaps they say the two camps were a single camp. I think that this statement is inaccurate.
Generally we were considering that “Khalden” had turned into a special camp to train the Islamic Fighting Group in Algeria. Although it also trained the Islamic group in East Turkistan (China). The camp was distinguished by a Salafi manhaj that was the most stringent of all Arabs. The Derunta camp shared the same Shariah method. And maybe because of that they were considered as one thing. Especially since “Abu Khabab al-Masri” had been giving training courses in “Khalden” before turning to “Derunta.”
This until our future meeting about Hekmatyrar, and Haqqani, and talk about moderates in the Taliban movement, and the opportunities for establishing a multilateral government after the American withdrawal.
By Mustafa Hamid