Assassination attempt on Osama ben Laden foiled in Afghanistan

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Zia Sarhadi

Dhu al-Hijjah 23, 1417 1997-05-01


by Zia Sarhadi (World, Crescent International Vol. 26, No. 5, Dhu al-Hijjah, 1417)

Following last month’s attempt on the life of Osama bin Laden, the famed Arabian mujahid residing in the mountains of Afghanistan, he moved with his family to Qandahar on April 4. According to informed sources in Peshawar, the provincial capital of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), a heavy contingent of Pakistani commandos was involved in the operation.

The commandos were intercepted by the Taliban before they could reach Osama’s camp. When confronted and disarmed by the Taliban, the Pakistani soldiers said that they were in Afghanistan to carry out anti-narcotics operations. While it is true that anti-narcotic operations are carried out at the behest of the US, the Crescent International has learned from well-informed sources that the commandos’ real target was indeed Osama.

The attempt on Osama’s life was preceded by a Pakistani commando attack on a village near Peshawar where a number of Arab mujahideen reside. In the March 26 raid that lasted more than 32 hours, at least six mujahideen were killed. The house where they were staying was destroyed with heavy machinegun fire and set ablaze, destroying it completely and burning to death many of its occupants.

Since the defeat and expulsion of the Red Army from Afghanistan, the Arab mujahideen who had participated in the struggle, have been specifically targeted. This is also at the instructions of the Americans who have made no secret of tracking and eliminating these mujahideen.

One of the unpleasant consequences insofar as the US and its client regimes in the Arab world are concerned of the defeat of the Red Army has been the emergence of a large number of Arab youths trained in guerrilla warfare. These Islamically-committed young men were allowed to go to Afghanistan in the hope that they would be killed there. The Arab rulers had not imagined even in their wildest dreams that the Russians would be defeated or that any of the Arab youths would come out alive.

The Arab rulers and their intelligence agencies had cynically used these young men in order to score points in their propaganda campaign. They told other Muslims, especially the ‘Islamic’ Political Parties, that the Arab regimes are, after all, not all that bad. These parties were also looking for a fig leaf to present to their followers that given all their faults, the Arab regimes were still committed to jihad.

This blatant fraud, perpetrated by such regimes as those in the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Algeria and other parts of the Middle East, was exposed once the Russians fled Afghanistan. These regimes panicked. If the battle-hardened young men returned home and saw the rampant corruption and debauchery, they would surely ignite an uprising against them. The consequences could be catastrophic.

The American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had also realised this. In fact, the CIA had been active in the NWFP and Afghanistan long before the Russians invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. Ten months earlier, the American ambassador, Adolf Dubbs, was killed in a hostage operation in Kabul. The Americans closed their embassy in Kabul and moved out in February 1979 but they did not go very far. Their entire operation was moved to Peshawar, a hundred-odd mile to the east of the Afghan capital.

When the Russians invaded Afghanistan, the CIA invaded Peshawar, and in a big way. In fact a popular joke doing the rounds in Peshawar cafes at the time was, who has a larger army: the Russians in Afghanistan or the Americans in Pakistan? Many CIA operatives disguised themselves as aid workers. Others took on the garb of teachers, journalists and doctors or simply advisors to the various mujahideen factions. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), actively collaborated in this scheme since US arms were being shipped to the mujahideen through them.

Throughout these years, the CIA was involved in several clandestine operations. One of its most important functions in Peshawar and Afghanistan was to draw up a list of Muslim activists, especially from the Arab world. Once the war was over, these Muslims became the new enemy. Successive Pakistani governments, always eager to please Uncle Sam, also went to work targeting the Arab mujahideen, some of whom had married Pakistani girls and acquired Pakistani citizenship.

The Arab regimes also started to exert pressure on Islamabad demanding strong action. A number of agreements were signed with Egypt and others whereby the Arab mujahideen were targeted and either eliminated or arrested in Pakistan and handed over to their respective regimes. The Arab rulers are not exactly renowned for compassion or mercy. They are ruthless. Many young men simply disappeared in the dungeons of their capitals.

Those who have managed to escape the dragnet of the Pakistani security and intelligence agencies are still being targeted. Osama bin Laden is one of them. Ironically, the Taliban are the creation of Pakistan and the US but on the question of Osama, the Taliban have stood their ground. This is to their credit.

Osama has made no secret of his opposition to the Saudi regime or the presence of the American forces in the Arabian Peninsula. He has declared that he wishes to see the Americans driven out of the kingdom. He describes the Americans as an occupation army.

Officially the Saudi regime has admitted to the presence of 5,000 American soldiers in the Arabian Peninsula. The actual figure runs into tens of thousands spread all over the kingdom, including many in the vicinity of the holy cities of Makkah and Medina.

Most Muslims consider the presence of US forces in the Arabian Peninsula as a violation of the sanctity of the holy land. The Prophet had expressly forbidden non-Muslims to set foot there. This was also adhered to during the time of the Caliphate. Only when the House of Saud occupied the Arabian Peninsula has this injunction been flagrantly violated.

Naturally, it has aroused strong revulsion among committed Muslims worldwide towards the House of Saud. They would like to see the end of this corrupt family rule in the sacred land of Islam.

The Pakistani commando operation against Osama has caused anger even in some unexpected quarters in the country. A contingent of Pakistani ulama, not normally given to involvement in political activities directly, made a special trip to Jalalabad and met Osama before he moved to Qandahar. In this meeting, it was agreed that the Arabian Peninsula must be liberated from the clutches of the Saudi family and its American/Zionist patrons.

Muslimedia - May 1-15, 1997

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