While reading this interview, one should bear in mind that the TTP has been under attack from the Pakistani military in recent years and has been weakened considerably, while the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA, or the Afghan Taliban) is backed by the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The interview appears to have been given sometime before May 31, 2018, when Pakistan merged the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Rather than conducting the interview face to face, Al-Haqiqa sent questions to Adnan Rasheed, who answered most of them. In the beginning of the interview, Rasheed says: “I am glad to have the opportunity to answer the questions asked by the readers of Al-Haqiqa magazine around the world. First of all, I want to make it clear to all brothers and sisters who have sent these questions that my answers are my personal view and context. My answers may not be considered as a policy or official statement of any jihadi group or faction including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. I have tried to answer most of the questions, but some I declined to answer.”
“Although The [Anti-British] Freedom Movements Were Started Earlier, That Were Raised By The British Raj Itself To Line Up The People Of India Into The Chain Of Democracy”
Question: “How much is the Pakistani government influenced by foreign (Western) countries?”
Adnan Rasheed: “To understand what Pakistan is, we must go into its history then we can conclude the influence of foreign nations on the country. In 1947, British-ruled united India was partitioned and two new nation-states, India and Pakistan, were founded by the British House of Commons. The nation-state strategy had worked successfully after the fall of the Ottoman Islamic empire, dividing one Muslim Ummah into dozens of small countries under the flag of [territory-based] nationalism. India was ruled by Muslim conquerors for more than 800 years such as Islamic Spain. In 1858 [i.e., after the Indian Rebellion of 1857] India went into British hands from Muslims. The British Empire exploited Indian manpower, its economy and all natural resources for its imperialistic goals in the two world wars.
“After the second world war, the British Raj decided to quit India and leave the exhausted and bankrupt country to its people, although the [anti-British] freedom movements were started earlier, but that were raised by the British Raj itself to line up the people of India into the chain of democracy, to change the attitude of freedom fighters from warrior to political activist, from armed struggle to peaceful democratic protests on the roads. The British knew that they would quit India eventually, but they did not want to give it back to Muslims, so they did the same as they had done with the Ottoman Islamic empire. They divided India and placed their puppets as the rulers of the Muslim lands.
“From 1947 until now Pakistan is in the hands of Western powers. They have their puppets whom they inflict on us, these puppet rulers seek the pleasure of Western powers, the Pakistani nation is a Muslim nation, most of the nation wants Islam as their commercial, legal, and political system, but rulers are full of lies and deceit.”
“Since The Jihad Has Started Around The World In This Century, Nowhere Was It Started As Offensive But Defensive Which Is Tantamount To The Jihadi Hukam Nafeer-e-Aam Or [Order For] Mass Mobilization”
Question: “Do you try to maintain coordination with different fronts globally and do you think mujahideen should be globally united under one emir now?”
Adnan Rasheed: “I want to answer the second part of the question first. Of course, no doubt this is the desire of every faithful to see all the mujahideen under one and one banner. Is this the right time for it now? For this, we have to understand the prevailing circumstances around the mujahideen. Since the jihad has started around the world in this century, nowhere was it started as offensive but defensive, which is tantamount to the jihadi Hukam Nafeer-e-Aam or [the order for] mass mobilization. The weakened and broken few men started the jihad against the intruders, invaders, and tyrants.
“On the other hand, the Islamic countries and their armies took the side of kuffar [unbelievers] and offered all the resources to their service. Mujahideen are fighting the world, with simple modest means, for justice, defense of their lands and protection of their families against their imperialistic goals. In Khorasan [Afghanistan], all the mujahideen are under the bay’ an [oath of allegiance] of one emir, Mullah Haibatullah Akhund; for the time being as per policy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), all mujahideen are free to adopt appropriate strategies for their jihadi fronts. So principally we are under one. Now, the kuffar are in power and we are weaker, Allah… will break their strength with the blessing of jihad.
“For this global jihad, we need a special commander with extraordinary charismatic qualities, with a vast chest to confront the global army and according to the predictions of our beloved Prophet Muhammad… He would be Imam Mahdi [the Anti-Christ]. So, we have to be patient with current circumstances and keep on resisting and take this caravan of friends of Allah… until the time when Imam Mahdi emerges.
“Now, I come to the first part of the question, from Khorasan to Syria we are in a war, we all are surrounded by enemies, all the communication technology is being monitored, so it is hard to keep in coordination globally but at local level inter-organizational or intra-organisational coordination is available.”
“The Causes Of Wars Are Common In These Three Countries And Now The Aim Is Common As Well, From Afghanistan And Pakistan To Syria, That’s Replacing The Incumbent Tyrannical Regimes With Islamic Governments”
Question: “Can you compare the fight in Syria and the fight in Afghanistan/Pakistan?”
Adnan Rasheed: “For comparison, I start with Afghanistan first. The war in Afghanistan can be called the ‘mother of all wars’ in this century, the Western powers wanted to wipe out jihad and the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate in 2001. But now, we see [wars in] Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Algeria, and the list is growing. There is a wise saying, ‘you can start a war but you cannot end it,’ now we see Western powers started the war in Afghanistan but now they cannot end it unless the Taliban let them go.
We can see one common point in the wars of these three countries, that is Islamic brotherhood against the tyranny. The cause of war in Afghanistan was Shaykh Osama bin Laden…, Western powers wanted to capture him. The Islamic Emirate declared him their Muslim brother and guest, so the war between Iman [faith] and Kufr [unbelief] began, losing all the kingdom for protection of a guest is unprecedented in world history. The war in Pakistan started when Pakistan army started offensives against mujahideen in South Waziristan near the Afghan border in 2003. The local tribesmen of Mehsud and Wazir Clan stood in the protection of their foreign Muslim brothers and started fighting against the army and soon it became the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which took the most strength after [Pakistan Army’s] Operation of Red Mosque in Islamabad in 2007.
“The war in Syria started after the Bashar regime killed six of the Muslim protesters. The Muslims of Syria vowed to avenge their Muslim brothers; the regime used more force to oppress the Muslims; Muslims from around the world went to help their brothers and now you can see what is happening. The causes of wars are common in these three countries and now the aim is common as well, from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Syria, that’s replacing the incumbent tyrannical regimes with Islamic governments in all aspects and this struggle is paving the way for a global caliphate, no doubt.”
“Al-Qaeda Is An Ideology, More Than An Organization, Which Gave A Renaissance To Jihad In This Century; When There Was No Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan [i.e. Afghan Taliban], There Was Al-Qaeda”
Question: “There are a lot of rumors about the relationship between TTP and Al-Qaeda? What is your personal opinion about Al-Qaeda – and jihad in general?”
Adnan Rasheed: “There is no strategic or operational coordination and a relationship between Al-Qaeda and the TTP, but both factions respect each other on the basis of Islamic brotherhood. My personal opinion about Qaeda-tul-Jihad is that Al-Qaeda is an ideology, more than an organization, which gave a renaissance to jihad in this century.
“When there was no Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, there was Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda also laid the foundation of giving allegiance to one [leader]. If you find out the roots of any jihadi movement in this century, there is Al-Qaeda ideology behind it completely or partially. My personal view about jihad is that jihad is the only way out for the Muslims of the world. Nothing but jihad can break the status quo of the world powers.
“Jihad is the only solution of all problems and conflicts of the Muslim world. Neither science nor technology, business or economy, roads or industries can take us out from the quagmire of subjugation but only jihad and jihad alone can. Without any sort of offensive and defensive capabilities, Muslims are like sheep, easy prey for the predators.”
“We Want To Make… [Pakistan] A Frontline State For Jihad, Not Against Jihad”; “Contemporary Media Is Not Our Standard Nor Our Friend Or Sympathizer, But A Tool Of Our Enemies, Playing A Fifth Generation War Against Us”
Question: “Can mujahideen from Syria join your group?”
Adnan Rasheed: “Yes, believers from around the world are welcome to Khorasan, but they should keep in mind that our [TTP’s] jihadi front is Pakistan. We are fighting the Pakistani forces and our concentration is upon jihad in Pakistan. I also want to mention that our war is against the regime, not against the people of Pakistan; our mission is to bring Islamic revolution, not the destruction of infrastructure; and we want to make it [i.e., the state of Pakistan] a frontline state for jihad, not against jihad.”
