The Afghan Taliban praised suicide attacks and justified the use of the tactic just days before opening their “political office” in Doha, Qatar that is serving as an unofficial embassy for the group.
On June 12, the Taliban lauded suicide bombings on their website, Voice of Jihad, six days before news of the official opening of their office in Qatar. The article, titled “Let’s Understand ‘Suicide Bombing,'” was written by Taliban officials Ikrimah Anwar and Maulana Muawiya Hussaini.
In the article, Anwar and Hussaini claim to have carried out an “independent, impartial study of what “Suicide Bombing” (“Martyrdom Operations”) really is.” The two Taliban officials then justify the use of suicide bombers by making religious arguments from the Quran and Hadith, as well as the writings of Islamic scholars over the centuries.
The Taliban officials proceed to describe suicide attacks as “heroic operations of the Mujahideen” and recommend that the tactic should be referred to as “martyrdom operations.” They also accuse the media of spreading “false propaganda against martyrdom operations … because the operations have their basis in the Shariah,” or Islamic law.
After a lengthy defense and justification of the use of suicide bombers, Anwar and Hussaini conclude that “‘martyrdom operations’ are one of the greatest of praiseworthy acts in the Shariah if they are carried out according to their conditions, under the guidance of pious Scholars and Mujahideen.”
The Taliban’s release of their justification for suicide attacks, just days before the opening of the political office which has served as their de facto embassy, serves as a further indication that the Taliban have no intention of abandoning the tactic that was introduced into Afghanistan by their ally, al Qaeda.
Nonetheless, the US and the West, which are drawing down forces in Afghanistan, are eager to negotiate a settlement with the Taliban, and have dropped demands that the Taliban first denounce al Qaeda and renounce international terrorism.
The Taliban signaled in early 2012 that they had no intentions of disowning al Qaeda, and refused to denounce international terrorism. A Taliban spokesman even said that al Qaeda is officially operating under the banner of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
“They [al Qaeda] are among the first groups and banners that pledged allegiance to the Emir of the Believers [Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban], and they operate in Afghanistan under the flag of the Islamic Emirate,” a spokesman to jihadist forums known as Abdullah al Wazir said in February 2012.
“They are an example of discipline and accuracy in the execution of missions and operations entrusted to them by the Military Command of the Islamic Emirate,” Wazir continued, calling al Qaeda “lions in war.” [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda ‘operates in Afghanistan under the flag of the Islamic Emirate’: Taliban spokesman, and Threat Matrix report, Taliban expand list of demands, refuse to denounce ‘international terrorism.]’
On July 4, the Taliban issued another statement on Voice of Jihad, essentially defending the creation of the group’s “political office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” in Qatar, which it claims to have established “to protect the country’s independence and national unity and secure peace and security.”