How old are you?
My name is Abdullah and I am well-known in Mardan (Ed: Pakistan). I am from the Nawa district (Ed: Helmand, Afghanistan) and I am 42 years of age.
How long have you been active with the Taliban?
Joining the Taliban came easy. We were being taught at religious school when the Taliban came to Kandahar. We joined them and remain with them.
What is your function with the Taliban?
The normal everyday life of Afghans is in cultivating different crops and selling them as a way to improve lives. I have carried out a lot of duties for the Taliban.
When the Taliban took Logar province, I became the head of the province. After that I was the head of customs in Nimroz province. I was a district governor for some time, and for a long time I was a first line commander in the military, commanding 500 Taliban. I am now the head of intelligence for the Taliban in the Nawa district in Helmand and have many spies in government, among the general population and within the Taliban in order to monitor events. All of these informants collect information, which they then give me and which I in turn share with the Taliban leadership.
How do people know that you are a Talib, you don’t carry any weapons?
Our Emirate says that those who work in the Secret Service should not bear weapons. Having weapons is a problem at the moment and we would not be able to carry out our jobs if we carry weapons.
Why did you join the Taliban?
Joining the Taliban was the obvious thing to do. Before the Taliban, the Russians were here, and before them the British. Everyone was fighting over Afghanistan. In such a situation, and given that those fighting against the Russians were being used by other parties, our Islamic faith compelled us to join the Taliban. Everyone was with the Taliban, because it brought with it an Islamic government that gave promise of improvement.
Give a short description of your life over the past 10-12 years
The American attack against Afghanistan made life difficult for Muslims and particularly Afghans. They put me in Bagram prison and did lots of cruel things to us. Many of my friends were killed in the fighting, but we were happy even with all these problems because we were doing the right thing.
For the past decade I have had a lot of problems – injuries to my head, half of one of my legs has been amputated and I have lost fingers and have pieces of shrapnel in my hands. But these are difficulties I am happy to bear, and will continue to do my duty.
What did the Americans want from you in prison?
They wanted the Taliban to be separated from al-Qaeda and to join the Afghan government. But that was impossible because they were cheating us. They were making demands that we could not agree to.
How would you describe what has happened in Afghanistan and Helmand over the past 10-12 years?
I want all Afghans to unite and not be deceived by foreigners or neighbouring countries. I see success in peace and unity. I am against the current situation as on the one side there are the Americans and British and on the other Iran and China all fostering division among Afghans.
When the Taliban regime fell, people expected their situations to improve and that they would have a good life. Unfortunately the government could not deliver, was unable to provide security and with ISAF killing more civilians with their bombs. There are a lot of cases in which ISAF bombed wedding ceremonies, masjids, buildings and other places.
Some months ago ISAF bombed a home in our area where university students were located. They killed all of the students.
All of this cruelty is being carried out by the Americans because they are in power. The Afghan government does not have the authority. This was proved to us once when following a bombardment, people went to the district governor. He said he couldn’t help them because he didn’t have the authority and people should go to the Americans and talk to them.
How has the past decade affected you and your family’s lives?
Over the past 10 years, my home has been looted by Afghan and ISAF forces 18 times. They have stolen my family’s clothes and other things, they have stolen my personal things, they carried off our deed of sale to the land. We left for Pakistan and a boring life here, sometimes in the shadow of guns, and sometime in the shadow of trees.
My father and brothers went to prison. They were beaten by soldiers who took a lot of money from my father and brothers.
What will happen when the foreign soldiers have left?
ISAF’s withdrawal will result in two things. On the one hand it will be a hard year for Afghans, but a year of success for all Muslims. But the negative side will be this; the Karzai cabinet will begin fighting among themselves and fall. There will be opposition and fighting among the tribes and in the tribal areas. They will all be fighting for support. But the Taliban always fights for its faith and Islam. The government is fighting the wrong battle as the tribes will not benefit. If they fought for Islam, the people would follow them.
Political in-fighting does not forge enough support.
You all say that the Karzai government is prepared, but faced with challenges. There are currently 48 countries alongside the Afghan forces to take care of security. But a few days ago Karzai’s own headquarters was under attack. So there are problems. Sometimes it’s the northerners and sometimes it’s the southerners attacking Kabul City. If they were strong, these attacks would not be happening.
Do you feel a need for revenge?
Islam does not allow revenge. We do not take revenge on people; we forgive everyone and will not have anything outstanding against them. We will obey only Islamic law, and we will remove the law of Afghanistan.
Will people seek revenge after the foreign soldiers left?
People will seek revenge against America, and that is their business. I do not think people will take revenge on the Afghan government.
Can you name three things in the daily life of Helmand that will change if you and the Taliban come to power?
Three things that we want to safeguard are: people, the family’s women and wealth. All these three things will remain secure.