Who is Colonel Imam?
Colonel Imam. Photo from the Irish Times.
Pakistan's The News provides a [likely unintentional] humorous rebuttal to Hamid Mir's report that Ilyas Kashmiri was a member of the Special Services Group, Pakistan's elite commandos.
This is with reference to Hamid Mir's report (Sept 20) titled "How an ex-commando became a terrorist". It is total disinformation -- Ilyas Kashmiri neither had any association with the SSG nor did he serve in the army as a soldier. Being an ex-commando officer, I know that the SSG never indulges in such heinous crimes. It's a superior professional force of the army composed of responsible officers and men who carry out professional tasks. I would like to add that there is always an attempt by hostile agencies to defame the security forces of Pakistan with a malicious intent. Therefore, newspapers and columnists must refrain from falling prey to these fifth columnists.
Colonel (r) Imam
So who is Colonel Imam anyway? This is the very same Colonel Imam who is the Father of the Taliban. Imam proudly talks of the Taliban victories in Afghanistan. From the Times Online:
Today western intelligence agencies believe Imam is among a group of renegade officers from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) who continued to help the Taliban after Pakistan turned against them following the attacks of September 11, 2001 [note: this list includes Hamid Gul, Javid Nasir, and Zahirul Islam Abbasi, Aslam Beg, and Khalid Khwaja].
United Nations officials and Afghanistan's intelligence service have reported sightings of him in the Afghan provinces of Helmand and Uruzgan. It is a charge he shrugs off, claiming that at 65 he has not worked for almost eight years.
"I wish I could do it but they don't need me any more," he says. "My students are far ahead of me now. They are giving a lesson to the world. I am very proud of them."
Imam was Pakistan's consul-general in Herat when the Taliban captured the city in 1995 from Ismail Khan, the mujaheddin commander, who claims the ISI agent oversaw the whole Taliban operation. From there he guided the Taliban as they took over the cities of Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad and eventually captured Kabul.
Like many Pakistanis he refuses to believe the September 11 attacks were carried out by Osama Bin Laden. "An operation like that needs ground support," he said. "I have no doubt it was carried out by the Americans to give a bad name to the Taliban government as an excuse to topple it."
When General Pervez Musharraf, then president of Pakistan, agreed to American pressure to cut ties to the Taliban, the colonel was outraged.
Colonel Imam on Mullah Omar: "I love him," he said. "He brought peace to Afghanistan."
With credentials like these, it is impossible for Colonel Imam to be practicing disinformation.
Colonel Imam's faux outrage earns him the coveted Captain Louis Renault Award: