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 - Non-Pashtun Group, Gujar Taliban Declares Jihad against US

    Non-Pashtun Group, Gujar Taliban Declares Jihad against U.S.

    A non-Pashtun ethnic group, comprising of victims of atrocities of warlords in northern Afghan provinces, has emerged on the scene to wage Jihad against the US forces and their Afghan allies.

    The non-Pashtun Gujar Taliban led by Mulla Muhammad Yousaf Zahid claimed in a letter delivered to The News in Peshawar that US forces in collaboration with the warlords have pushed the ethnic minority to the wall, compelling it to wage Jihad against all those perpetrating atrocities on unarmed people in northern provinces of Afghanistan.

    This is the second group of Taliban after the Pashtun-dominated mainstream Taliban Movement, which announced Jihad against the US and its allies.

    Though, the movement seems insignificant due to its numerical strength in Afghanistan, the importance of the emerging group should not be underestimated due to the fact that the Gujars have a significant presence in Kunar and Nooristan provinces, which share borders with Pakistan's tribal belt.

    The situation in Kunar province is already tense for the Americans due to sporadic attacks by the anti-US Afghan groups and the searching of houses and mosques during operations by the US forces to in their hunt for Osama bin Laden, his close aides, remnants of the Taliban and the chief of the main faction of the Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan Gulbaddin Hekmatyar.

    The letter claimed that the Gujar Taliban has been raised as an organised force, which plans to expand to other provinces of the country in coordination with other anti-US forces. It said that people belonging to the Gujar community have been subjected to worst kind of torture, their properties looted and snatched by different commanders and warlords and above all the honour of their women was not safe at the hands of these criminals. "We will take revenge from those involved in this inhuman treatment," the letter claimed.

    The atrocities against the Gujar community in Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces has also been confirmed by a UN fact-finding mission visiting the areas and interviewing locals. The letter also said that due to restrictions imposed on them by the commanders, people from the ethnic minority are not allowed to give interviews to BBC and other radio broadcasts. Pashtuns living in the north of the country are also faced with a similar situation and have been complaining about the heavy-handedness of forces loyal to the Northern Alliance.

    The Gujar minority has also sent delegations to Kabul to meet Afghan government authorities, UN officials, representatives of human right groups and journalists to inform them of their concerns but have so far failed to find see any results.

    By Behroz Khan - The News

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