REPORTER: John Martinkus
This is how the other side of the war in Afghanistan is selling their war to their own people.
AL-QAI’DA RECRUITMENT VIDEO, (Translation): Whatever we do with God’s help is called healthy wrath. May we take the heads of the infidels.
The flags of every country currently fighting the Taliban and al-Qai’da, including Australia, are symbolically burnt as an introduction to this al-Qai’da recruitment video. This and other videos obtained by Dateline in the Afghan capital, Kabul, reveal not only the hardline Islamic focus of the fighters’ motivation but their increasingly sophisticated techniques. The tactics in Iraq have now come to Afghanistan.
In this section, filmed on the eastern Pakistan-Afghan border, Arab instructors teach Afghan recruits.
ARAB INSTRUCTOR, (Translation): And I once more ask the Americans to reveal the truth that actually lies behind this war. I ask the Americans to allow me to reveal the facts behind the war.
The Afghans are shown how to construct IEDs – improvised explosive devices – the single biggest killers of coalition forces in Iraq. This chant is the official al-Qai’da recruitment song, adapted from poetry and used in videos.
AL-QAI’DA SONG, (Translation): The swords will shine in our nations’ skies, to bring back the glory that once was. The time has come to march into the flames, to protect the nations from aggression, and our despoiled nation will regain its glory, and we will remove the shackles of humiliation. From it’s courageous sons.
VOICEOVER, (Translation): After the gathering, this group will plant the bombs. Come and trust in Allah, they are moving the soldiers of Allah. These brothers came out to bring victory to Allah’s cause. No one can achieve a thing without the will of Allah.
As the commentary reveals the religious fervour that drives the fighters, another tape shows the effects of the bombs. The targets are cars driven by foreign aid workers, employees of the Afghan Government, or coalition troops themselves. The messages on the tape are simple calls to arms and reveal the links from Iraq to Afghanistan.
MUSLIM MAN, (Translation): I say to the proud imprisoned Iraqi people who have made Muslims proud around the world, especially in the Arab Islamic world”¦”¦ Children of Iraq, Muslims in Iraq, the land of the caliphate, strike your enemies and Islam’s, and fight them. Don’t allow them to roam your country and do as they please while you watch.
Other messages use religion as a motivator against the Americans.
MUSLIM MAN 2, (Translation): The reason behind that is what you heard from an American general, who said in a place of worship, “This is a war of faith between us and the forces of evil”. What does he mean by evil? Is he calling Allah evil? Allah commands us to fight the infidel until the Era of Heresy is over and everyone believes in Allah.
But for analyst and NATO civilian spokesman Mark Leyty the tapes are just blatant propaganda.
MARK LEYTY, NATO SPOKESMAN: The aim of these videos is to make their opponents afraid. It’s not about information, it’s not about informing the public, it’s basically crude propaganda designed to terrorise and gain support. So I think, in a way, it reflects a mindset where blustering, boasting is seen as a way of enhancing support and terrorising other people and I don’t think it should be seen as serious information because it isn’t.
For Kabul University professor of political science Dr Wadir Hafzi the tapes are more than just propaganda.
DR WADIR HAFZI, POLITICAL SCIENCE, KABUL UNIVERSITY: The people when, especially they hear these tapes and they see this videos, even if they are supporting the government or the foreign troops, they stop? Because they see al-Qai’da is alive, Talibans are alive, and they are are doing mistakes so there will be one day that these people will come and will again take over the power.
The tactics may be from Iraq but it is Afghans carrying out the suicide bombings. This motorbike strapped with bombs was used in a devastating attack carried out by this man – an Afghan dressed as a government soldier.
SUICIDE BOMBER, (Translation): If you stand up and sacrifice yourself in His name, Allah promises that He will give us victory.
It is a now familiar address, the doomed suicide bomber’s final statement.
SUICIDE BOMBER, (Translation): My name is Haidar and I came to tell you I walk the path of victory. Follow this path, it is the way of success. With faith in Allah we’ll meet in Paradise.
He is riding towards an Afghan National Army base on the outskirts of Kabul. It is September 2005. He detonates, killing 9 Afghan soldiers and wounding 28. He dies instantly. The day before I left Kabul I filmed these convoys at precisely the same section of road where he bombed the previous year. The soldiers are on high alert – attacks are more common now.
REPORTER: Over a year ago 20 people were killed when suicide bombers targeted this street. What they were after were government buildings and foreign contractors who were working for the government and training police. Now, since that time the threat has only increased and what we see in these al-Qa’ida-Taliban videos, call them what you will, is they are trying to take advantage of the failings of the coalition, the failings of the American forces, the failings of the government and use that to engender more support for their cause and of, course, more suicide bombings, more attacks in town and more attacks on coalition targets.
Just last Sunday another suicide bomber killed three on the same road outside the capital. It was part of the biggest upsurge in violence since the Taliban fell in 2001. In just the past week 305 people have been killed.
300 Australian troops are on the ground now fighting this war, and another 240 are arriving soon. Five have already been wounded. It is a war that is clearly hotting up and the enemy is getting stronger.
REPORTER/CAMERA: John Martinkus
EDITORS: Rowan Tucker- Evans and David Potts
SUPERVISING PRODUCER: Martin Butler
EP: Mike Carey