Faqir Mohammed broadcasting on jihadi radio

Faqir-Mohammed-AfPax.png

Faqir Mohammed, the leader of the Taliban in Bajaur and the deputy leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Image courtesy of AfPax Insider.

Asia Times has an interesting report on how Bajaur Taliban leader Faqir Mohammed is alive, well, and broadcasting on an illegal FM radio channel into the lawless tribal agency. Apparently Faqir, who once described himself as an al Qaeda leader, is operating from Afghanistan. Note that while the Asia Times report claims that it is a revelation that Faqir is alive, we’ve known this for more than a year, after he spoke to the press in mid-March 2010 to deny reports of his death. From the Asia Times:

The channel broadcasts in Pashto language from 12 pm to 3 pm in the afternoon and 6 pm to 8 pm in the evening. The programs include jihadi taranay (jihadi motivational songs), furious jihadi sermons and threats to the local peace committees that resisted Faqir-led militants in Bajaur and helped the security forces in the expulsion of his group from the region.

Islamabad launched an offensive on Bajaur in August 2008, claiming total victory over the TTP by March 2010 after some 80 soldiers and around 1,000 militants were killed, including local al-Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri. The area had served as an al-Qaeda and Taliban haven since 2001.

“Faqir’s radio programs can be heard clearly in the Charmang, Salarzo, Mamond and Pashet areas near the AfPak border while in the agency’s administrative headquarters, Khar, the signals are weak and programs cannot be heard clearly,” said Saleem Khan, a local journalist.

“I personally heard Molvi Faqir Mohammad on the FM channel more than three times threatening local peace committees with dire consequences if they did not stop helping the security forces against the Taliban,” Saleem added…

Wajid Iqbal, a resident of Khar, said that Faqir personally speaks on the Taliban channel. He recalls him saying, “I did not flee but migrated from Bajaur for a jihadi cause and now have returned to my native area in order to establish the writ of Allah and punish the enemies of Islam.”

Faqir is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan in the Pakistan border region. Islamabad blames his group for orchestrating a recent spate of massive attacks in Bajaur and Dir that killed dozens of military personnel and militants. Local sources added that the transmission was being aired from the Manro jungle area of Afghanistan’s Kunar province.

A local journalist revealed that the Taliban channel regularly transmitted dire threats to reporters. “We are under severe threat from these fanatics and the authorities have failed to provide us security. If it continues, we will be compelled to leave the area,” he said.

Each radio program airs a telephone number for phone-ins, with an Afghan country code.

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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2 Comments

  • Neonmeat says:

    Well considering even in the UK they have the ability to track and shut down pirate radio stations you would think ISAF would have some technology that could track this signal down and then send a reaper drone in?
    Perhaps watch this space….

  • Soccer says:

    The area of Kunar, Nuristan and FATA/NWFP tends to be a “black hole”, so to speak, of information.
    Yes, it’s possible for them to do that, however, that area is very dangerous and remote and ISAF does not have many bases there anymore. But I suppose they could send out a signal to jam the station’s broadcast, and then perhaps drop a JDAM or two on it followed by a spec-ops raid. Since conventional troops are not in the area anymore that would probably be their course of action.
    ISAF has notably shut down radio stations in Kunar the past before:
    //www.dvidshub.net/news/68384/afghan-coalition-forces-conclude-significant-kunar-operation
    “Afghan and coalition forces also captured a radio station that had been used as part of a network that directed attacks on civilians and recruited weapons and money.”

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