‘Good’ Pakistani Taliban leader Nazir affirms membership in al Qaeda

South Waziristan Taliban leader Mullah Nazir [bottom-center].

A senior Taliban commander who is based in the tribal agency of South Waziristan and is considered by the Pakistani government to be a “good Taliban” leader admitted he is a member of al Qaeda and shares the terror group’s views on waging global jihad.

Mullah Nazir Ahmad, the powerful South Waziristan Taliban commander, admitted his allegiance to al Qaeda in an interview with the Asia Times Online. The interview, which was conducted by Asia Times Online reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad, took place before al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a US raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, just 30 miles north of the capital of Islamabad.

In the interview, Nazir said that the Taliban and al Qaeda are “one and the same” despite the fact that they may conduct operations differently.

“Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are one and the same,” Nazir told Asia Times Online. “At an operational level we might have different strategies, but at the policy level we are one and the same.”

Nazir rejected claims that he opposed al Qaeda, and affirmed that he considered himself to be a member of the global terror organization.

“This is wrong that I am anti-al Qaeda,” Nazir said. “I am part of al Qaeda.”

He also rejected claims that he opposed al Qaeda due to his clashes in 2007 and 2008 with the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which sheltered in his tribal areas.

“Whatever happened between us and the Uzbeks was the result of our internal differences. I never did that on anybody’s instigation,” he said, rejecting the reports that he fought the IMU on behest of the Pakistani military. He claimed his differences with the Uzbeks were resolved after IMU leader Tahir Yuldashev was killed in a US Predator airstrike in late August 2009.

Nazir embraced the global jihad espoused by al Qaeda, and said the war would be carried far beyond Afghanistan, into the heart of the Middle East:

“At the end of the day, all mujahideen are one and the jihad will not end up only in Afghanistan. It will go a long way. The monarchs and dictators of the Arab world are usurpers. The demonstrations against them are considered as pro-democracy, but eventually it will benefit the mujahideen. The situation has rapidly turned favorable for us and therefore the mujahideen from Afghanistan will join forces with the Arabs. Yemen is the first destination selected in this regard where we will send our men,” Nazir said.

Nazir is the latest Taliban commander to have openly allied with al Qaeda. Another is Siraj Haqqani, the top military commander of the Haqqani Network, which operates on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border; he also sits on al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis, or executive council. Still another is Qari Zia Rahman, the dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda commander who operates in Nuristan and Kunar provinces in Afghanistan and the tribal agencies of Mohmand and Bajaur in Pakistan.

Pakistani officials have signed several peace agreements with Nazir since 2004, and they consider him to be among the so-called “good Taliban” as he does not advocate attacks against the Pakistan state or its military. The Pakistanis turn a blind eye to Nazir’s attacks in Afghanistan.

The latest peace agreement, signed in the summer of 2009, obligated Nazir to eject “foreigners” from his tribal areas and refuse shelter to Mehsuds from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. In exchange, the Pakistani military agreed to not attack Nazir during an operation against the Mehsuds from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in the eastern region of South Waziristan. But Nazir has not lived up to the terms of the agreement. And it has recently been reported that Nazir has ended his agreement with the military and his forces have attacked Pakistan troops in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan.

In the past and to this day, Nazir has openly supported al Qaeda and its leadership. He admitted he would provide shelter to senior al Qaeda leaders. “How can I say no to any request from Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar under tribal traditions, if they approach me to get shelter?” Nazir asked the Pakistani press in the spring of 2007. Al Qaeda runs terror camps inside Nazir’s tribal areas and helps to finance his operations.

Nazir’s forces fight against Afghan and Coalition forces inside Afghanistan. Nazir also shelters the Mehsuds from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, in violation of a peace agreement with the Pakistani government.

Significantly, more senior al Qaeda leaders have been killed in Nazir’s tribal areas during the US air campaign than in those of any other Taliban leader in Pakistan.

In the past, the US has killed several senior al Qaeda leaders in Nazir’s territories. One of the most senior al Qaeda leaders killed was Midhat Mursi al Sayyid Umar, who is better known as Abu Khabab al Masri. Abu Khabab was killed along with four members of his staff in a Predator strike on July 28, 2008.

Two other top al Qaeda leaders killed while in Nazir’s care were Osama al Kini (Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam), al Qaeda’s operations chief in Pakistan; and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, one of al Kini’s senior aides. Both men were wanted by the US for their involvement in the 1998 suicide attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

In another strike in Nazir’s territory, US Predators also killed Abu Hazwa Jawfi, who is said to have led Jundallah, a Pakistani terror group that is based in Karachi and maintains close ties with al Qaeda.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Civy says:

    With a little luck the Mid-East will be governed by Democracies of some flavor or another, and the jihadists will be unsupported and unwelcome in their home countries.
    This is not necessarily a change, except that rich Arabs will no longer be free to play at being war lords by proxy, as their ability to fund such misadventures will almost certainly be prohibited – either by imprisonment, confiscation of their wealth, or both.
    One must also assume that in such a world these countries might actually observe international standards for confining coming and going to those that are legal and authorized.
    The pathetic thing about those jihadist who are going to die between now and then, is they will die for a lost cause which no educated Muslim anywhere in the Mid-East still supports.
    If the only thing you know how to do is be a grunt, then maybe you continue being a grunt, but it’s not a profession with much of a future in the civilized world. Educated, intelligent people with dreams and aspirations aren’t yearning to camp out in squalor amidst well-bounced rubble.

