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Dateline, June 5th 2012

[ by Charles Cameron — screengrabs from a very recently posted video, mostly Taliban with just a smidgeon of NSA ]

[edited to add: please see warning in comment below]

Scary, hunh? Yeah?


No, this is not from a NSA / Prism video — I’ll have just a little more on that topic later.

Nor is it from your local mafiosi

In fact, it’s from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

i.e the Afghan Taliban.

And it’s addressed to Saakashvili and the people of Georgia (FSU), telling them:



What interests me here is this: I tend to think of the Islamic Emirate as mainly Afghanistan-centric, so viewing this video I wondered whether they’ve announced similar intent to raid or attack other nations. Alex Strick van Linschoten responded to my query as to whether he’d seen this sort of message before:

He also pointed me to his book, An Enemy We Created: The Myth of the Taliban-Al Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan, where (p. 277 in my uncorrected proof) we read:

It was around this time that Dadullah started to make increasingly strident statements of support for a global jihad, one in which attacks in Europe and the United States were not to be ruled out.101 Dadullah was, in contrast to most other Talibs of his generation, a ‘true believer’ in this rhetoric. Some commentators have suggested this is pathological, but a possible explanation can be found in the time he spent with foreign jihadis both on the northern fronts during the 1990s as well as post-2001, when he was in South Waziristan. He was frequently used as a go-between for the Taliban in Pakistan and retained ties to the foreign al-Qaeda affiliates as well.

So this kind of thing is not entirely unknown, and indeed “revenge” strikes outside Afghan territory would fit the model Dadullah himself proposed for strikes within Afghanistan (pp. 273-73):

Our tactics now are hit and run; we attack certain locations, kill the enemies of Allah there, and retreat to safe bases in the mountains to preserve our mujahidin. This tactic disrupts and weakens the enemies of Allah and in the same time allows us to be on the offensive. We decide the time and place of our attacks; in this way the enemy is always guessing.

Mullah Dadullah died in 2007, but it seems his thinking still exerts some influence…

** ** **

And NSA — or Nonesuch as I was taught to call it, back in the day?

I stand by the idea I tweeted to JM Berger yesterday:

I’d only add that three days doesn’t seem long enough in this case, and that when the dust settles we may still find ourselves holding just a few loose ends of a multiply-tangled web…

2 Responses to “Dateline, June 5th 2012”

  1. zen Says:

    In the 19th C. and early 20th, the Georgians still had the Caucasian vendetta culture and it has been alleged by some biographers that this feature was part of Stalin’s and Beria’s mentalities. Stalin certainly took more than his usual care in supervising which Georgians or Georgian minority leaders were purged and whom Ordzhonikidzie and then Beria were forbidden to touch. At the end, 1951-53 when Beria was falling out of favor, he was transformed from fellow Georgian to “the Big Mingrel” ( Beria was a Mingrelian Georgian given, in his position as Transcaucasian CPSU satrap, to favor Mingrelians in appointments) and Stalin urged Abakumov and then Ignatiev that there might be a “case”. Stalin’s death spared Beria and probably hundreds of thousands of others when “the Doctor’s Plot” was looking a lot like the the case of Kirov’s assassination.
    I wonder if Georgians still have the same taste for vendetta? Former Soviet state siloviki ministries typically also play pretty rough and this may account for the absence of AQ or Caucasian-Daghestani “emirate” terrorism there 

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    Alex Strick van Linschoten, who knows such things a lot better than I, comments on my reason for believing the video came from the IEA / Taliban (the logo used): 

    Hmm yeah. I wouldn’t take that as indication of anything. That’s easy to fake or use in your video
    The video didn’t seem to be an official IEA release — nor have I seen it advertised on their website.
    It seems to have been released by some European, American or South Asian fanboy.
    The mark of an official video is that it has been released through the proper channels — which this one doesn’t.

    So please take what I write above with the requisite dose of salt.

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