Media Activities Of The Taliban
The Media Activities Of The Taliban Islamic Movement
By Al-Somood Magazine.
Published and translated by Al-Somood Magazine
Since its inception as a military jihadi movement, the Taliban Islamic movement has recognized the extraordinary importance of the news media in deciding [the outcome of] conflicts, in particular, ideological conflicts. It is convinced that the media are among the most important elements of psychological warfare - and the war of morale, which is by no means less important than the field war. Accordingly, the movement undertook to begin its media activity, together with its military activity, against the invading crusader forces at the time of the latter's invasion of Afghanistan. The movement appointed a unit consisting of the journalistic cadres who formerly occupied important media positions within the Government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
The [media] unit officially began its journalistic activities on 23/09/2002; the activities consisted of the following:
1. The setting up of an internet website, speaking on behalf of the Islamic Emirate.
2. Issue of the monthly magazine Sirk in the Pashtu and Dari languages.
3. The quarterly magazine Murshal [The Trench], specializing in the publication of military news and reports.
4. Issue of the weekly newspaper ad-Dami^r [The Conscience] in Pashtu and Dari.
5. Publication and distribution of CDs containing jihadi films.
6. Publication and distribution of [audio] tapes of jihadi songs and [news] reports.
7. Contact with both local and world [TV] channels and other news media.
8. The collection and gathering of field news, then the translation thereof into Arabic, English and Urdu.
9. Translation and publication of Islamic books, especially those concerning jihad and resistance [to occupation].
Initially, the media unit was conducting its activities under the supervision of Sa'ada Qudratu'llah Jamal, who held the position Minister of Media and Culture in the period of the Islamic Emirate Government. Then Sheikh Ustaz Muhammad Yasir was appointed official in charge of this unit on 08/05/2004.
Likewise, Brother Mufti Latifu'llah Hakimi was appointed its official spokesperson, in which capacity Brother Hakimi would proclaim the continued pursuit of the jihadi course by the Muslim Afghan people, under the leadership of Commander-of-the-Faithful Mullah Omar (God protect him), against all the occupiers and their minions; and this he would do by contacting the news agencies and TV stations.
This unit led the movement's journalistic struggle against the crusader occupation, and contributed toward directing the media battle against all the various, rancorous Western media [outlets]; as the world crusader alliance led by America had launched an ideological attack against Afghanistan, besides its military onslaught. And in this attack they spared no effort, but did whatever they could.
In the context of these sorely expended crusader efforts, the Foreign Relations Committee of the American Congress agreed in November 2001 to instigate a media war against the Taliban through the setting-up of a 24-hour "Radio Free Afghanistan", as well as the creation of radio stations and television channels. The Republican Congressman Ed Royce, who proposed the project, said at the time:
"Directing radio and television programs toward Afghanistan will help us win the media war against the Taliban."
The Western media set out to distort the public image of the Taliban movement by stirring up a number of issues related to the Afghan question. However, through its active spokespersons, the movement succeeded in repelling these attacks using its own media. Brother Mufti Hakim had played the critically effective role in this serious confrontation, at a time when the efforts of all the enemies were concentrated against the movement.
By the writ of Almighty God, that the enemies were able to capture Sheikh Ustaz Muhammad Yasir. The enemy accounted his capture a painful blow to the movement, but God (Great and Exalted) caused their hopes to be disappointed through his replacement by other active brothers of the media unit, similarly able and qualified in this field.
Only a short space of time elapsed before Brother Latif al-Hakimi was arrested, and the brothers Qari Muhammad Yusuf "Ahmadi" and Dr Muhammad Hanif were appointed the media unit's official spokespersons for the movement. By the Grace of God, and through His Succour, the movement's media activities did not come to an end. Indeed, they were in a state of forward progress, and that owing, first, to the Goodness of God, and then to the efforts of the brothers who took upon themselves the task of achieving that progress.
In the year 1427 AH the media centre issued Alsomood [The Resistance] magazine in Arabic, under the supervision of Sa'ada Nusayru'ddin 'Herawi' (may God protect him). It is worth mentioning that Sheikh Nusayru'ddin "Herawi" is considered among the most important and pre-eminent personages and jihadi leaders in the movement at present. So too previously, he occupied very high and important positions, and acquired the honour of [being] "Secretary of State" in the Bureau of the Commander-of-the-Faithful at the time of the Islamic Emirate.
Seeing as he enjoys a special status and dignity in his relation to the Commander-of-the-Faithful (may God protect him), and, furthermore, undertakes the accomplishment of important military and administrative activities, he has become famous among the leadership of the Taliban and among the Mujahideen as the "Right Hand" of the Commander-of-the-Faithful (God protect him). Accordingly, he is respected by all.
