As the U.S. is relying on the Taliban to keep Afghanistan from being a haven for terrorists in the wake of an agreement between the two parties, the Taliban lauds Mullah Omar’s defense of Osama bin Laden after Al Qaeda’s attack on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Taliban praises Omar’s “historical statement” in a eulogy marking the seventh anniversary of his death. The statement, titled “A legendary leader, the Omar of our time,” was published on April 23 on the Taliban’s official website, Voice of Jihad.
“When the Americans invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the leader of the faithful Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid (may Allah have mercy on him) made this historical statement which still reverberate across the globe due to its truthfulness,” the Taliban notes.
“It is because of his historical stand in front the global coalition of invaders under the leadership of the Americans that Afghans resisted and brought down another idol of this age. Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid (may Allah have mercy on him) showed that Afghans will never bow down before any foreigner and will giver precedence to Islamic values above anything else.”
The Taliban statement is referencing Omar’s defiance in handing over Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda’s founder and first emir, to the U.S. after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack. Omar’s decision led to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the toppling of the Taliban’s regime, which is known as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
In an interview with Voice of America (which was published by The Guardian) on Sept. 26, 2001, less than two weeks prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan), Omar also predicted that the Taliban, with “the promise of God,” would withstand the U.S. invasion. He refused to surrender Osama bin Laden, even if it cost the Taliban’s control over much of Afghanistan. The interview is excerpted below:
VOA: Do you know that the U.S. has announced a war on terrorism?
Omar: I am considering two promises. One is the promise of God, the other is that of Bush. The promise of God is that my land is vast. If you start a journey on God’s path, you can reside anywhere on this earth and will be protected… The promise of Bush is that there is no place on earth where you can hide that I cannot find you. We will see which one of these two promises is fulfilled.
VOA: But aren’t you afraid for the people, yourself, the Taliban, your country?
Omar: Almighty God… is helping the believers and the Muslims. God says he will never be satisfied with the infidels. In terms of worldly affairs, America is very strong. Even if it were twice as strong or twice that, it could not be strong enough to defeat us. We are confident that no one can harm us if God is with us.
VOA: So you won’t give Osama bin Laden up?
Omar: No. We cannot do that. If we did, it means we are not Muslims… that Islam is finished. If we were afraid of attack, we could have surrendered him the last time we were threatened and attacked. So America can hit us again, and this time we don’t even have a friend.
This is not the first time the Taliban has celebrated Omar’s decision to defend bin Laden. In Oct. 2019, as the U.S. government was desperately trying to get the Taliban to negotiate a withdrawal agreement, the Taliban praised Omar’s defiance of the U.S., and directly referenced the Voice of America interview. [See LWJ report, Taliban commemorates 18 years of war that was fought to defend Al Qaeda.]
In addition, as recently as July 2019, the Taliban justified the 9/11 attack on the U.S. as a “heavy slap on their dark faces.” The Taliban said this while showing video of United Airlines Flight 175 slamming into the World Trade Center. [See LWJ report, Taliban justifies 9/11 attack, blaming America’s ‘interventionist policies’.]
The Taliban flaunts Omar’s defiance of the U.S. and his refusal to turn over bin Laden even as the U.S. claims that, as part of the so-called “peace deal” between the two parties, the Taliban will be an effective counterterrorism partner. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed one day after the signing of the deal that the Taliban would help “destroy” al Qaeda. The Taliban has made no such promises, and has merely stated it will not allow Afghanistan to be used by terror groups as a launchpad to conduct attacks agains the U.S. and its allies.
The Taliban made the same such promise about constraining Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11, and clearly failed to do so.
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