  • BPH says:

    Nazir’s admissions should come as no surprise to readers of this site..

    Bill or anyone else:

    Any thoughts as to why Syed Saleem Shahzad (who seemingly always has inside info on AQ) reported that UBL had only arrived at the Abbottabad compound about ten days before the raid and had planned to move while all other reports indicate that UBL had been living there for years?


  • Paul says:

    Good comments…..this guy has now sealed his fate as well. These morons don’t get it….they have neither the means or the will to realize AQ’s dream. They will only waste their time and lives. Guess they have no other skills to apply in life other than killing. Not much of a life……kind of feel sorry for them. Why were they born?

  • JT says:

    Regarding democracy (small d, by the way), it is important because it give the people what they want, instead of dictator rule.
    HOWEVER, it would remain to be seen what many of the trouble countries in the middle east would end up with if they get a true democracy. They might just vote for a strict Islamic state. Anyone who heard Karzai’s oath of office knows what Afghanistan is all about.
    Unlike our presidents, who make an oath to support the Constitution, Karzai’s oath repeatedly stated his devotion to ISLAM. It gets past many people that Islamic countries are basically theocracies, the polar opposite to any concept of separation of church and state.

  • Taliban and alquaeda have never been secret about their relationship as MUSLIM UMMA guides and combines them. It is the west which is not seeing the truth and soon it may be revealed legendary Imran Khan of Pakistan just like General Hamid gul was part of Alqueda.

  • Charles says:

    So loyalty is to the cause and not to the man. Too bad. Hope the seals got his address in the OBL tapes…

    “The monarchs and dictators of the Arab world are usurpers. The demonstrations against them are considered as pro-democracy, but eventually it will benefit the mujahideen. The situation has rapidly turned favorable for us”

    Judging by comments at pj… Nazir is right

  • Civy says:

    Agreed, JT, it will be interesting. 10-20 years ago I think the idea of an Islamic state would have been much more palatable, but there is now widespread disaffection with the Iranian experiment, and, as it turns out, the 20-somethings leading these revolutions are often driven by women.
    Women under Islam can only expect a pale shadow of the life women in the west expect to live. They have very few options, and are basically treated like beasts of burden. I’d hate to have a daughter in an Islamic theocracy. Not much of a future.
    What has in fact happened though, even in Afghanistan, is women have been quietly getting organized and educated while their idiot brothers run around playing hero in an endless cycle of pointless warring. Those men are “dead-enders” standing at the edge of the Earth when facing the global competition of the 21st Century.
    Consider the contrast between Afghanistan and Singapore. The difference is almost entirely due to good governance.

  • kimball says:

    Still, if OBL arraived in Abottabad so shortly before the
    raid, there must be more than an educated guess in-
    So, who sold him out?
    Maybe Pak army top brass at the meeting in Washington
    closed a deal.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    Hopefully this connection is not lost upon D.C. politicos who serve a political constituency eager to cut and run completely from the region.
    There is a reactionary element of the International Left that promotes a wrong-headed and dangerous “bin Laden is dead, the War is over” mentality.

  • DR Zahid khan says:

    Kill these bastards.they are all terrorists.The biggest terrorist is shuja pasha ISI Chief and Gen. Kiyani of napak (unholy)army.they should all be killed by the US SEALS force.BRAVO USkeep it up and kill these dogs.

  • KBL says:

    So peeling back more layers of the onion in Pakistan will only reveal the incredible depth of the deceit of the Pakistanis. Anybody who has concerns or designs that some day the Pakistanis in control will tell the truth, act honorably and face their own worst enemies (within their own country – and these are not Indian agents), is fooling himself and giving hope to the hopeless liberally-based thoughts of the same. Pakistan is a snake pit and will unfortunately remain so as long as the people ruling the ISI and military remain in control. Our people in that region are only more at risk because of the Pakistani duplicity and our perceived “need” for their help. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way and I know from working toward educating myself on that place that I am right, based on current events and history.

  • Soccer says:

    Bill, I thought I should let you know YOU ARE UNDER ATTACK by prisonplanet, Alex Jones and Infowars.
    Read it, they are attacking you for covering the events from your own perspective.
    Alex Jones had Lt. Gen Hamid Gul on his radio show, and him and Jones bashed you for half an hour.

