An United States publication, Salon, quoting Afghan sources in Pakistan, said some 3,000 Arab fighters from 13 Arab countries who are based in Afghanistan have taken oaths of loyalty to bin Laden in recent days.
But there are thought to be thousands more who have taken refuge over the past three years from Russia, Pakistan, China, Iran, central Asia and the Far East including Malaysia who would also fight for the Taliban.
Salon reported that training and fighting for the Taliban are small numbers of Islamic militants from Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Burma. It said that with widespread defections depleting the Taliban forces, Mullah Omar has become increasingly dependent on these foreign fighters. In turn, they know they have nowhere to go, because if they return to their own countries they will be executed.
The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai should to clarify how many Malaysians are involved among the non-Afghan Islamic militants who have vowed to fight to the death alongside Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar against US-led Operation Enduring Freedom.
On Sunday, Norian Mai said the police have photographs and information which reveal Malaysian students’ involvement in military training in Afghanistan and that the students had learnt to make and handle weapons, home-made bombs and landmines as part of their training programme.
Afghanisan’s ambassador to Malaysia Abdul Sattar Murad had on Saturday said that two groups of students had undergone military training in Afghanistan, mostly in the Pakistan-Afghan border provinces of Khost and Nangrahar, where they are provided commando training which includes booby trapping and training for subsersive activities.
He also claimed that the Pakistan military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was aware about Malaysians’ “presence in Taliban’s ranks” from the beginning.