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Anwar al Haq Mujahid, Mastermind Behind Bin Laden’s Escape, Is Back in Afghanistan With His Own Taliban Army

Anwar al Haq Mujahid, a pacesetter of Osama bin Laden’s former “Black Guard,” who helped plan and orchestrate his escape from intense U.S. bombing at Tora Bora in 2001 and whose underlings had been despatched to jail in Guantanamo Bay, is again in control of Taliban fighters throughout jap Afghanistan, The Every day Beast has realized.

“Anwar al Haq Mujahid, the son of Younus Khalis, has returned with a whole lot of automobiles and 1000’s of supporters to his household’s seat of energy and to a heroic welcome in Jalalabad,” stated a not too long ago deposed senior Afghan intelligence official. “Everybody who labored intently with al Qaeda in 2001 is again in his entourage, which arrived by air from Doha to assist set up the brand new authorities in Kabul after which travelled overland this previous week from Kabul to Jalalabad. He’s now in control of each Taliban and overseas fighters in Japanese Afghanistan, together with a Chechen contingent.”

A senior U.N. political official and a Swiss-Italian journalist who was on the bottom within the province confirmed the return of Anwar to Jalalabad final Friday in addition to his position as a navy commander. Based on sources, the revered chief of the “Tora Bora Entrance” was seen every day holding courtroom in his clan’s sprawling reception corridor on plush Afghan carpets as a whole lot of fighters and villagers streamed to his residence to take heed to his knowledge and recommendation on the implementation of Sharia regulation. One other one among Bin Laden’s former Black Guards, Amin al Haq, additionally not too long ago made a triumphant return to Jalalabad, as first reported by The Long War Journal.

The sources stated the 2 Black Guard commanders—Anwar, a pensive mental and Amin, an ebullient bully—are exerting newfound authority from their respective fiefdoms within the orange groves outdoors of the lowland Afghan metropolis of Jalalabad. Their very presence in Jalalabad, bin Laden’s outdated hometown, is a testomony to the U.S. authorities’s misguided efforts to remove terror in Afghanistan—and throughout elements of the Center East. Sources instructed The Every day Beast that Afghans passing by means of Jalalabad from Kabul and searching for refuge in neighboring Pakistan, notably Hazara minorities, reported heavy harassment and intimidation from troopers underneath the command of each males this week.

Anwar ul Haq Mujahid, who managed bin Laden’s meticulously-planned retreat from Jalalabad into Tora Bora in November 2001 as documented in a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigation in 2009, and Amin ul Haq, who laid the groundwork for the battle of Tora Bora and helped usher the Saudi sheikh to secure haven in Pakistan for a decade, are imposing unpopular Sharia legal guidelines and brazenly praising their former al Qaeda associates, in accordance with Rossi.

The affect of the previous Black Guard contingent within the Taliban’s new energy scheme comes as UN Secretary Normal Antonio Guterres used his private affect to garner worldwide pledges of over a billion {dollars} Monday to assist bail out the Afghan Taliban authorities and the broader Afghan public from the nation’s mounting humanitarian disaster. In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought to reassure American senators this week that he’s liaising with the UN to “be certain U.S. help goes to the folks of Afghanistan,” however to not the Taliban, insisting rigorously that the Taliban’s new authorities “contains many key members who’ve very difficult observe data,” and that the U.S. was guarding towards the “re-emergence” of worldwide terrorism in Afghanistan.

The 2 leaders arrived individually per week aside, with Anwar arriving most not too long ago into Jalalabad. Each males have a whole lot of fighters at their command, at the same time as some Afghans expressed anger that their former tormentors had been allowed to shuttle out of Pakistan the place they sought refuge after the U.S. invasion. Pakistan’s intelligence service (ISI) has additionally been lengthy accused of harboring bin Laden in a guarded compound near their preeminent navy academy in Abbottabad till he was lastly killed in an unannounced U.S. Particular Forces raid in 2011.

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Professional-Taliban supporters maintain up a poster of Osama bin Laden throughout a rally October 1, 2001 within the city of Quetta, Pakistan.

