US forces courting Mullah Omar’s father-in-law?

Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Amir al Mumineen (“the commander of the faithful”) of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.

The Financial Times shares these highlights about one of the elders US commanders in Arghandab are trying to bring on side as part of their work to bring Afghans on side:

Once locked up in Guantánamo Bay as a suspected Taliban commander, Said Amir Mohammad Agha, a spry 61-year-old, is now high on the list of Afghan elders that US forces want to befriend …. Mr Agha was detained three times by US forces in Afghanistan and spent time in the Guantánamo detention facility in Cuba before being repatriated. US officers believe Mr Agha has retired from active duty as a Taliban commander but maintains contacts with the movement. Sporting a grey beard and turban of the type favoured by Pashtun elders, Mr Agha’s loyalties remain uncertain. Putting aside his prayer beads, he reaches into his robes to produce a certificate from US forces saying he had been deemed not to pose a threat after being detained in Afghanistan from January to June 2004 ….

The interesting tidbit adding some context the Financial Times’ coverage comes from Kandahar-based analyst/writer Alex Strick van Linschoten:

 . I was greatly disappointed, however, that (the article’s author) missed out on the key point when it comes to Amir Mohammad Agha – he is Mullah Mohammad Omar’s father-in-law. (And) with that, he also missed the extremely important 1980s context and just how involved Amir Mohamad Agha was involved in the early years of the Taliban movement post-1994.

So, how’s your son-in-law doing these days, Mr. Agha? Believe me when I say we’re very interested.

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  • T Ruth says:

    “Believe me when I say we’re very interested.”
    Father-in-law or father-out-law?

  • steve m says:

    where can i find more info on the 1980’s context and his early involvement in the taliban?

  • ArneFufkin says:

    “The Financial Times shares these highlights about one of the elders US commanders in Arghandab are trying to bring on side as part of their work to bring Afghans on side:”
    LOL. You thanks from me Yoda.

  • Gator76 says:

    What is this guy’s Gitmo ISN? Does anyone know?

  • says:

    ArneFufkin: Funny you be – if I knew grammar, blog scribe I would be not 🙂
    Steve/Gator: I’ll share anything I can find/hunt down (assuming other commenters don’t beat me to it).

  • Eckart Schiewek says:

    There was a question on the 80s and our extremely short memory. I think this a systemic problem. Despite the West funding and nurturing the predecessors of the Taliban, little memory is published on who this was precisely.
    The 80s are documented from a Pakistani perspective by Fida Yunus’ books on Afghanistan. See below for the exact titles. Iit’s four fat tomes listing those in government (members of the PDPA mostly) and in the resistance (mostly Pakistan-based Sunni parties) sometimes down to the district level. Of course the lists were doctored by the Peshawar-based parties with a view of showing imaginary numbers of fighters and claiming extra money for commanders they did not really control – but it’s a good start.
    For those who read Dari and Pashto: The publication wave of memoirs in the late 1990s was triggered by former Chief General of the General Staff Azimi’s ‘ordu wa siyasat’ (army and politics). Retired officers from the communist army profited from their exile to tell their version of the story. And they have a lot of names in their books as they are very hung up on ‘who is who’. See below a couple of titles.
    On the 80s a lot has been published in Russian, some stuff made it into translation into German (mainly Intelligence Officer memoirs), but here I have not systematically researched as the Soviets had a rather murky understanding of the resistance and of Kandahar in particular and mostly due to the carreer split between linguists and intelligence officers it’s hard to track whether a particular individual is identical with another one referenced with the same or similar name.
    Dari literature on the 80s:
    Ghulam Hazrat Kushan, Afghanistan dar masir-i sada-yi bist (Afghanistan on its way through the 20th century), Peshawar 1999.
    Asadallâh Wulwâlajî, Dar safhât-i shumâl-i Afghânistân chî mêguzasht? Kitâb-i awwal wa du (What happened in the northern parts of Afghanistan? – books one and two), Peshawar 1379 (2000).
    Asadallâh Wulwâlajî, Dar safhât-i shumâl-i Afghânistân chî mêguzasht? Kitâb-i siwwum (Third Book: The Beginning and Continuance of the estrangement between General Dostum and Mister Massoud in the Northern Regions of Afghanistan), Peshawar 1379 (2000).
    English view:
    Sayyid Fida Yunus, Organisation of the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan / Watan Party, Governments and Biographical Sketches 1982-1998, 2 vols., Peshwar 1998.
    Sayyid Fida Yunus, Political Parties, groups, movements and mujahideen alliances and governments 1879-1997, Peshawar 1997.
    Memoirs of Afghan retired military officers in Dari, and the comments around it:
    Muhammad Nabi Azimi, Urdu wa siysat dar sih daha-yi akhir (Army and politics in the last three decades), Peshawar 1999.
    Comments to it:
    Dr. Sh. N. Haqqshinas, Munaziraha… ya siyahnama-yi nabi azimi (Discourses… or the black book of Nabi Azimi), Peshawar June 2000 (Saratan 1379).
    Counter-Comments by author:
    Muhammad Nabi Azimi, How far [is it] enlightenment, and how far superstition? (tamamat ta ba ki wa kharafat ta ba ki?), Peshawar Spring 2000.
    Muhammad Nabi Azimi (Ed.), Munâzirahâ wa muhâsirahâ nisbat ba kitâb urdû wa siyâsat (Discourses and criticism regarding “army and politics”), October 2000 (Jazan 1379).
    Ghausaddin Fâ’iq, Razira ki namekhwastam ifsha gardad? (Secrets which I never wanted to be disclosed?), Peshawar April 2000 (Spring 1379).
    Khan Aqa Said, Razira ki Faiq afsha nakard! (The secret, which Faiq did not disclose!), Peshawar October 2000 (Jazan 1379).
    Early 909s stuff in Dari:
    Abdarra’ûf Bêgî, Afghânistân ba’d az pîrûzî-yi inqilâb-i islâmî tâ suqût-i shamâl ba dast-i Tâlibân 1991-1998 (Afghanistan from the victory of the islamic revolution until the fall of the north to the Taliban 1991-1998), Peshawar 2000.
    Muhammad Zâhir Azîmî, Tâlibân chigûna âmadand? (How did the Taliban come?), Peshawar 1377 (1999).
    These are just a few titles which I would consider the baseline for pronouncing on anything of the 1980s.
    Eckart Schiewek


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