Inside Al-Qaeda and The Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 – Syed Saleem Shahzad

Saleem Shahzad was brutally murdered when he was investigating new generation of Al-Qaeda leaders and their modus operandi in Pakistan and abroad. People in the know and those who were close to the journalist laid blame on the hawks in Pakistani military who were not happy with Shahzad’s investigations. He was perhaps about to uncover some unpalatable truths about Al-Qaeda’s links with some elements of Pakistani military, and for that he payed for his life.

This view is lent credence by the fact that Shahzad received death threats after he refused to back down from his investigative project, and named certain military people as responsible if he’s harmed. Not long after Shahzad’s murder the US troops found and killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.

This book chronicles the story of Taliban and Al-Qaeda and the course of action they took when their normal operations were disrupted following the American invasion in 2001.

Taliban and their allies retreated to Pakistan’s tribal belt where they were tolerated by Pakistani military. In time the militants regrouped and launched a spectacular Spring Offensive of 2006 in Afghanistan and consolidated their grip in bordering areas. This stunned NATO forces who by that time had written off Taliban as a spent force. Little did they realise that Pakistan’s refusal to sever old ties with militants would turn out to be the main factor in the revival of the Taliban.

The narrative goes into great detail and claims that Pakistan facilitated Afghan Taliban factions and allowed them freedom of action on the condition that they would not engage in violent activities inside the borders of Pakistan. But Pakistan soon understood that armed non-state actors cannot be controlled at will once they acquire enough power and will to defy their masters. A motley bands of home-grown jihadists, who had been hitherto fighting alongside Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan and separatists in Kashmir, turned their weapons on the people and state of Pakistan.

Pakistan has burned since 2007 and Shahzad, till he was killed in 2011, laid blame on the duplicitous policies of the Pakistan military establishment.

First published 2011

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