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Al Qaeda’s Secret Correspondence | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- A website affiliated with the US Department of Defense has published authentic documents and correspondence exchanged between al Qaeda’s leadership figures, which the US Army has intercepted as part of its war against terror.

Some of this correspondence includes letters addressed to “Abu Abdullah”, Osama Bin Laden, and others from a leader named Atiyah Allah, which were addressed to [Abu Musab] al Zarqawi. There were also letters addressed to “Abu Abdullah” from a security official [with Al Qaeda] in Arabic that warned against the dangers of eating the communal shared food among elements from Al Qaeda leadership every Friday after prayer. According to the security observation, no monitoring exists over the kitchen where the Arab youth cook the food – which presents an invaluable opportunity for US Intelligence. The kitchen is located in the headquarters where Bin Laden hosts top al Qaeda figures.

The writer also pointed out that during the distribution of food, Osama Bin Laden’s plate is identified, which “is a negative detail that may be exploited by enemies to poison you,” according to the report. Furthermore, the official predicted that, “poison will be the weapon used in the next phase.”

The website also posted a mocking letter by Hassan al Tajiki [surname is an epithet that denotes Tajikistan descent] addressed to Al Qaeda’s military official, who is believed to be Mohamed Atef Abu Hafs al Masri who was killed in the Kandahar operations at the end of 2001.

In the letter he said, “to the very, very, very busy official who due to his preoccupation could not even write us a letter to say, ‘I have received your letters; or rather, whole volume of letters, but have been unable to write back because I am very busy, and goodbye.’”

In a report sent from Afghanistan and written by al Tajiki addressed to Saif al Adl who had been based in Sudan, or “Sudanistan” as he referred to it, al Tajiki said, “I do not know how busy you are, especially since we have heard the news about the security developments over there; the attack on the Ahl al Sunnah Mosque and Abi Abdullah’s house.”

Moreover, the secret report very clearly refers to military programs carried out at the al Farouq camp, which is affiliated to Osama Bin Laden and Tajik elements.

In his letter Hassan al Tajiki highlights a very important point, which is “the training of over 6,000 Islamists at al Farouq camp in Afghanistan, a considerable number of which are elements from the intelligence of Arab and Islamic states who have attempted to infiltrate Al Qaeda organization.” The organization, according to an al Qaeda leader who is an Afghan fundamentalist residing in Britain, is based in Afghanistan.

“With God as my witness, we have treated them as best as we could and trained them to the best of our abilities in this camp. We have fed them and given them clothes – all this, and they turn out to be intelligence,” said al Tajiki. It was also disclosed through al Tajiki’s correspondence that the al Farouq camp at one point was under the Ashraf Abu Walid al Masri’s command. The latter is believed to be detained in Iran by the Iranian Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), and is moreover the author of ‘Tharthara Foq Soqof al Alam’ (Chatter on the Roof of the World).

Referring to the Arab and Western intelligence agencies that used to send their elements to Peshawar to access primary information about the Arab mujahideen, al Tajiki said, “A whole range [of intelligence personnel] came to Peshawar and it is without a doubt that the states were sending tourists to Peshawar.” Furthermore, he considered Peshawar to be the ‘second in line’ after al Farouq camp and discussed routine problems, of which one was his meeting with Abu Khabab*, “who had arrived at al Farouq to deliver a round of explosives that I knew nothing about. He was then followed by Abu Bakr Aqida who delivered another round that I knew nothing of.”

Al Tajiki’s letter reveals a great deal of frustration towards the Arab leadership in Afghanistan. His letter refers to military and administrative problems between the Arabs, Tajiks and Uzbeks and he calls for the resolution of the problems in al Farouq camp before matters become further aggravated. He ends his letter by sending his greetings to Abi Abdullah (Osama Bin Laden), Abu Obaida Abi Hafs and Abdul Khalek and Saif al Adl.

Also, among the letters was the correspondence between al Qaeda leaders Atiyah Allah [most likely believed to be Atiyah Abd al Rahman] and al Zarqawi. The former was well-versed in jurisprudence, which he had studied in Mauritania prior to his move to Afghanistan to work with commander al Zarqawi before the latter’s death.

The Pentagon translated the letter into English and published it since it revealed a lot of valuable information about al Qaeda’s inner workings. Although the letter contained jurisprudential advice, it still relayed the great sense of frustration felt by the organization’s leadership towards al Zarqawi’s management of al Qaeda in Iraq. The letter also warned al Zarqawi, six months before his death, that he was pushing well past his limits and was at a risk of being ousted from his position. Atiyah Allah, Osama Bin Laden’s high command write the letter from an undisclosed location in Waziristan, signing it “Atiyah”. However, West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center (CTC), which translated and published the 15-page letter last October maintains that the identity of the writer “remains unknown”

A letter written by al Zawahiri in 2005 to al Zarqawi made similar remarks regarding his management of the organization in Iraq. In his same letter to Zarqawi, Atiyah warns that the letter “will primarily be about the negatives and cautioning against things that are perilous and ruinous.” He furthermore orders al Zarqawi to not make any “decisions on a comprehensive issue” without first consulting Bin Laden, Zawahiri and the other “brothers”.

* Medhat Mursi al Sayed Omar, also known as Abu Khabab, was al Qaeda’s chief bomb maker and chemical weapons expert. He was killed during his wedding. His bride was an Afghan woman who had been the wife of an Afghan mujahid.