Question: “How can the Muslim community in Pakistan best support you?”
Adnan Rasheed: “The Muslims of Pakistan support the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and the existence of jihad in Pakistan is the strong proof to it. No movement can sustain its existence without the support of the masses. Nowadays, people are on the roads against the Pakistan Army, chanting slogans against them, calling them thieves, thugs, and killers. People want them to leave their areas. On the other hand, when we were in control of the [Federally Administered Tribal Areas, now absorbed into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province], people were happily living and loving us. I come across some local Christians who were living happily under Taliban rule in North Waziristan.
“We are still thousands in number; in the North from Gilgit to Chaman in the south we have our presence on the 2500-kilometers-long Afghanistan-Pakistan border and daily we are inflicting pain upon the Pakistan army on these borders and inside the cities. The Muslims of Pakistan understand that our war is not ‘terrorism’ but it’s a struggle. They understand that we are not terrorists but mujahideen. We manage our finances and manpower from Pakistan and this would be impossible without public support. And if someone says, ‘the media is not speaking well about you and you have no public support,’ then my answer to them is that contemporary media is not our standard nor our friend or sympathizer, but a tool of our enemies, playing a fifth generation war against us.”
“Shari’a Means The Islamic Political System That Is Khilafah; The Islamic Financial System That Is An Interest… Free Economic System; The Islamic Judicial System…”
Question: “When will Pakistan be ready to implement shari’a law?”
Adnan Rasheed: “No one can give the exact time frame of when it can happen, but there are hopes, we are heading toward it. We do not know whether we will see the spring of the shari’a in our country in our lives or not, but we are hopeful that if not, then our next generations will, InshaAllah [God willing]. One should clarify this in his mind what shari’a is.
“Some brothers assume that shari’a is the name of Islamic courts. Some are of the view that shari’a means beards and hijabs, and others think lashings and chopping off hands. All I mentioned is not total shari’a but some parts of shari’a, and it is not our ultimate goal. Shari’a means the Islamic political system that is Khilafah [Caliphate]; the Islamic financial system that is an interest- and tax-free economic system; the Islamic judicial system; the Islamic education system; and the jihadi offensive army just defense forces [i.e., no private armies].”
Question: “What will motivate the Pakistani government not to interfere in FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas, now absorbed into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province]?”
Adnan Rasheed: “FATA is one of the volatile regions in the world. It has a history in the Afghan and Pakistani jihad. FATA is a very strategic location; from Alexander to the British Empire, all failed to subjugate these tribes. Alexander was badly injured in a war with these tribes and the British Empire’s only fear was these tribes. FATA has been used as a buffer zone since Pakistan came into being in 1947, at the beginning against the Soviet Union to stop the advance of Communism, then in Afghan jihad, then against the Northern Alliance [the main opposition against the Afghan Taliban when they were in power in the mid-1990s onwards], then a theatre in the War on Terror; and now Pakistan is thinking of using it as a shield against the Afghan National Army and against Indian influence in an expected India-Pakistan war.
“The Pakistani constitution is not applicable in FATA; no basic rights are available to tribesmen, this area is open for war crimes, blood games, and military tests. FATA proved to be the best money-making place for the Pakistan army by capturing, killing, and selling mujahideen to respective countries [e.g., transferring them to the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay] and taxing narcotics. FATA is the biggest place for extraordinary rendition [program of the CIA].
“Pakistan will continue to interfere in FATA because this is an integral part of the country and has a pivotal role in the U.S.-led war against Islam. Now, the government is looking for some options for how to merge FATA into the national stream; these are to make it an independent province, or merge it with Peshawar or keep it as it is just replacing the FCR law with the constitution.”
“Before 9-11, The Hypocrisy Of Pakistan Was In An Islamic Veil”; “We Were Taught In Schools That Jihad Is Going On In Indian Kashmir, So The Zeal Of Serving An Islamic Country Took Me To The Pakistani Air Force”
Question: “How should mujahideen treat the non-combatant Muslims who reside in Dar-ul-Kufr [the abode of unbelief]?”
