Sayf-al-Adl al-Masri, the "al-Qa'ida" organization's chief of military operations whose name appears on the US list of the 22 most dangerous wanted persons, related his recollections of the US bombardment of Afghanistan and what he called the "convoy of women martyrs on the soil of Kandahar." This was included in an article published in the second edition of the "Sawt al-Jihad" magazine, a copy of which Al-Sharq al-Awsat received the day before yesterday by e-mail.
The recollections of Sayf-al-Adl, the former Egyptian officer, came in a special chapter under the heading "Knights Under the Prophet's Banner", which is the same title given to Ayman al-Zawahiri's will that Al-Sharq al-Awsat published in several parts before two years.
Sayf-al-Adl criticized the "al-Qa'ida" elements' security indiscipline for not following the security instructions when using satellite telephones, saying that this helped the Americans pinpoint easily the "Arab Afghans" locations in Kandahar during October and November 2001. He accused "some Taliban elements of betrayal by identifying some Arab families' houses in Kandahar which were later attacked with cruise missiles. He also accused them of indifference in the fight against the Americans during the war that broke out on 7 October 2001.
He disclosed for the first time his relationship by marriage with Abu-al-Walid, an Egyptian journalist and one of the oldest Arab fighters in Afghanistan, and said he has five children from his wife the daughter of Abu-al-Walid, all of whom were in Kabul during the US bombardment of Afghanistan. According to fundamentalists in London, Abu-al-Walid is Hashim al-Makki who wrote several articles after Taliban's downfall that Al-Sharq al-Awsat published and in which he criticized Bin Ladin and his "strategic" vision for exacerbating the struggle with the Americans and which led to the "Arab Afghans'" loss of the Taliban state under which they lived in peace and security. Abu-al-Walid was until few days before Taliban's downfall in charge of the Arab edition of "Al-Imarah" magazine that Taliban published in Afghanistan.
Sayf-al-Adl talked about the death of several Moroccan, Saudi, and Arab "al-Qa'ida" leaders and their wives and children in the US bombardment of Kandahar with cruise missiles. They included Asim al-Yamani, the trainer at Al-Faruq Camp in Afghanistan; Abu-Abd-al-Rahman Al-Abiy; Abu-Ali al-Yafi'i; the wife of Rayyan al-Ta'zi; Abu-Usamah al-Ta'zi; the wife of Al-Barra al-Hijazi who was arrested in Morocco before the Casablanca bombings.
Sayf-al-Adl said: "On Sunday night, the third night of the blessed month (Ramadan) and after 0100 in the morning, I woke up feeling anxious and sensed there was a danger close to me. I woke up the brothers with me, Abu-Muhammad al-Abyad, Abd-al-Rahman al-Masri, and Abu-Usamah al-Filastini. Brother Abu-Husayn al-Masri and Faruq al-Suri spent the night with us as we were operating in one position during the day and sleeping in my empty house at night."
He added: "I woke them all and told them of my anxiety. I also told them that a missile would not fall on us if they heard it coming since the time difference between one missile and another is between five and seven minutes if they are not launched simultaneously and therefore we can gather ourselves and our things and leave during that period. We heard suddenly the sound of a big explosion far away. I asked the brothers by telephone and learned that the second house of the "Al-Wafa Charity" foundation in Kandahar had been pinpointed and hit with a cruise missile because satellite telephones were used. The hit killed brother Abd-al-Wahid."
Sayf-al-Adl went on to say: "The young men were surprised by my anxiety. We prepared the last meal before daybreak and sat down to eat.
We heard a missile passing over our heads immediately before we had finished eating and it exploded 100 meters from the house. We immediately started to leave fearing that we were the target and the targeting would be corrected so as to hit us. We left the house and saw the smoke at the end of the street as the US aircraft flew overhead. There were two houses where the missile fell. One belonged to the Arab Afghans families but was empty and the other belonged to Taliban. I thought they targeted the students (Taliban's members). We looked at the aircraft and saw it fire the second missile and we took cover. It fell in the middle of the road. The brothers and I walked on foot to a nearby position. A students patrol we met on the way told me that there were Arab women in the house and that a brother was killed and another injured and both were evacuated to hospital while all the women left and went to the villages."
Continuing with his recollections, Sayf-al-Adl said: "I went to the hospital to learn the details from the wounded brother. I asked to see the dead person when I arrived and discovered he was brother Asim al-Yamani, the trainer at Al-Faruq Camp. I went to see the wounded and discovered he was Abu-Abd-al-Rahman al-Abiy (an old brother) and his injury was not fatal but would leave him handicapped. I asked him what happened. He said: We were staying near the Al-Wafa foundation house when it was hit with cruise missiles. When we finished removing the young men and Abd-al-Wahid (from under the debris), the brothers consulted each other and feared that their house was also being watched.
We moved the women and took them to the house next door. We then took the women out quickly and sent them to the villages. We had two vehicles and I and Asim al-Yamani stayed close to the house trying to remove some of the possessions. The aircraft fired the second missile and I saw it moving toward us and threw myself on the ground. The missile fell close to brother Asim and I do not know that happened next.
I told him about Asim and asked the doctor about his condition. He said he most probably needed to go to Pakistan to complete the treatment.
I asked the brothers to arrange this in the morning."
He added: "I returned to the new position where I had left the brothers. We heard the sound of clashes as soon as I entered it but the voice of Abu-Ali al-Suri broke our silence as he shouted nervously: O Abd-al-Ahad, the dogs machine gunned us and killed the women. I asked him where. He said: On the Banjway Road. I told him: I am on my way to you. I took with me Abu-Abd-al-Rahman al-Masri and went to the village. We saw the tragedy on the road and it was a story and lesson.
When some brothers in Banjway village felt the intensity of the fire at the outskirts and saw the many aircraft over the Kandahar sector and its suburbs, they became worried about their children. The men decided to send the women in four vehicles to sleep in the open. Two vehicles were at the same time bringing the women whose house was shelled a short time earlier. They saw the Moroccan's vehicles parked 100 meters from the road edge. They reversed and were soon joined by brother Suraqah al-Yamani and brother Hamzah al-Suri. Aircraft were following the vehicles and the brothers stopped to talk a little before moving toward the village. The helicopters engaged them as soon as the distance between the vehicles got down to 5.1 km. The first vehicle was hit and in it were Abu-Ali al-Yafi'i, his wife, four women, and two children. The second vehicle was also hit and in it were Suraqah al-Yamani and Hamzah al-Suri. Abu-Ali al-Maliki and his family were in the third vehicle and when he saw the attack on the two vehicles, he accelerated toward the mountain trying to escape the aircraft. He switched off the vehicle lights and sped over the rugged terrain until he disappeared from the aircraft's view. All the vehicles were "Corolla station wagons."
Sayf-al-Adl added: "The casualties on the night Kandahar was bombarded were: Abu-Asim al-Yamani and Abu-Ali al-Yafi'i who was the guard when the house of Abu-Hafs al-Masri (Muhammad Atif, "al-Qa'ida's" military commander who was killed in Kandahar). All the women that were killed were Yemeni except one and were the wives of Abu-Ali al-Yafi'i, Abu-Usamah al-Kini, Rayan al-Ta'zi, Abu-Usamah al-Ta'zi as well as his two children, Al-Zubayr al-Dali'i who was waiting for her husband to take her, and Abu-Al-Barra al-Hijazi (who was arrested in Morocco before the Casablanca bombings) and she is Moroccan.
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