Jihadis Tap Anti-Musharraf Feeling

July 14, 2007

Author: Barbara Plett

Source: BBC News


President Pervez Musharraf's decision to storm the Red Mosque in Islamabad and his words about the elimination of terrorism and extremism are a challenge to the home-grown Pakistani Taleban and its attempts to mobilise religious opposition to military rule.

It was easy to dismiss the burka-clad students of the Red Mosque as a bunch of fanatics, especially when they started talking about their dreams.

The prophet Mohammed appeared to them, they told me in interviews a few months ago, handing them swords, telling them to conduct jihad against General Pervez Musharraf.

"When we are getting such signs," they asked, "how can we not act?"

The students - many of them are girls - mostly came from the conservative north-west of Pakistan, near the tribal regions along the Afghan border.

I travelled there to meet a commander of the Pakistani Taleban, a radical religious movement inspired by the Afghan Taleban.