[ by Charles Cameron — screengrabs from a very recently posted video, mostly Taliban with just a smidgeon of NSA ]
[edited to add: please see warning in comment below]
Scary, hunh? Yeah?
No, this is not from a NSA / Prism video — I’ll have just a little more on that topic later.
Nor is it from your local mafiosi…
In fact, it’s from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan…
i.e the Afghan Taliban.
And it’s addressed to Saakashvili and the people of Georgia (FSU), telling them:
What interests me here is this: I tend to think of the Islamic Emirate as mainly Afghanistan-centric, so viewing this video I wondered whether they’ve announced similar intent to raid or attack other nations. Alex Strick van Linschoten responded to my query as to whether he’d seen this sort of message before:
@hipbonegamer a few instances, but always hyperbole, and often tied to commanders (like the Dadullah brothers) who are unrepresentative.
— Alex Strick v L (@strickvl) June 9, 2013
He also pointed me to his book, An Enemy We Created: The Myth of the Taliban-Al Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan, where (p. 277 in my uncorrected proof) we read:
It was around this time that Dadullah started to make increasingly strident statements of support for a global jihad, one in which attacks in Europe and the United States were not to be ruled out.101 Dadullah was, in contrast to most other Talibs of his generation, a ‘true believer’ in this rhetoric. Some commentators have suggested this is pathological, but a possible explanation can be found in the time he spent with foreign jihadis both on the northern fronts during the 1990s as well as post-2001, when he was in South Waziristan. He was frequently used as a go-between for the Taliban in Pakistan and retained ties to the foreign al-Qaeda affiliates as well.
So this kind of thing is not entirely unknown, and indeed “revenge” strikes outside Afghan territory would fit the model Dadullah himself proposed for strikes within Afghanistan (pp. 273-73):
Our tactics now are hit and run; we attack certain locations, kill the enemies of Allah there, and retreat to safe bases in the mountains to preserve our mujahidin. This tactic disrupts and weakens the enemies of Allah and in the same time allows us to be on the offensive. We decide the time and place of our attacks; in this way the enemy is always guessing.
Mullah Dadullah died in 2007, but it seems his thinking still exerts some influence…
** ** **
And NSA — or Nonesuch as I was taught to call it, back in the day?
I stand by the idea I tweeted to JM Berger yesterday:
need a blog called “three days into the story” that discards what turns out to be fog & links best re breaking news @intelwire eg NSA
— hipbonegamer (@hipbonegamer) June 8, 2013
I’d only add that three days doesn’t seem long enough in this case, and that when the dust settles we may still find ourselves holding just a few loose ends of a multiply-tangled web…