A Turkish jihadist site eulogized seven Turkish fighters previously killed in Afghanistan, in a video released on Aug. 15 by the Fursan Muhammad Information Group. The video, which was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, is titled “Those Who Kept Their Promise, Part 3.” Following the eulogies, a Haqqani official and another individual call on Turks and Kurds to join the jihad in Afghanistan.
…[I]n the latest video, [Haqqani Network official, Maulvi Sangin Zadran] repeated his call and promoted the fighting by the Afghan Taliban, saying: “We the Afghan Taliban are aware of the games of the United States, NATO and the collaborating apostates, and we are continuing our jihad. If it wasn’t for our jihad, they certainly would have destroyed the Afghan people. However, thanks to our jihad we are able to protect our religion, our character, and our sacred.”
Another individual, Maulvi Saifullah, also addressed Turkish and Kurdish Muslims, making a similar call as Maulvi Sangin and asking that they come to Afghanistan and join the fighters.
Alhough there is nothing particularly unique about this 50-minute eulogy video, its repeated themes constitute a useful list of messages that jihadists employ to recruit foreign fighters to Afghanistan. The video contains the following messages:
• The greatness of martyrdom. The eulogies describe martyrdom as a privilege, a source of happiness, a reward, a salvation; and those killed as being lucky or blessed to have the chance to become a martyr.
• Promise of reward in the afterlife. This includes heaven, nature, rainbows, the privilege of being with God, and 72 virgins.
• Crusaders and apostate forces. A consistent theme is the referral to US and NATO forces as the “Crusaders” and the Afghan Army as the “Apostate Army.”
• Civilian killings. The attacks of the “Crusaders” are described as targeting civilians, including “old, young, women, children,” and depicted with scenes of dead civilians. During one of the eulogies, a scene shows a drone, while another shows an Apache helicopter. This is coupled with close-up images of each individual’s face after being “martyred,” some with blood and bruises. Those eulogized are young; most of them are in their 20s. The years of their deaths range from 2007-2010.
• Praising the martyrs as virtuous. The video extols each individual’s virtues and redeeming qualities. The individuals are described as having qualities such as patience, understanding, sense of humor, sensitivity, helpfulness, and joyfulness. The eulogies start with their date and place of birth, then go on to discuss how their desire to join the jihad developed, their efforts to get to “jihad lands,” and their deaths.
One relatively new theme, however, appears to be a call for Kurds to join the jihad in Afghanistan, along with Turks, with an emphasis on their shared religion. This is new because Kurdish jihadi fighters are not common in Afghanistan. The few radical Islamic groups that are thought to include Kurds have been active mostly in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan; the main one being the Kurdistan Brigades — a group linked to the Salafi-Jihadi Ansar al-Islam movement, the insurgent group bombed by US forces during the 2003 American invasion.
Turkey, a NATO member and a secular country with free elections and a liberal economy, is not a natural breeding ground for Islamic militancy. The country’s proximity to and influence in Central Asia, along with Turkish linguistic, religious, and ethnic affinities with Uzbeks and others in the region, however, make Turks a potential target audience for jihadist support and recruitment. Over the past several years, a number of Turks have been killed while waging jihad against NATO, US, and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. [See LWJ report, Turkish fighters in the Islamic Jihad Union.] Other Turks been arrested in foiled plots to carry out attacks against European and US targets in Europe.