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July 6, 2006
Does Captured Document Tie Saddam To Taliban?

Ray Robison presents another interesting translation of a captured document at Fox News that has some buzzing about another link between Saddam Hussein and terrorism. Robison produces a manual written for Arabs fighting in Afghanistan for the Taliban that covers strategy and tactics for disguise and deception, fairly obviously written for soldiers working to defeat the Northern Alliance and avoid Western intelligence agencies:

An Arab regime, possibly Iraq, supplied how-to manuals for Arab operatives working throughout Afghanistan before 9/11, and provided military assistance to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

That's the most likely conclusion drawn from an apparent training manual unearthed in captured Iraqi government computer files translated and analyzed exclusively for Fox News, and made public for the first time. ...

The training manual warns, in stark how-to terms, of the dangers of "information leaks," and instructs Arab operatives inside Afghanistan to dress like Afghan tribesmen, to avoid being followed ("Routine is the enemy of security"), to always be armed, and "to behave as if enemies would strike at any moment."

The manual also cautions Arabs to "beware of rapid and spontaneous friendships with Afghans who speak Arabic," and "always make sure about the identity of your neighbors and classify them as regular people, opponents or allies."

Robison hedges his bets here, and for some good reason; nothing in the document explicitly ties Iraq to the manual. While Iraq certainly qualifies as an Arabic nation that would have some reason to send troops covertly to support the Taliban, one could also say the same about Syria or even Saudi Arabia. Iraq and Syria both sponsored terrorism, while the Saudis have yet to do so through its own military, as far as we know. That state-run military forces are the intended audience seems beyond doubt; it makes references to hiding military identification, an unlikely precaution for run-of-the-mill jihadis.

His argument gets a boost from the New Yorker. In February 2003, the magazine ran an article reporting on the assistance granted by Saddam to the Taliban and al-Qaeda by sending a secret force called Unit 999 to conduct training:

"In interviews with senior officials, the following picture emerged: American intelligence believes that Al Qaeda and Saddam reached a non-aggression agreement in 1993, and that the relationship deepened further in the mid-nineteen-nineties, when an Al Qaeda operative — a native-born Iraqi who goes by the name Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi — was dispatched by bin Laden to ask the Iraqis for help in poison-gas training. Al-Iraqi's mission was successful, and an unknown number of trainers from an Iraqi secret-police organization called Unit 999 were dispatched to camps in Afghanistan to instruct Al Qaeda terrorists."

The pattern looks incriminating, and certainly gives any intelligence unit reasonable cause to tie Saddam to both AQ and the Taliban. It's not exactly a smoking gun, but it provides yet another piece of evidence towards that conclusion.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 6, 2006 10:57 AM

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Tracked on July 6, 2006 9:43 PM


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