Al Qaeda’s top spokesman for Pakistan called on jihadists in Pakistan to attack NATO supply convoys to “secure the back” of al Qaeda’s ally, the Afghan Taliban.
Ustad Ahmad Farooq, al Qaeda’s spokesman for Pakistan, made the plea in a videotaped statement that was released today on jihadist web forums. The statement was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
“On this occasion I urge our Mujahid brothers from Karachi and Makran to Khyber that they must pay special attention to targeting American and NATO supply lines,” Farooq said. Makran is a coastal area in Baluchistan that includes the port of Gwadar.
Farooq said jihadists should target not only the convoys, but also the owners of the trucking companies that are contracted to ship supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan.
“Destroy with land mines the containers that carry the instruments of death for our Afghan brothers,” Farooq continued. “Wipe out these convoys with guerrilla operations. Target the owners of companies that have contracts for supply … in short secure the back of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan by any means necessary!”
Farooq berated the Pakistani military and government for their ties to the US, and for accepting the reopening of the supply lines and for allowing the continuation of drone strikes. He described Pakistan’s leadership as “slaves” who have sold out Muslims, and who “safeguards its own seat of power and protects its vested interests.”
Farooq also urged “the scholars of this nation, callers to the religion and all people of virtue and honour in Pakistan to express their disavowal with this act of treachery with the Jihad in Afghanistan.” He said that Pakistan’s religious political parties “still have enough power left that if they seek Allah’s help, earnestly resolve to stop this series of treachery with the Jihad in Afghanistan using all permissible means and start a mass movement against drone attacks and NATO supplies, the government and army will be forced to submit to their demands in a matter of days.”
Pakistan reopened NATO’s supply routes into Afghanistan in July , more than seven months after they were shut down following the deaths of 24 Pakistanis in a clash with US soldiers at the border between Afghanistan’s Kunar province and Pakistan’s Mohmand tribal agency. Twenty-four Pakistani troops were killed after they opened fire on US and Afghan troops operating in Kunar [see LWJ report, Pakistani fire, mutual errors led to Mohmand troop deaths: ISAF inquiry]. Supplies into Afghanistan have barely trickled through the Pakistani border over the last five weeks.
Al Qaeda’s call to attack NATO’s supply lines follows that of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, a Taliban group that is based in the tribal areas and the northwest. One day after the supply line was reopened, Ihsanullah Ihsan, the group’s spokesman, said that the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan will “carry attacks on NATO supplies with a new spirit.” Attacks against NATO supply columns and the companies that transport the supplies have been sporadic since Ihsan made his pronouncement, however.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.