On Monday evening, Geo News televised a rare “worldwide exclusive” with senior Al Qaeda leader, Mustafa Abu al-Yazeed, who urged Pakistanis “to help Afghans fight U.S.-led coalition forces and condemned ” reported the for arresting Arab and Afghan fighters and handing them over to Washington,Associated Press. The news agency added that al-Yazeed, an Al Qaeda commander in Afghanistan, also “reiterated Al Qaeda’s claim of responsibility for the June 2 suicide car bombing on the Danish embassy in Islamabad that killed six people.” According to BBC News, Geo said the interview, conducted by their reporter Najib Ahmad, was carried out in the Afghan province of Khost, and “is the first interview granted by a senior Al Qaeda member to the independent media since 2002.” According to MSNBC,
Ahmad, the Geo reporter, is the president of the Karachi Press Club and said he used a Palestinian intermediary to arrange the interview. It took three months to arrange and took place a few days ago, Geo said. Ahmad traveled to Peshawar, near the Afghan border, where he was given dark glasses and driven to the interview site…
The Egyptian commander spoke Arabic during the interview, which was dubbed in Urdu for Geo’s Pakistani audience.
During the televised appearance, al-Yazeed, who is also known as Shaikh Saeed, further discussed the Danish embassy bombing, asserting, “We had chosen a time for the attack when there would be no innocent Muslims around.” It should be noted that all eight people killed in the June 2 attack were reportedly Muslims. Reuters, in its coverage of the interview, noted, “Al Qaeda justifies killing fellow Muslims by deeming them to have become heretics, excommunicated from the Islamic community because of their loss of faith,” or, in this case, because they worked for a Western embassy.
The rare interview, dubbed in Urdu, was obviously meant to target Pakistanis sympathetic to the Al Qaeda cause. The AQ commander called for more Pakistanis to fight in Afghanistan, noting, “In fact it is obligatory for them to render this help and is a responsibility that is imposed by religion. It is not only obligatory for residents of the tribal regions but all of Pakistan.” Sheikh Saeed is known to hold AQ’s No. 3 position. MSNBC reported, “The U.S. has long targeted al-Qaida’s third-highest-ranking officials, because they believe the men who occupy that position are the chief operational officers of the terrorist group.” BBC noted, “Mustafa Abu al-Yazeed is understood to be the operational commander of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan – a position which the Western intelligence community has long viewed as pivotal to the planning and execution of militant attacks around the world.” Since 2001, five occupants of the organization’s number three spot have been killed or captured.