Dedicated to the Restoration of Progressive Democracy
Saturday, October 05, 2013
Guess Who's Running to Run Kabul?
Abdul Rasul Sayyaf has announced his candidacy to fill Hamid Karzai's shoes as the next president of Afghanistan. Like Karzai, Sayyaf is an Afghan warlord only Sayyaf has a few spots on his resume.
The 67-year-old warlord, also allegedly the man who invited Osama bid Laden to live in Afghanistan and made a base for his al Qaeda network there, had long been rumoured to be putting together a ticket of resistance fighters for the April 5 poll.
‘‘I don’t want fame or power for myself,’’ he said, lodging his papers at the electoral commission, ‘‘I’m looking to preserve the nation.’’ Sayyaf, who fought against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 80s, was named in the 9/11 Commission Report as the ‘‘mentor’’ of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the principal architect of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
He also ran militant training camps throughout the 80s and 90s in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Ten of the men involved in the 2002 Bali bombing, including Mukhlas and bomb-maker Umar Patek, are believed to have trained at Sayyaf’s Sadda militant camp near Peshawar.
Two hundred and two people, including 88 Australians, died in the Bali blasts. Patek is serving 20 years in jail, Mukhlas was executed by firing squad.
Sayyaf was an enemy of the Taliban, however, and sided with the US after its 2001 invasion.
While he is the most conservative of the four men who have nominated for President so far, especially on women’s rights and social freedoms, he is seen as a credible contender for power, especially given his close links to the incumbent President.