Adnan Rasheed: “Muslims in the East and the West living in Dar-ul-Kufr or elsewhere are our brothers and sisters; their blood, wealth, and honor is sacred to us. As a Muslim brother, I would like to advise them that they should remember the history of Al-Andalus (Spain), the catastrophe which fell upon the Muslims living in the Balkans after the Fall of the Ottoman Empire, the plight of Muslims after the Khanate of Bukhara in central Asia and the Fall of Muslim rule in India; and history repeats itself.”
Question: “How did you end up in Pakistan Air Force?”
Adnan Rasheed: “Before 9-11, the hypocrisy of Pakistan was in an Islamic veil. We were taught in school that Pakistan came into being in the name of Islam, that Pakistan means not literally [i.e., as the land of the pious] but spiritually as La Ilaha Illallah [there is no deity, but Allah], that Pakistan is a citadel of Islam and Pakistan is a land for Muslims to live freely according to teachings of Islam. We were taught in schools that jihad is going on in Indian Kashmir, so the zeal of serving an Islamic country took me to Pakistan Air Force.”
“I Deserted PAF [Pakistan Air Force] Many Times, But The Brothers In Jihad Made My Mind Up To Join Back And Prepare Men In The Military [For Jihad]”
Question: “Why did you leave the Pakistan Air Force?”
Adnan Rasheed: “After joining the air force, what I found there was that Islam is not ruling or running this institution but Islam is being used as a tool to pervert the sentiments of Muslim soldiers for a nationalistic cause. I found their British norms were strictly observed and preferred over Islamic lifestyle. The more Western and secular you are the more respect and appointments you would have. PAF’s environment was discouraging for an Islamic lifestyle. We were free to practice Islam or not. I came across an airman who converted from Islam to Christianity, and he was writing an application, requesting the air force record office to change his religion in documents as well. When I asked an officer who was processing his request for change of religion, he replied that religion is a person’s personal matter.
“I fear my answer will become long. I have many examples and incidents but in short, when Pakistan decided to join the U.S.-led war against Islam, I decided to defend my Muslim brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. I deserted PAF many times, but the brothers in jihad made my mind up to join back and prepare men in the military [for jihad]. I came back and my Commanding Officer put me in military jail.
“After that, I started da’wa [preaching], and I found a clandestine jihadi organization named Idara-tul-Pakistan [the Institution of Pakistan, formed inside PAF] led by a Junior Commissioned Officer Doctor Khalid (May Allah grant him Jannah [paradise]). I joined that organization; we were about 200 soldiers within the army, navy, and air force. We all were loyal to the then [Afghan Taliban’s] Emir-ul-Momineen Mullah Muhammad Omar and took the oath of allegiance to him. Then we turned against our own regime, and we planned to assassinate [Pakistan’s military ruler] Pervez Musharraf in December 2003. The attempt failed and we were all arrested, punished by military courts, and sent to jails.”
Question: “How/Why did you end up joining TTP [Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan]?”
Adnan Rasheed: “I was in death cell when TTP came into being [in 2007]. Our Idara-tul-Pakistan mujahideen were all in jails. The TTP announced their allegiance to Mullah Omar too. So, I felt no issue working with TTP being in the death cell. The TTP leadership was concerned about our detentions. Then finally, the TTP broke into the Bannu prison [in April 2012] and proved their promise of releasing the Muslim captives. After our jailbreak, I was given an option by Commander Sajna Shaheed of TTP, the mastermind of the Bannu prison break: I was free to join any jihadi group in Khorasan. He told me that he had freed us for sake of Allah… and now he gave me the choice to work with any organization of my liking. Then I decided to join TTP as a foot soldier because TTP is the biggest and strongest jihadi organization in the jihad against the Pakistani regime.”
“A Prophetic Jihad Is A Key To Success In This World And Hereafter”; “The Ideal For A Mujahid Should Be Prophet Muhammad… And His Companions, Not Sun Tzu, Napoleon Or Hitler”
Question: “What skills do you need to be a good mujahid?”
