Al-Qaeda in the words of a fearless soul

Post-9/11, when America announced her brief yet a successful victory, little she knew about the bait that had been used to drag her into the trap of Afghanistan, drain her of resources and thrust a decisive blow to impose Sharia.

Rarely does a book come to engross you to the level where you may wish it to have a no-end? A book that motivates you to take a backseat and overhaul your cultured belief system. Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban was that sort of book. Precisely lost on words, I don’t know where and how to start evaluating this book. There was a lot to bring home, plenty to get align with and ample to refurbish; simply a stupefying book that transformed my perception altogether. Inside Al-Qaeda and The Taliban was written by Syed Saleem Shehzad, a well-known yet dread-inspiring name who doesn’t need an independent introduction. Shehzad was abducted and killed shortly before his book was published, “why and who” is another saga that could be written a book on, today we will focus his incredible book laden with astonishing essentials. By inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Shezad made a great effort to declassify some of the muffled facts that are mostly obscured from the public eye. From Swat to Waziristan to Hindu Kush Mountains, Shehzad offered a comprehensive account on Al-Qaeda’s infiltration into Pakistan, formulating a line of attack and resurfacing to defeat America.

The intriguing journey of the book provides a detailed account on the post-9/11 turn of events and the successful revival of Taliban which stunned the world that had anticipated their absolute obliteration. From Alqaeda to TTP, to Sufi Muhammad in Swat, to Abdul Aziz in Islamabad, Shehzad did his best to present every minute yet a crucial piece of information. What I loved the most about the narration of Shehzad, was his fearless reporting. He was not a frightened and timid soul who would establish his facts based on hearsay. Quite unlike of commonplace reporting, he made widespread visits to the hotbed of extremists, arranged meetings with them and once even escaped death by a hair’s breadth. Given his openness with bigwig of Taliban proved his likeability in Al-Qaeda and Taliban’s setting which was palpable from the fact that they would not just call him for the interview ( it was not other way around) but sometimes would email him to correct fault lines in his analysis about the Taliban.

The intriguing journey of the book provides a detailed account on the post-9/11 turn of events and the successful revival of Taliban which stunned the world that had anticipated their absolute obliteration.

To spoil the least, the most appalling information were the details of some notorious incidents that have been alluded to Pakistan Army, i.e Laal Masjid, Mumbai Attacks and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. For years we have seen Pakistan Army being accused of carrying out these vitriolic attacks; however, Shehzad introduced us to the simple-cum-shrewd approach of Al-Qaeda. Besides lumping all deviant splinters into her lap, Al-Qaeda not just built her haven in Tribal areas but also spilt over to the main and populous cities of Pakistan, interpreting their aforesaid and various other plans into shocking reality. Shehzad met the master-mind of the aforementioned events that put on a thorough rationale on how they devised and implemented it. Involvement of our religious clerics in almost every turmoil to facilitate talks between militants and Army was his another focus. In the book, you could see Molana Fazul Rehman and Mufti Taqi Usmani sharing tables with militants to ease the tension.

Shehzad also pointed out the weakening lines in our dispensation. According to Shehzad, the malice of Al-Qaeda was not narrowed to the mind of an ordinary person but it crept into the advanced class of our society. Obviously, the Army was not an exception.

Shehzad also pointed out the weakening lines in our dispensation. According to Shehzad, the malice of Al-Qaeda was not narrowed to the mind of an ordinary person but it crept into the advanced class of our society. Obviously, the Army was not an exception. Some of the key names, for instance, major Ashik ilk, who were staunch supporters of ideological militancy and who believed in the absolute imposition of Sharia, placed a strain on the image of Pakistan Army. Fixation with the Indian threat hijacked our attention away from the snakes in the grass, even if he was apprehended for his inexcusable crimes, the damage was already done. Reading this book, one thing that I realized the most, that Pakistan Army has not been evil that was-is being propagated. They could, for sure be criticized for their neglect to notice a threat that was fostering in their backyard but blaming them for every off beam that transpired in Pakistan- Assassination of Benazir and Laal Masjid’s debacle- or outside Pakistan- Mumbai attacks 26/11- is purely irrational. Their sacrifices, negotiations and evasion of the confrontation with the militants to the last minute bore out their solemn intentions to fight militants.

The last chapters of the book deal with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda’s mania with inflicting Sharia with the help of a terror campaign. How they improved their propagandas, who was a symbolic and who was an actual brain of the Al-Qaeda, how the Muslim youth from every nook and corner was tugged towards them. A precept of Ghazwa-e-hind, Syed Qutab’s great influence, pulling America into the quagmire of Afghanistan and drawing a difference between the Taliban and the Neo-Taliban, was an intriguing legend to be tagged along.

This book is impressive in every manner. From information to evidence to corroborating those facts with personal meetings, Shezad did justice to his work. Except that perfection is not attainable, the same was the case with Shehzad.

This book is impressive in every manner. From information to evidence to corroborating those facts with personal meetings, Shezad did justice to his work. His endeavours to bring the facts forth turned him into a foe of the many that were chasing him to death; nevertheless, he never shied away from reporting them. Except that perfection is not attainable, the same was the case with Shehzad. All the way his book, I noticed a cue of a soft corner in his heart for militants what probably was important for developing rapport for his pursuit to accumulate credible source yet that doesn’t validate the exaltation of militants in his book. In his book, he did not appear to have condemned their brutalities but rather chose to sit on a fence, while distancing himself from the hurt that was inflicted by those militants on a common person. The second thing that Shehzad seemed to have avoided was his attempt to declare Al-Qaeda, a purely ideological movement as an alternative to a convoluted division which aimed to create schism among Muslims and later to exploit them for their terror crusade. Last, not least, the order of the events was a bit in the disarray, events that should have been the starter of the book were crammed in the last chapters arising a sense of confusion.

For a novice mind like me, it was above the world. Shehzad knew what he was trailing yet it was his dedication that put such a challenging subject into an easy and undemanding way. It would take me 100 books to move on from the spellbound of this book.

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Author's Review

This book is impressive in every manner. From information to evidence to corroborating those facts with personal meetings, Shezad did justice to his work. Except that perfection is not attainable, the same was the case with Shehzad.

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