Paula Bronstein/Getty

The participation of bin Laden’s core of former Afghan supporters—after al Qaeda’s congratulatory message to the Taliban on their August victory and the return this week of bin Laden’s right hand man, Egyptian Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri to jihadist airwaves)—is an indication that the Taliban management desires to have its cake and eat it too within the city the place bin Laden’s wives as soon as hung his underwear out to dry. The Taliban will proceed to disclaim they’re nonetheless allied with al Qaeda, stated Afghan, U.S. and UN sources, whereas raking in help from the West in addition to from less-known rich backers within the Center East.

“Al Qaeda stays in Afghanistan and intently related to the Taliban: These are information documented by the UN and others,” former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann, the President of the American Academy of Diplomacy, instructed The Every day Beast. Neumann added that, “Al Qaeda branches as distant as North Africa are celebrating the Taliban victory in Afghanistan.” A special report by the UN’s Assist and Sanctions Monitoring Crew launched earlier than the U.S. navy’s full retreat on Aug. 30, whereas warning of a possible Taliban takeover, additionally decided that the Taliban is “intently aligned” with al Qaeda, including that the allied teams have additionally strengthened navy and monetary bonds by means of marriage.

The position of the returning Japanese Shura leaders in aiding and abetting al Qaeda just isn’t practically as effectively understood because the actions of the Taliban’s youthful Inside Minister and suicide bombing mastermind Sirajuddin Haqqani. The ties of the 2 older males return a long time. Each Anwar and Amin are two hens that helped lay the proverbial golden eggs for bin Laden and his plans to take down the World Commerce Heart towers. There could also be no better Afghan bond with al Qaeda than that claimed by the Pashtun clan of the deceased Younus Khalis, the daddy of Anwar ul Haq Mujahid, who’s fluent in Arabic, and valued by the Taliban as a profitable fundraiser.

Anwar, who for years ran the multi-media “Tora Bora Entrance” from a secret base in Pakistan instructed Swiss-Italian reporter Filippo Rossi that bin Laden “sought sanctuary with us in 1996, and as our visitor inside our Pashtunwali code of honor we had been obligated to guard him. He was a Holy Warrior, like us, and a pal.” The skinny, bespectacled, gold-turbaned Pashtun chief’s calm demeanor contrasts sharply with the extra boastful persona of his affiliate Amin ul Gul, usually referred to erroneously prior to now as “bin Laden’s bodyguard.”

Reporting out of Jalalabad as a journalist amid intense U.S. bombing in November and December 2001, I used to be capable of observe and doc the conduct of each these males in the direction of al Qaeda. Early on, my interpreter penetrated the Khalis household compound and heard the clan’s patriarch Younus Khalis state that the U.S. would certainly fail to overcome Afghanistan and take down its said prey. As B-52s circled in determine eights overhead, a number of dozen U.S. servicemen assembled close by to work as “spotters” for the air energy offered to a feuding Afghan contingent of the Taliban’s sworn enemies. The efforts led by these Afghan guns-for-hire, because the U.S. public realized on reflection, had been half and parcel of a flawed method to taking down the world’s most needed terrorist “useless or alive” as President George W. Bush had earlier vowed.

Hasty preparations for an escape to the White Mountains started two days earlier than the autumn of Kabul on Nov. 12 when bin Laden rallied his forces at a sumptuous kebab feast on the Taliban’s then-intelligence headquarters in Jalalabad.

“The People can bomb all they need, however they’ll by no means catch Osama.”

Bin Laden, wearing free grey Afghan clothes and sporting his signature camouflage jacket, spoke in comfortable, well mannered tones to assembled followers, handing all of them money envelopes value tens of 1000’s of {dollars}, a down fee on his personal eventual getaway. In Jalalabad, Al Qaeda’s management, in shut session with Anwar ul Haq Mujahid and bin Laden’s private guard Amin ul Haq, laid out the group’s secret plans to maneuver into the cave and bunker advanced referred to as Tora Bora. The burly Amin ul Haq had earlier helped put together the fortified redoubt for bin Laden’s arrival.

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Members of the Taliban military journey atop a tank October 15, 1996 close to Kabul, Afghanistan.

