A Swat Rebel Speaks (part 2)

Posted: 7th August 2009 by Qandeel Siddique in Pakistan

In my previous post we saw how Commander Hafizullah viewed the struggle of the Swati Taliban. Later in the video, he says some interesting things about how the militants acquire support, money and weapons.

By feeding off the social and economic frustrations of the local populace in the tribal belt, the Swati militants may have managed to garner a certain amount of local support. For example, by taking over the Minogra emerald mine in Swat, the TTP offered the poor locals an income. Similarly, after seizing the Shamozai and Gujjar Killi mines, the Taliban employed a large number of local labourers. Speaking with a BBC Urdu journalist, a Taliban commander and caretaker of the mines said:

“Every year the government would deceitfully claim that the mine business was suffering a loss and therefore nothing could be offered to the locals; whereas, in reality, all the profit was going in the pockets of officers and ‘bigwigs’ […] Two months ago when we took control of this area… and we opened the doors for the local workers… and 1/3 of the proceeds go to the Taliban while 2/3 is distributed to the workers.”

Funding: The support of the locals is, according to Hafizullah, extended to providing the TT-S with money:

“Everyone knows that when Maulana Fazlullah asks for chanda (donations) through his FM channel, then, within minutes 1-2 crore (10-20 million) chanda is raised.”

In addition to such donations, stealing (vehicles and weaponry) from the infidels is cited as another source that has allowed TT-S to engage in a protracted battle against the army.  He gave no mention of support from their Waziristani counterpart or external actors.

ISI link: As was mentioned in As-Sahab’s introductory section on Hafizullah, he was previously linked with the ISI, most probably during his fight in Kashmir and Afghanistan. However, he severed all relations after his arrest in 2004. In response to the question “What message do you have for organizations working under the auspice of the ISI as in Kashrmi, etc.?” Hafizullah responds:

“We would ask them to discontinue fighting for the ISI. It is not the lower ranks who are aware of their links to the ISI, rather only the upper echelons are privy to such information – and they are the ones earning money in the crores. Their weapon supply comes from the ISI. We want them to join the TTP for Allah and to attain paradise.”

True to tradition, Hafizullah ends the interview by requesting the locals to “give us their young for jihad. And the elderly and women pray for them and for Islam to reach every corner of the world.”

And finally, “Our jihad will continue till doomsday.”