[Marxism] the Kurdish Taliban?
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Feb 25 17:43:52 MST 2004
NY Times, February 25, 2004
Anti-U.S. Kurdish Militants Rebounding, Officials Say
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 24 Ali Hamaamin said he had been whipped with
electrical cords, hung by his arms and kicked in the face. Because he was
accused of not being religious, he was repeatedly tortured by men from the
militant Islamic group Ansar al-Islam.
"They used to come to me at night, wearing masks, and do the most horrible
things," said Mr. Hamaamin, who lives in Beyara, a village near the Iranian
His ordeal ended with the United States-led invasion of Iraq last year,
when American Special Forces and Kurdish militias routed Ansar al-Islam,
which once tried to set up a Taliban-like state in the jagged mountains
along the border with Iran.
But Ansar is making a resurgence, Kurdish and American officials say.
According to interviews with captured Ansar members, the group is branching
out from its former mountain strongholds to cities across Iraq. Its
mission, too, has expanded, they say, from terrorizing local villagers to
planning suicide bombings against the American-led occupation.
American officials are now blaming Ansar for many of the recent suicide
attacks that they say pose the greatest threat to the fragile Iraqi state.
So far this month at least 230 people, primarily members of Iraqi security
forces, have died in suicide bombings.
"We've seen a real step up on the part of these professional terrorists
from Al Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam conducting suicide attacks," L. Paul
Bremer III, the top American administrator in Iraq, said on Monday.
A senior United States military official said Ansar was in "an intense
period of evolution" and had recently formed a partnership with Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda.
"Mr. Zarqawi is the senior partner and Ansar supplies the local expertise,"
said the military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
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