Roger Lemoyne/Liaison/Getty

Cradling a pug-nosed Kalakov machine gun, Bin Laden stood with Anwar ul Haq Mujahid amid an immense convoy after the feast day at 9:30 pm. Witnesses stated the entourage started its hasty retreat with bin Laden using alongside his Afghan hosts in a hatch-backed Corolla. The fleeing al Qaeda and Taliban fighters snaked their means down a bumpy dust highway that ran by means of outdated battlefields and dusty villages and into the Tora Bora base. Anwar’s personal deputy Awol Gul boasted to us on Nov. 25 that “the People can bomb all they need, however they’ll by no means catch Osama.” (Gul, whose lawyer later petitioned me to establish his consumer as a small participant, would die with no trial after ten years within the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay jail.)

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Osama Bin Laden seems on Al-Jazeera Tv praising the assaults of September eleventh.

Maher Attar/Sygma by way of Getty

Although bin Laden had earlier vowed that he would struggle to the demise, his retreat was soon being planned from within the caves of Tora Bora, the place his personal Saudi chef later confessed that he had cringed in concern from intense bombing whereas cooking for bin Laden and eventually fled himself with out his boss’ permission. Bin Laden, taking heed, bid his personal troops farewell on Nov. 26. As shortly as he had arrived to handle his troops, bin Laden vanished into the scraggly pine forests led by his bodyguard Amin ul Haq, whose position within the getaway would earn him the affections and respect of Taliban followers in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the place he additionally can be briefly “jailed” between 2008 and 2011.

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A mujahadeen soldier picks up an merchandise on the entrance to a former Al-Qaeda cave December 24, 2001 in Tora Bora, Afghanistan.

Chris Hondros/Getty

Bin Laden, in accordance with a number of fighters and a detailed Saudi affiliate, later radioed again to Tora Bora’s central nerve middle, urging his followers to maintain combating, an effort that might purchase him time for a trek out of the White Mountains by means of the snow.

Justice, after all, was by no means served within the chilly wintry air beneath an armada of U.S. air energy. Practically three-dozen U.S. Particular Forces, their faces wrapped in black and white bandanas, laser goal designators in hand, regarded on in dismay because the Afghans, whom the CIA had paid excessively to “hunt” bin Laden, didn’t nook their man.

Over this previous weekend, one other former U.S. Ambassador and commanding normal in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he believed Tora Bora to be a clearly missed alternative that might have—if solely it had been executed correctly—helped to quickly wind down the $1.5-2 trillion U.S. misadventure in Afghanistan lengthy earlier than it might morph into America’s “Ceaselessly Struggle.” Like different senior U.S. commanders, who’ve spoken wistfully of the failures at Tora Bora, Eikenberry, whom I had served underneath within the State Division on the U.S. Embassy, insisted the important thing to getting bin Laden would have been to insert U.S. floor forces to encompass al Qaeda and seal the mountain passes.

The aftermath of the multi-billion-dollar failure at Tora Bora, abetted by the main lights of the Japanese Shura with Anwar and Amin within the vanguard, has left the Afghan public at present groaning underneath the whims of non secular ideologues and home terrorists. Throughout the Center East, jihadists are assembling with renewed zeal to plan their very own subsequent adventures into Afghanistan and, in some circumstances, seize Afghan wives.

Regardless of assurances from the U.S. secretary of state, many analysts imagine there may be little hope of serving to the broader Afghan public so long as the Taliban stays in cost.

“The worldwide donor neighborhood is taking an enormous danger assuming that the Taliban will distribute help in a impartial, need-based means,” Jonathan Terra, a political scientist, former State Division official in Afghanistan, and battle analyst for NATO, instructed The Every day Beast. “They’re a brutal, self-interested, largely ethnic Pashtun Pakistani proxy authorities whose leaders had been capable of seize energy solely by means of monetary assist, sanctuary and the backing of Pakistani armed forces.”

Many Afghans nonetheless on the bottom insist, nonetheless, that help to the general public must proceed. “Our major well being care system, which noticed immense enhancements during the last twenty years, was being financed by the World Financial institution, however has now been defunded,” Dr. Mir Dost Mohammad Zadran, an urologist and transplant specialist, who heads the International Afghan Medical and Dental Physician’s Affiliation (FAMDA) in Kabul, instructed The Every day Beast. “We’d like the world’s assist right here in Afghanistan at present and as quickly as heavenly doable.”

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