  • Soccer says:

    They also attacked you in this article:
    I have heard once on a message board that Alex Jones thinks you are part of the Haqqani Network and that you met Jaladuddin Haqqani once.
    Please rebuke their attack against you. I know you are LEAPS and bounds above them in knowledge.

  • AMac says:

    From the May 3 Asia Times article linked by PBH (May 4, 2011 5:24pm) —
    “Asia Times Online contacts in the North Waziristan tribal area… confirmed that several meetings had already been convened in the town of Mir Ali to formulate strategies. They all confirmed an immediate and fierce retaliation against Pakistan and the breaking up of all ceasefire agreements with the Pakistan military.”
    That’s curious, if true. Moving to a Zarqari-style “burning down the house” strategy vis a vis the Pakistani Army as a result of the Abbottabad raid. Kind of stupid, it seems, to abrogate agreements that benefit your side more than your opposition, based on what the ISI and the Army didn’t assist the U.S.
    Unless the Waziri jihadis have reason to think that the ISI/Army gave up bin Laden to the Americans.

  • blert says:

    I don’t know where the idea got started — but it’s IMPOSSIBLE for Pakistan to sell OBL out.
    Think on it.
    ISI builds a compound inside what amounts to a military base.
    Stashes OBL there for YEARS.
    Then one fine day the ISI approaches the CIA with,”We’ve been lying to you from day one. Now we want you to risk life and limb and send in commandos to terminate our cash cow. And, yes, you’re right; we’ve been screwing you over all this time.”
    It’s absurd.
    The ISI was freaking out over Raymond Davis precisely because of his field agents. They rolled them all up; something like 50 to 60 players.
    In that number are the boys who tracked down OBL!
    It’s one of the reasons that Leon Panetta put the mission on a fast track. It was now or never. ISI was assumed to be already in the process of finding a new hide for OBL.

  • Paul says:

    4 days have now passed since the raid on OBL’s compound in Abbottabad.
    It seems to me that this is sufficient time for the Pakistani government admits that there were a serious failures in the performance of their intelligence and defense ministries and takes responsibility for those failures. Under the parliamentary system these failures should be acknowledged by the ministers in charge of these two areas resigning and being replace by someone else who will take action to correct the failures and make sure that they are not repeated.
    If the ministers are not replaced and the clean up is not initiated, then this constitutes prime facie evidence that the Pakistani government supports hosting of OBL and al Quaeda. They cannot have it both ways.
    Having Mullah Nazir Ahmad operate openly in their territory after swearing allegiance to al Quaeda is further proof that they do not see their actions as a failure of performance.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    I try not to argue with crazy people. Alex Jones, Tony Cartalucci, and crew are conspiracy theorists extraordinaire. Their portrayal of the FDD/FPI conspiracy is just laughable; people would be surprised at how hard I’ve worked and how much I’ve bucked the system to put this site together. Those attacks aren’t worth my time. Guys like Jones and Cartalucci are nutjob cowards; I’d like for them say that to my face.

  • paul says:

    After having sworn his allegiance to al Qaeda, would like his thoughts on the latest from fox news concerning the raid. The leader of this global jihad he ascribes to was said to be scared, confused, pushed his wife into the assault team, and apparently never even bothered to pick up a weapon for his cause.

  • Soccer says:

    Take a look at the articles I linked to, and notice how whenever they mention your name, it is followed by a chorus of insults, one after the other. They have no actual basis on which to attack you, and they cannot attack you based on facts, so they unleash their childish rage against your name, because your website is a direct contradiction to the conspiracy theories they propagate.
    I don’t know you that well, but I know that you work tirelessly to provide the information we read here every day. Infowars has always had an enmity towards you; I don’t know why. It’s almost like they are obsessed with you in a very negative way.
    Just remember that you work hard, and what you say is documented. You have served in the armed forces, and your opinion is respected by many. That’s all that matters, not what some fringe conspiracy theorists write about you in some random articles.

  • Civy says:

    If you want to know what it’s like to be a SEAL team member, or generally how your body and mind respond to stress when in a combat situation, join your local USPSA or IPSC chapter and try it. When you’re shooting a stage and on the clock your mind will have you thinking you were going a mile a minute – and video will show you with feet of clay.
    As for being waken and trying to defend yourself, have someone burst into your room in the middle of a sound sleep – deep REM – and blare an air-horn, turn on the lights, and video tape your response.
    You really can’t understand the fog of war until you’ve lived it, but I’ve been through both of these, the latter almost resulting in me shooting my own sister. Sheer terror as my brain tried to come up to speed in what I thought a life and death situation.
    Large doses of adrenaline will completely erase your short term memory. Ask any 1st time skydiver. It’s not a knock on the SEALs that they are still piecing together what happened. It’s greatly to their credit that they acted so swiftly their target never had a chance to get organized. That’s how its done. The SEALs did it right.


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