Adnan Rasheed: “There is a difference between a mujahid and a fighter. Not every soldier or fighter is a mujahid. There are two types of qualities a mujahid must have: these are spiritual and physical. A mujahid is more spiritual than physical. The foremost combat is with your own nafs [self], with yourself. Because nafs will always seduce you to follow desires, lust, and comfort. It will malign your intention in one way or another; you are always in a full-scale war with your own nafs. So, a mujahid must quell his own nafs before anything. A mujahid must abstain himself from every type of sin and doubtful things. The other qualities are physical. A stronger and healthier mujahid is better than weak and lazy one. The survival techniques and strategic knowledge can make you a conqueror.
“The political wisdom will help you in winning the hearts of the masses. The arts of war will help you in defending your land and people. A mujahid must keep in his mind that jihad is the commandment of Allah… It must be done according to the Prophetic Sunnah[traditions of Prophet Muhammad]. A prophetic jihad is a key to success in this world and hereafter. The ideal for a mujahid should be Prophet Muhammad… and his companions, not Sun Tzu, Napoleon, or Hitler.”
Question: “In 2014, there was a big [Pakistan] army invasion in FATA. Reports say you were arrested? What happened to you in that period? Was that a tough time?”
Adnan Rasheed: “Yes, in 2014 there was a big army invasion in North Waziristan and yes media was speaking about my arrest, but that was a rumor indeed. Alhamdulillah, I was safe and sound with friends and fellows. Yes, that was a tough time, but in jihad, you have to face such situations. Jihad is not a bed of roses. You have to expect the unexpected.”
“Pakistan Came Into Being As A Plan Of New World Order”; “The Muslims Of Pakistan Want Shari’a, And The Rulers And Their Secular Army Want To Westernize The Country”
Question: “What do you think about the situation in Pakistan/Afghanistan?”
Adnan Rasheed: “The situation in Afghanistan is clear to friends and foes. The future of Afghanistan is the Islamic state sooner or later. Afghan Taliban can better comment on the future of Afghanistan. I come from Pakistan and I would like to talk about the situation in Pakistan. Pakistan came into being as a plan of New World Order, under the policy of ‘divide and rule.’ The war against Islam is not new; it has been going on for 1,400 years. The slogans were different in different times, but their aim was to destroy Islam and Muslims. The creation of Pakistan was an illusion; the Muslims of the Subcontinent were promised an Islamic homeland. But since its creation, Pakistan is serving the interests of the West.
“The Muslims of Pakistan are clashing with the puppet rulers and their secular army. The Muslims of Pakistan want shari’a, and the rulers and their secular army want to westernize the country. Muslims of Pakistan have a long history of the peaceful struggle for shari’a, from the Objectives Resolution 1949 [which laid down the tenets of Islam in the state institutions of Pakistan] to the Red Mosque 2007 [military operation in Islamabad]. But every time rulers betrayed them. Every voice for shari’a was suppressed by tyranny and deception.
“Now Pakistan will reap what it has sown; soon Pakistan will turn into a Syria-like situation. Mujahideen are already in a war against the regime. Pakistan has lost more than 30,000 of its troops, the economy is bankrupt, the political system is at the brink of collapse, judiciary and media are biased, the bureaucracy has failed to manage the country, protests, and voices from every corner. World powers say Pakistan is nothing but lies and deceit. To wrap up my answer, Pakistan is a failed and corrupt state with its rental army. The future of Pakistan is horrible devastation and destruction.”
“Pakistan Is Playing Double Game In This So-Called War On Terror”; “The U.S. Wants To Withdraw But Pakistan Does Not Want America To Leave Afghanistan”
Question: “How long do you think the Americans will last in Pakistan/Afghanistan?”
Adnan Rasheed: “There is a saying that it is easy to get into Afghanistan, but it is harder to get out. Afghanistan is called the ‘graveyard of empires.’ This country has always proved a quagmire for foreign invaders; nobody knows the timeframe of this U.S.-Afghan war, but many believe that the Taliban will prevail. Pakistan is playing a double game in this so-called War on Terror. On the one hand, it is a close ally of NATO and on the other hand, it allegedly provides shelter and finances to the Afghan Taliban – though they repeatedly deny this. The U.S. wants to withdraw but Pakistan does not want America to leave Afghanistan. I believe Pakistan secretly wants to see America bogged down and [be] ineffective.
