By Raja Furqan Ahmed
After the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan, Muslim from all over the world were encouraged by the United State and its allies to come Pakistan and join the Afghan Jihad for the noble religious cause against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). The Trauma started in 1979 with the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR. It was expected that the ambition of USSR (now Russia) was to access the Pakistan warm water of the Indian Ocean through the Arab sea. It is also a fact that USSR was twice invited by the Afghan Politicians but they refused. Later on, the third invitation from the Afghan Government leads towards the invasion of USSR.
A Jihad was launched in which 20,000 to 30,000 Mujahedeen from all over the Islamic world participated. Afghan warlords and their militias were armed and provided financial aid. The jihad continued for 10 years until the disintegration of USSR.
Due to the internal as well as the economical issues USSR withdraws in a hurry leaving behind heavy weapons. The united state and European countries were also quick to leave the area.
During the Soviet occupation, Pakistan and Afghanistan were hosting the mujahedeen with the help of the USA and Saudi Arabia. In 1982, a Palestinian Dr Abdullah Azzam and a group of spiritual leaders established the organization called Maktaba al Khidmat in Peshawar. Osama Bin Ladin was Azzam’s deputy. The organization main objectives were to provide financial, logical and other support to the Afghan Mujahedeen. As Osama himself belongs to the elite family so the majority of the donation came from Osama’ family. It should be clear that this did not happen secretly but CIA and ISI were also encouraging and helping them along.
However, mid-1980’s Osama started disagreeing with his mentor Dr Abdullah Azzam. Osama wants to participate in the war and became a Mujahidin instead of donating for the cause. Osama bin Ladin formed his own force of a few Arab Fighters. Initially, it was popular with the name of “Arab Brigade.” In his force, the fighters came from our entire Arab world to fight for GOD, so they become martyrdom happily. It can be said that the Afghan fighter was much likely to return to their villages for harvest crops, get married, attend the funerals but the Arab fighters were nowhere to go back.
In 1986 Osama set up his own base closer to a soviet garrison in eastern Afghanistan. Later on, in 1987 he fought battle against soviet in Jaji. That battle was highlighted around the world. Soon Osama met with an Egyptian medical doctor Ayman al Zawahiri (Currently leader of Al-Qaeda), who was working in Peshawar treating the mujahedeen.
In 1988 Osama bin laden formed Al-Qaeda. The name Al-Qaeda al sulbah term first used by Dr Abdullah Azzam in April 1988 in an article for a magazine named Jihad. In his article he emphasis on the idea to form an organization that would work for social services in the Muslim world. In his article, he never linked his idea with the military sense. Osama took the name suggested by Azzam and formed Al-Qaeda, dropping “Al sulbah.” A year later, Abdullah Azzam was assassinated and suspected that Osama was behind this.
In 1996 after the Taliban took over the control of Afghanistan Osama arrived in Jalalabad. Arab from various countries who left after the Afghan Jihad started returning to put hands with Osama. Al-Qaeda comprises a shura under which there are four committees Military, Media, Finance and religious affairs.
The event of 9/11 changes the political dimension of the world. Due to the US invasion in Afghanistan, Taliban and Al-Qaeda members flee from the scene. Many members relocated the mountains especially the Federal Administration tribal Areas (FATA) in the North-West of Pakistan. As Pakistan shares its western border with Afghanistan, ethnically and culturally very close to each other.
Despite Pakistan faces the serious security issue. Pakistan has also captured 689 Al-Qaeda members and handed over 369 to the USA and received bounties totalling of Million dollars.
Later on, Abbottabad operations also raise a question regarding the role of Pakistan in the war on terror but Pakistan has suffered a lot including loss of more than 70 thousand people in the name of a war on terror. Economical conditions also lead to the situation more worst.
Last year, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran khan during a parliamentary session called Osama bin Ladin a martyred which shows the intension of the state that we have lost more than 70 thousands innocent people and over 3 generations suffered but we did not get the lesson. Calling a terrorist a Martyred is the insult of those innocent people who let their lives for the country.
We cannot deny the presence of Al-Qaeda as it is still active in Afghanistan and somehow in the Middle East to and sooner it can be in Pakistan if no serious security measure is taken. It also needs time to neutralize but firstly states should stop supporting this sort of terrorist groups. Now the world should realise that by creating this sort of terrorist groups only for the short term gain is long term pain.
(The writer is a student of International Relations and Freelance journalist currently based in Islamabad, Pakistan. He can be reached at [email protected] or @furqanraja1122 on Twitter.)