14 Oct 2007

MA# 2007-MA96

ISAF statement refuting Mullah Omar’s Eid message

KABUL, Afghanistan – The following is a response to Mullah Omar’s Eid message:

As reported by various news media, Mullah Omar has evidently issued a statement marking the beginning of Eid.  The comments made by Mullah Omar are so egregiously false they cannot go unanswered. 

He first states that Afghanistan is under the occupation of American and allied forces.  Mullah Omar’s statement then reads: “Therefore, it becomes clear that violence and destruction is a characteristic exclusive of these allies.  They are the true terrorists”.  Those statements are patently false.  There are some regrettable incidents in which Afghan civilians have been killed in ISAF operations.  However, all ISAF soldiers operate under agreed rules of engagement to minimize the risk of civilian casualties.  

The Taliban extremists are deliberately forcing civilians into situations where they are either killed by insurgents or at risk of being unintentionally harmed by ISAF in order to undermine support for ISAF.  ISAF and coalition forces are here at the invitation of the legitimately elected government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and are widely supported by the Afghan population.  Moreover, the United Nations, comprised of nearly all states on Earth, have mandated the ISAF mission in support of the stabilization, security, reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.

Taliban extremists forcefully oppose efforts to improve the life of the Afghan people and it is they who must be held responsible for bringing violence to the Afghan people.   At least 670 Afghan National Security Forces and civilians have been killed this year in IED attacks, including recent indiscriminate acts against Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police in crowded public places.  Eighty percent of all IED victims have been Afghan National Security Forces or civilians.  Those figures do not include the many innocent citizens who have been shot, decapitated, beaten and hanged at the hands of Taliban extremists in a terror campaign designed to intimidate the population. 

Mullah Omar states that once ISAF and coalition forces depart, then an Islamic government based on the will of the people will be established.   We would like to take this opportunity remind him that free and fair national elections, expressing the will of the people, were held in 2004.   Finally, he cautions his followers that “…stunning victories over the past three years should not make them over-proud.”  The fact is Taliban extremists have not had any “stunning victories” to speak of.  Insurgents continue to suffer regular and heavy casualties whenever they engage ISAF forces by conventional means.  Failing to win any military victories, clearly, the Taliban extremists have resorted to a strategy of committing acts of terror against the Afghan people.        

News media representatives are invited to an ISAF press availability with the ISAF deputy spokesperson, Maj. Charles Anthony, on this subject as well as ISAF involvement in assisting the victims of the Spin Boldak suicide bombing at Headquarters ISAF main gate today, Oct. 14, at 11:30 a.m.  Please arrive no later than 11 a.m. for security checks.

For further information, please contact the ISAF Public Affairs Office.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)79 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/