“Let’s suppose that Pakistan is quietly supporting the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban but not for the sake of Allah… but for its own protection and existence. Pakistan sees its protection from India in the presence of America and NATO forces in Afghanistan. One can wonder how Pakistan is safe from an Indian attack whilst the presence of the U.S. and NATO is in Afghanistan? The main reason is that Afghanistan is a landlocked country; Pakistan provides roads, cargo service, airports, and seaports as part of logistics for U.S. and NATO forces. In the case of an Indian attack, U.S. and NATO will lose the only route of their logistics and that could result in their shameful defeat and hasten withdrawal like the USSR. Pakistan sabotaged and scuffled the peace talks many times [to resolve the Afghan issue].
“Pakistan understands that the day America leaves Afghanistan, Pakistan will see catastrophe. India is ready at the eastern border with its Cold Start Strategy, waiting for America’s green signal. After suffering great loses, now the U.S. wants a peace deal with the [Afghan] Taliban and to leave Afghanistan. The Taliban want their unconditional withdrawal for which America is not ready. Also, IEA will only talk directly with the U.S. and not with the Afghan government which replaced the Taliban. The Afghan Taliban also understand that Pakistan is their enemy and it needs to be avenged but they have some political problems for which they cannot declare war against the Pakistan Army. But IEA supports Pakistani mujahideen for their war against Pakistan.
“Pakistan is equipped with nuclear arsenals. Russia, China, and the UK also have their eyes on these nuclear bombs. They fear a nuclear bomb could fall into the hands of mujahideen. The U.S. wants these nuclear arsenals either shifted or destroyed or under the custody of UN special forces. China is a big rival of America in the economic market. An unstable, chaotic, and destroyed Pakistan is in the great interest of America, India, and Iran because this is the only solution to sabotage the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.”
“I Do Feel Connected To The Struggle In Syria”; “Being A Muslim, We Have A Win-Win Situation”; “Land, Bounty, And Rule Are The By-Products Of Jihad”
Question: “Do you feel connected to the struggle in Syria?”
Adnan Rasheed: “Yes, I do feel connected to the struggle in Syria. All Muslims are brothers, like one body, and if a part of this body is in pain, the whole body is in pain. We must understand the difference between victory and success, and between defeat and failure. We should not connect victory and success together. The people who were burnt in ditches had lost the battle against the king, but they were successful and the victorious king, who killed all the faithful, failed.
“Being a Muslim, we have a win-win situation; what we have upon us is a struggle, the result is in the hands of our Lord. He wants us to live and die for Him, to fight and rule for Him. If you are a Caliph or a common Muslim, He wants to see you His loyal and obedient servant. So, the basic purpose of jihad is to seek the pleasure of Allah… It is His will whether He gives us victory, land, and bounty or He keeps us in tight conditions. What upon us is to ask for steadfastness and firmness on faith and jihad. Land, bounty, and rule are the by-products of jihad.”
Question: “Which group do you support? Or, are all the mujahideen same to you?”
Adnan Rasheed: “I support the mujahideen of Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama’ah [those who follow the traditions of Prophet Muhammad] all over the world. I do not support people of Takfir [such as ISIS] or mujahideen fighting under the banner of nationalism or Taghut [i.e., for nationalist purposes and in service of corrupt powers].”
Question: “How was your time in prison?”
Adnan Rasheed: “Alhamdulillah, my time in prison was a blessing for me. Although it was a great test, Allah… had made it easy for me. I was happy when I was thinking that I am imprisoned just for my Lord, that my name is written in the skies among the prisoners for Allah. I do not want to be imprisoned again but I miss my routine of worship [in prison]. I want Allah to accept my imprisonment and forgive my sins and award me with His pleasure.”
“After The Defeat Of The USSR, We Saw Mujahideen Became Warlords, Some Of Them Became Pro-Iran, Some Pro-Pakistan, Some Pro-Saudi, And Some Pro-India; The Era Of 1989 To 1996 Was Full Of… Civil War; So The Syrian Mujahideen Must Learn Lessons From History”
Question: “What do you advise for the fighters and leaders of factions in Syria?”
