Middle East Quarterly
The Taliban Address Americans
The following is a "message" from the Taliban leader Muhammad `Umar Mujahid sent to "the people of the United States of America" in November 1999.1 In an unusual line of reasoning, he causally connects "one strong earthquake and two devastating storms" in the United States with Washington’s wrong-headed policy toward Kabul. The blunt threat at the end is also of interest.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan came into existence by the Taliban Islamic Movement after a period of total anarchy, chaos, crime, terror and turmoil in our country.
It has been well received and supported by the people of Afghanistan. This is because the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has established a system of government that is to wishes of its people, void of any crime, corruption, and (we) created an atmosphere for a peaceful living condition.
In spite of all this accomplishment, we thought the U.S. will help us overcome some of the hardship and pay close attention to the sacrifices of the Afghan people against the Soviet Union, which resulted in the disintegration of their empire and the elimination of their threat to world peace. Instead, the U.S. chose to ignore us and actively orchestrated a [U.N.] Security Council resolution for economic sanctions against our country.
Despite such negative attitudes, we have chosen and shown readiness for negotiations, but the U.S. government seems to be [bent] on force and looking down on us.
This attitude will not help the United States because the Russians were thinking along the same line and look what happened to them.
In addition, on Sept. 6, 1999, we [sent] a letter to the White House. In it, we pointed out to them that those who are not on the just side, may God face them with earthquake and storm. You are all witness to the fact that since the date of that letter, one strong earthquake and two devastating storms have taken their [toll] in the United States.
What we are trying to tell you is this: once our people were brutally murdered by the Russians and this time the U.S. is thinking of an open hostility and wants to impose economic sanction upon us.
If the United States wants to impose sanctions upon us, it must be known that God is on the side of the just and no one can challenge God.
Therefore, I call upon the people of the United States of America to bring pressure on their government and ask them to cease hostility with us.
If you do not take a step [in] this direction [then] you will be surprised about what is coming to you and you will not be able to do anything about it.
1 As published in USA Today, Nov. 10, 1999.