Security circumstances have necessitated that he use the name "Herawi" instead of his real name; as he works in more than one sphere, his original name appears at the head of the Americans' list of the main wanted persons belonging to the Taliban. We content ourselves here with revealing this much of his identity and no more, for the sake of his protection; and we implore God (High and Exalted) to help him in his undertakings in noble jihadi causes, and to grant him success, and to protect him through His Generous Protection.
Sheikh Nusayru'ddin "Herawi", in addition to the founding and publication of Alsomood magazine, has created a sister website at: www.alsomood.r8.org; this he did on 01-02-2007.
Likewise, the magazine office has other media projects, such as the production and issue of jihadi films in Arabic and the local language, and their publication in the Islamic world through websites and Islamic jihadi forums. In this way, Taliban has been able (with God's Help) to take the battle to the heart of the enemy, achieving this, specifically, by the broadcast, through world and local media outlets, of the pictures of jihadi operations against crusader soldiers.
Taliban continues to conduct significant and notable media activities besides those we have already mentioned, such as the creation of news websites in Pashtu and Arabic, as well as the issue of newspapers and magazines, all of which has given the movement a broad media presence.
We mention here some of these activities, as examples:
1. 'Azm [Resolution/Purpose] monthly magazine
This magazine was established on 25th May 2002 by brother Nasiruddin al-Nasir. It published articles, reports, and accurate military statistics from behind the frontline in Pashtu and Dari. Its preparations for publication got as far as the eighth issue but it stopped publication after the seizure/capture of its editors on 16th April 2003. 'Azm magazine is considered one of the most successful of the movement's publications because it was distinguished in publishing extensive essays specializing in the Afghan situation and carrying out interviews with the leaders in the field and also the detailed reports from the trenches.
Newsweek, the American magazine - after the detention of its founder - wrote a detailed report [Newsweek, Periscope (March 22nd 2004)] about 'Azm magazine and its important role in the movement's first media appearance [i.e. it was important in establishing for the Taliban, for the first time, a media presence].
2. Tawakkal [Trust] magazine
This magazine was established by the martyred brother Mullah Mohammad Hussein Mustas'ad (may God (Most-High) have mercy on him) following the capture of the founders of 'Azm magazine in accordance with the saying of God Most-High [in the Qur'an], "then, when thou has taken a decision, put thy trust in God," taking it [the saying] as a good omen. The publication of this magazine continues in Pashtu to this day. However, it be delayed from its specified date [of publication] following the martyrdom of its founder brother Mohammad Hussein Mustas'ad (may God have mercy) in a fierce battle face to face with American forces in Zabul province on 22nd July 2007. The martyred brother Mullah Mohammad Hussein Mustas'ad (may God have mercy on him) was considered one of the movement's preeminent scholarly and journalistic personages of the movement since he left behind a great wealth of his scholarly and cultural writings; and we mention here, in particular, his well know n four-volume work entitled "The Taliban in Afghanistan - from the rightly-guided caliphate to the Islamic Emirate." This weighty book is a comprehensive encyclopedia of the Afghan Taliban movement since the author (may God have mercy on him) explores all the stages of the growth of the movement and its development. He also discusses the details of the formation of the Islamic Emirate and its administrative, political and military affairs and its relationships with [other] Islamic movements and the countries of the Islamic world and others.
Brother Mustas'id (may God have mercy on him) held important scholarly and administrative positions at the time of the Islamic Emirate government, such as President of the Central Academy in Kabul and Deputy Minister of Finance.
3. Basoun [Revolution] newspaper
This newspaper was established by brother Mullah Hussein Khan in the last days of the month of October in 2002 and was issued on a fortnightly basis in Pashtu and Dari. Its publication continued for a whole year but it stopped on account of security conditions.
4. Tora Bora magazine
This magazine was established by brother Ghazi Ajmal in 2003 and is issued every 3 months in Pashtu and Farsi. Its pages included articles, announcements and military reports. It enjoys great fame among other jihadi publications in Afghanistan.
5. Monthly Istaqamat [Uprightness] magazine
Istaqamat magazine was established on 3rd November 2005 by brother Hamidullah Hamed and this magazine was published in 3 languages: Pashtu, Dari and English. It stopped publication following the third issue on account of straitened security circumstances.
6. I'idaad [Preparation] website in Pashtu on the internet
7. Nafir [Trumpet/Horn] website in Arabic on the internet
They both [also I'idaad website] were closed down and stopped from publishing after 6 months. That happened after their closing on the internet by the enemies.
8. Mujahid Ghag [Voice of the Mujahid] magazine
This magazine was established on 6th August 2004 by brother Suleymankhil. It is published every 2 months in Pashtu.
All the supervisors and those who published and established these media/informational publications are journalists and followers of the Islamic Emirate, even if they prefer to publish these magazines and newspapers not officially as spokespersons for the movement's media unit.