Adnan Rasheed: “When I see myself and brothers in Syria, I feel myself inferior as they are fighting the world. And being here we are unable to help them. We just hear the news of calamities befall them day and night. I do not think I can advise Syrian mujahideen or leaders, but I have some humble suggestions and requests for them. Firstly, unity is a strength: here in Khorasan, we see the Islamic Emirate – one jihadi organization – versus U.S.-led and UN-backed NATO coalition. U.S. and UN are calling for peace talks; they want to end the war, but the [Afghan] Taliban are reluctant to give up their conditions. So this is the Koranic principle [i.e., unity is strength]; Afghan Taliban are acting upon this golden rule and world powers are helpless to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table. The Taliban are the living example; if the Syrian mujahideen follow the golden rule of unity, they can bring the world to their feet.
“Secondly, free and fair jihad. The mujahideen in Syria must protect their jihad from foreign influence; they must not allow their jihad to be hijacked or controlled by foreign stakeholders. The hijacked jihad would never bring you freedom, but more chaos and in-fighting. The history of Afghan-Soviet jihad [in the 1980s] tells us that the mujahideen made mistakes; they followed the foreign hands in return for weapons and ammunition. After the defeat of the USSR, we saw mujahideen became warlords, some of them became pro-Iran, some pro-Pakistan, some pro- Saudi, and some pro-India. The era of 1989 to 1996 was full of anarchy and civil war. So the Syrian mujahideen must learn lessons from history.
“Thirdly, avoid idealism. Idealism is something which cannot be real. Sometimes, we think beyond the ground realities. We forget that our jihad is still in its infant period, it needs nourishment. We forget that we are still not capable of leading the ummah; we forget that it will take a long time to break the status quo of the world powers. We are in too much of a hurry to see an Islamic state from Indonesia to Spain. This is all idealism. We must think real; the reality is this that we have to fight, we have to wage jihad; the reality is this that our ranks must be united; the reality is that we must be ready for more and more war until the fitna [mischief] ends and the rule of Allah is implemented.”
“Our Jihad Is For Change, Not For Destruction; Our Jihad Is Against Corrupt Rulers, Not Against The Public”; “If We Destroy Or Convert The Church Or Synagogue In Our Conquered Land, Then What Should We Expect For Our Mosques In Our Enemy-Controlled Area?”
“Fourthly, be careful with the general public. The people living inside or outside of mujahideen-controlled areas should be our concern. Our jihad is for change, not for destruction; our jihad is against corrupt rulers, not against the public. If we do not care about the lives and properties of the public, then we will lose the war at our own soil, the public is like a sea and mujahideen are like fish, the public are like trees, and mujahideen are like birds, how can a fish survive without water? And how can birds survive without trees? This is one of the strategies of the enemy to isolate mujahideen from the general public, then it is easy for them to target the mujahideen. So, the mujahideen must make an effort to win the hearts and minds of general masses with Islamic virtues, tolerance, respect, a good code of conduct, and welfare projects.
“Harassing them with weapons, humiliating them for not fighting with you side by side, labeling them as munafiq [hypocrite] or spies without the decision of a court of law would bring you to defeat on your own soil. Women, children, and elderly people must be respected, non-combatant kuffar should be given protection and their places of worships should not be destroyed if they submit to the status of dhimmi [i.e., non-Muslim living under Muslim rule].
“Fifthly, Reprisal. We must keep in mind that our very action – good or bad – could affect our brothers and sisters around the world. We must think wisely before taking such steps which the reaction to might befall, not us, but our brothers and sisters in faith somewhere in the world. Actions, which if we postpone, for the time being, would bring no harm to our jihad or Islam.
“For example, if we destroy or convert the church or synagogue in our conquered land, then what should we expect for our mosques in our enemy-controlled area? If we make the women of our enemy concubines, then what do we expect for our women in their territory? If we burn their sacred books, we may see Koran burning in reprisal and if we abuse their deities, and they speak against our true Lord, then who is giving them a chance? One should object that our enemies are already doing such actions, yes, of course, they are doing these things, but my point being, what they do, we should not be one who triggers it.”
Source: Telegram.me/alhaqiqagroup, October 15, 2018. The original English of the interview has been lightly edited for clarity and standardization.