When Al Qaeda Rules
It won in Tal Afar, an Iraqi town near the Syrian border. Once flushed from the town, they returned and held it as their strongpoint and training ground for terrorists. 60 Minutes reported:
"They fired mortars indiscriminately into playgrounds, into school yards, across the marketplace to kill innocent civilians. What they really wanted to do was incite fear," explains [Col. H.R.] McMaster.They're just like all the other great thugs of history, like Pol Pot and Idi Amin. Their ambitions are greater though. They would like to be as viciously successful as Joseph Stalin, which is why it's so important to crush them.
Asked what life was like for the inhabitants of Tal Afar, McMaster says, "Life was horrible in the city. They would leave headless bodies in the street. They kidnapped a young child on one occasion, killed the child, put a booby trap inside of his body and waited for the father to come claim the body to kill the parent."
Masked gunmen led by al Qaeda roamed the streets of Tal Afar at will, publicly executing and kidnapping people. Col. McMaster told 60 Minutes some of the terrorists were foreign fighters, but many were Iraqis from the area. Pictures of their attacks were circulated in videos like one in which you can hear them chanting a call to jihad.
"They had schools for snipers. They had kidnapping and murder classes that were attended by people on the best techniques," says McMaster.
In Tal Afar, we didn't. We had them surrounded, then politics settled in, delaying the final push, and the brutal beasts slipped away to fight elsewhere. Arrggh!
Related Tags: Iraq, Al Qaeda, Tal Afar