Taliban fighters are 'conditioned' to die in battle, says former insurgent

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London, Mar.28 (ANI): A former insurgent in Afghanistan has claimed that Taliban fighters are conditioned to die in battle.

In what is believed to be the first ever interview given by a former member of the Helmand Taliban, Abdul Mohammed, who is married with a young son, says he served as Taliban foot soldier in one of the most violent and battle-scared areas of southern Afghanistan.

"I expected to be killed in battle, but that didn't worry me. I never thought about death. If I was told go on a suicide attack, I would have done so. I was a committed Taliban fighter, being with the Taliban was my life," The Telegraph quotes him, as saying.

The former insurgent told The Sunday Telegraph, how he survived daily battles with British troops and why he decided to join the peace process.

Abdul agreed to the interview only after lengthy negotiations between the district governor, an "intermediary" and The Sunday Telegraph.

Until 2008, Abdul and his family enjoyed a simple existence: growing crops, tending his small herd of goats and living in hope that his young son, Babrak, might one day go to school and become an engineer.

But those dreams were shattered when a violent warlord seized control of his district and began robbing and killing members of his family and friends.

Abdul claimed that in desperation he felt compelled to join the Taliban - the British troops had yet to arrive in the area and the insurgents were the only organisation capable of confronting the man, who he describes as a "commander".

In an interview held within a compound belonging to district governor Nabi Bullah, the former Taliban fighter, said: "The only group who was prepared to oppose the warlord were the Taliban.

"As a good Muslim I could not stand by a let this man rob and kill my people. So I joined them. I wanted to fight against this man and his private army. He would put people in jail until they paid him money.

"He once caught someone stealing his car and set the man alight in the car and burned him to death. He did what ever he wanted."

But when the warlord was replaced by British troops from the Nato-led International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf), the Taliban continued with their attacks.

Abdul cuts a striking pose in his Afghan-style suit and brown turban. He is lean, smartly dressed, courteous, intelligent and there is a steeliness in his eyes common in those who have survived combat.

He went on: "I took part in many battles against Isaf troops and the Afghan National Police and Army. Very many of my friends were killed in the battles.

"We were just told go and attack that base, that checkpoint or ambush those soldiers. You fire your weapons and you hope that you will hit the target.

"I don't know if I killed anybody, I can't exactly say that I killed anyone - it is very difficult to tell in battle, there is lots of firing, I was scared, everybody is scared. I was trying to kill them and they were trying to kill me.

Abdul said that the fighters were "conditioned" to die in battle by his junior commanders who told them that achieving martyrdom was the greatest honour for a Muslim.

"I never cared for my own life - none of us did. We were prepared to die or fight to the death, sometimes it was like committing suicide because we would attack and suffer very heavy asualties," he says. (ANI)

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